Chapter: National Issues
Topic: Towards a Level Playing Field
Q. Which section of Representation of the People describes
about right to vote?
Ans. Section 61 of the Representation of the People Act
1951 deems that every person whose name is on the electoral rolls has the right
Q. Article 334?
Ans. The Constituent Assembly recognised the disabilities
historically suffered by the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and reserved seats for
them under Article 334 of the Constitution
Q. What is the present picture of seats reserved for SC & ST in
Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha?
Ans. After the initial 60 years of reservation,
Parliament extended reservation by 10 years, reserving out of 543 seats in the
Lok Sabha, 84 for the Scheduled Castes, and 47 for the Scheduled Tribes. Of the
4120 seats in all the Legislative Assemblies combined, 614 are reserved for the
Scheduled Castes and 554 for Scheduled Tribes.
Q. What is the ‘Vulnerability mapping’ of ECI?
Ans. In 2007, the ECI started using computers to determine which sections
of largely rural areas had not voted in previous elections. From this huge
exercise was born the concept of “vulnerability mapping.” Through a transparent
process, such villages and hamlets that were vulnerable to intimidation were
identified. By the time of General Elections 2009, as many as 86,782
villages/hamlets had been marked as ‘vulnerable,’ and 3,73,886 persons who were
believed likely to disturb the process were ‘bound down’ under preventive
sections of laws to good behaviour for the pendency of the poll period. Almost
Q. What the action taken by ECI after ‘Vulnerability mapping’?
Ans. 100,000 new polling stations were created, most often in such
vulnerable pockets by providing polling stations in their villages or hamlets.
This was ensured in a transparent and participatory manner, involving local
people, officials, observers and other stakeholders; as a result there were
hardly any complaints about any partisan misuse of vulnerability mapping for
Q. What is the concept of Booth Level Officer?
Ans. The Booth Level Officer system was created in 2006-2007: each BLO
was “responsible” for voters registered at one polling station, usually up to
1,500 voters. At one stroke, this official was made the keeper of the electoral
roll at the cutting edge. As this official became more familiar with his or her
‘territory’, it was easier to eliminate names of those who may have shifted out
or died, and add names of those who have moved in, or turned 18 on January 1,
thus becoming eligible to vote. This strategy proved to be a leveller, making it
difficult to keep people out of the rolls. With a photo electoral card in hand
and a corresponding photo on the rolls, this helped substantially reduce bogus
voting, which now entails the risk of the automatic registration of a first
information report and probable arrest.