Janaagraha’s BEST initiative - for improvement in urban voter rolls
By Staff Reporter | Published: August 28 2010
Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy is spearheading a campaign called Bengaluru Electoral Systems Transformation (BEST) bring improvements in the urban voter rolls. Shanthi Nagar constituency will the the pilot project
Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy is spearheading a campaign called Bengaluru Electoral Systems Transformation (BEST) in continuation of its mission to bring about radical improvements in the urban voter rolls. BEST was a consequence of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Election Commission of India (ECI) and Janaagraha on July 23, 2010.
Hailing the effort of Janaagraha in this direction, the Chief Election Commissioner, Navin Chawla said, “Bangalore has always been a problem city with respect to electoral rolls from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai because it has the fastest moving population and electoral system is not able to catch up with these constant change in address.”
BEST will initially be piloted in the Assembly Constituency of Shanthi Nagar over the period of September 2010 to December 2010, involving two key stakeholders of the electoral process – ECI and the citizens. Interventions, both technological and infrastructure-related will be undertaken by the ECI to handle voter-registration in a time-bound, transparent and citizen-friendly manner. The project envisages achieving near 100% accuracy in urban electoral rolls by eliminating errors of omission, commission and spelling mistakes.
BEST campaign will be rolled out across the seven wards of Shanthi Nagar Constituency in a phased manner. It seeks to involve citizen volunteers, also called Area Voter Mitras (AVM), in all the wards and bring about changes for a citizen friendly voter registration process. The potential AVM recruits will be mobilized by the Field officers of Janaagraha. These AVMs will be the guide in their residential area on voter registration issues.
The suggestions for procedural changes in the electoral systems will be implemented in consensus with the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka. To ensure that the project outcomes are met, an operational structure is in place. The project is being regularly reviewed by a Review Committee, chaired by Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Karnataka and comprising of representatives from Janaagraha and the CEO office.
“The total population per ward in Shanthi Nagar is approximately 35,000 with about 186 polling booths in the constituency. We are looking at mobilizing 1,000 AVMs to achieve our target over these four months,” shared Swati Ramanathan, Co-Founder, Janaagraha.
Facts on Shanthi Nagar Constituency:
No. of Field Officers to be in charge of mobilisation 16
Avg. population per ward in Shanthi Nagar 35,000
Approx. no. of houses in Shanthi Nagar assembly constituency 60,000
Avg no. of houses per ward in Shanthi Nagar 8,000
No. of polling booths in Shanthi Nagar 186
No. of AVMs to be recruited per polling booth area 5
Total no. of AVMs to be recruited 1,000
Each AVM to cover Approx. 50 houses overall