New Delhi, January 9

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haratiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Modi led Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee for Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice on Monday discussed several issues including the Election Commission of India's recent proposal of 'remote voting for migrants'.

Senior officials of the Election Commission of India including Deputy Election Commissioners were present at the meeting.

In a detailed presentation before the parliamentary panel, the ECI said the matter of Remote Voting needs comprehensive analysis, apart from the technological issues.

"Necessary modifications required in The Representation of the People Acts, 1950 and 1951. The Conduct of Elections Rules 1961 and The Registration of Electors Rules, 1960 are being studied. However, such changes can only be proposed after larger stakeholder consultations," the ECI said in its presentation.

The Election Commission further underscored before the panel that the definition of a domestic migrant for the electoral purpose has to be deliberated on and addressed.

"The District Election Officer/Returning Officer, a territory - based offices, are the most important authorities for a district/constituency as far as the elections are concerned. Now in a scenario of 'Remote Voting' wherein the voters of a constituency are spread across geographies, the definition and roles of DEO/RO have to be suitably modified as per the statutory need. Various other such aspects also need attention," the Election Commission (EC) told the parliamentary panel while discussing the feasibility of remote voting.

On the technical viability of such machines, the ECI told the panel that Remote Voting Technology should be standalone like Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and should not be network connected in any form to rule out any transmitting data in any possibility of loss, visibility of data. Accordingly, the ECI is working with the Technical Expert Committee and Electronics Corporations of India Limited (ECIL)/Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL)," sources said.

The ECI informed the parliamentary panel that all stakeholders would be taken on board before arriving at any decision on the timing and mode of vote by the eligible domestic migrants under the 'Remote Voting' model.

During the discussion in today's meeting various political parties said that while electoral reforms were welcome it is important to ensure such steps taken are foolproof.

"None of us is against the reforms but there have to be specific questions that have to be answered on the viability- legal technical and legal of such a move", a source privy to the developments of the meeting told ANI.

As per the available data from the 2011 Census, more than 45 crore Indian migrants were working away from their hometowns. This number now stands close to 60 crores.

During the meeting, the panel was informed that the ECI Officers have already made a presentation on the subject before the Parliament Standing Committee on November 25, 2O21 covering all important aspects including schematics of the Remote Voting Machine prototype.

It may be noted that the ECI has called for a meeting of all political parties on January 16 to show a demo of a multi-constituency electronic voting machine (EVM) retaining to facilitate remote voting while being able to retain all security features of the EVMs currently in use.

MPs seek more clarity on feasibility of remote voting during parliamentary panel meeting

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