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Key Takeaways From Kovind Panel’s Report on One Nation One Election

The report highlights a two-step process in conducting nationwide simultaneous elections that needs many constitutional amendments to implement one nation, one election in India.

One Nation One Election: The high-level committee on simultaneous polls led by ex-President Ramnath Kovind submitted its report to President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday. The report is the result of extensive consultations with stakeholders and experts and a research work of 190 days. The union government is going through the recommendations of the report and will decide on its implementation soon. 

 

What is the Need for One Nation, One Election

  • Conducting elections frequently leads to additional expenditure for the government treasury. If we consider the expenditure made by political parties, the total amount spent will increase further.
  • Elections that are held at different times can result in unpredictability and insecurity, hindering the progress of supply chains, business investments, and the economy.
  • Citizens face difficulties when government machinery is disrupted as a result of asynchronous elections.
  • The regular utilization of government officials and security forces negatively impacts their ability to perform their duties effectively.
  • The regular implementation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) can lead to stagnant policy decisions and slow progress in developmental programs.
  • The organization of staggered elections can lead to voters becoming fatigued and can be a significant obstacle in ensuring their participation.

 

Key Recommendations of the Committee

Simultaneous election means conducting elections to all the legislative bodies across the nation simultaneously to avoid heavy expenditure on personnel and electoral machinery. In line with this vision, the union government formed a high-powered committee to study the feasibility of simultaneous elections and provide its input on the same. Some of the recommendations are as follows:

  • Amending The Constitution: The Constitution could be amended to hold simultaneous elections in two stages. The first stage includes simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies without requiring state ratification. The second stage includes synchronized elections for municipalities and panchayats with Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections, requiring the approval of at least half of the states.
  • Single Electoral Roll And Election Photo Identity Cards to create a single electoral roll and ID card for all levels of government, the Constitution needs to be amended. This would enable the Election Commission of India to work with State Election Commissions and for this, ratification by at least half the states is required.
  • In Cases Of Hung Assembly a no-confidence motion, or any such event, fresh elections should be held to constitute the new Lok Sabha or state Assembly for the unexpired term of the House.
  • Meeting Logistical Requirements: The committee has recommended that for meeting logistical requirements, the Election Commission of India will plan and estimate in advance, in consultation with the State Election Commissions, and take steps for the deployment of manpower, polling personnel, security forces, EVMs/VVPATs, etc., so that free and fair simultaneous elections are held in all the three tiers of the government.
  • Notifying The Date The President of India will issue a notification on the date of the first sitting of the House of the People after a General election, designating it as the Appointed date for the synchronization of elections.

 

How Will it Benefit India?

Conducting elections in a country as diverse and vast as India is a huge challenge that needs security personnel, election machinery, and observers. It also employs many government servants, which is a huge burden on the public exchequer if done every year. 

It is no surprise that India is always in election mode, and we are either in the middle of elections or preparing for elections.

If the simultaneous elections get a nod, it will benefit India in multiple ways.

  • Reduced government distractions due to one-time elections will ensure the government focuses on delivering projects.
  • Reduced corruption as the election cycle will be synchronized, and parties will focus more on working for the people.
  • The government expenditure will reduce significantly as the simultaneous elections will effectively utilize paramilitary, supporting personnel and election machinery.

However, there are a few concerns associated with simultaneous elections too. Some of them are, mid tenure collapse of governments at state level, logistical challenges and its impact on the federal structure.

The best way forward would be to build a consensus among all states before proceeding any further and, finding a way not to affect the federal structure and preparing a detailed plan of implementation.

 

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