“The transformation in technology that we have seen in 20 years is more than what world saw in preceding 200 years.” – Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, on 18th March 2007 at India Today Conclave.
Today there is huge debate going on in India regarding Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used in voting. Many politicians lead by Mayawati, Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi have questioned the EVM machines and blamed them for the recent poll debacle. And considering they have questioned EVM, they are asking Election Commission (EC) to revert to Paper Ballot. Nobody is stating how paper ballot is better than EVM.
What is alarming is the lack of technical discussion around the latest technologies. EVM is also a technology which has been in use in India for more than 2 decades. Technology has progressed substantially in last two decades, but somehow everybody is ignoring that.
Advancement in voting technology
Mobile voting is several generations advanced technology over EVMs (eVoting) and paper ballot. EMV with VVPT, EVM with internet, Internet voting (iVoting) were technologies in between. Right2Vote Infotech private limited has built the most advanced and ‘made for India’ Mobile Verified Voting Platform. The platform uses Aadhaar for verification. This is India’s opportunity to leap-frog directly from EVMs to Mobile Voting.
Mobile Voting (mVoting)
mVoting has several advantages over traditional methods of voting. The most significant difference is that it completely eliminates the need for setting up booths across the country. A voter can vote from anywhere directly from his mobile.
Advantages of Mobile Voting:
1. Vote from Anywhere & Voter turnout: The biggest advantage of mVoting is that voter can vote from anywhere directly from his or her mobile. This is specially very useful for NRIs, in-country migrants, college students, travelling professionals, married females and others who are located at place other than their city of registration. This will ensure much higher voter turnout. As per our estimates, the voting percentage would increase from around 66% today to around 95% with mVoting.
2. Verification: Aadhaar based mVerification (Mobile Verification) ensures better verification without any human intervention. Aadhaar also provides a universal government database and eliminates the requirement of each central and state Election Commission to maintain their own voter data base. It also eliminates the requirement from a citizen to register separately for voter ID card.
3. Cost: Currently government spends more than Rs. 35000 crore for a Lok Sabha election. Major part of the cost is for setting up around 9,30,000 voting booths across the country. Huge cost in involved in renting booths, manning it with election workers, logistics of EVMs and personnel etc. With mVoting EC need to invest in any physical infrastructure. Voter would be using his own mobile for voting. The whole process would cost less than Rs. 1000 crore. Which means: a saving of Rs. 34,000 crore. Just imagine what all can be achieved with this Rs. 34,000 crore.
4. Time: Currently a Lok Sabha election is conducted over a period of 2 months. This is due to logistical challenge, manpower requirement, security requirement and other such challenge enumerating due to the size of the country. With mVoting the whole election process can be completed in 1 day. Counting is automatic and real time.
5. Effort: Currently around 1 crore people are deployed to manage the Lok Sabha election. With mVoting all the process from verification to counting is automatic and does not require any human intervention. The Lok Sabha election can be managed with less than 100 people.
6. Audit trail: Right2Vote has built a ‘made for India’ patented audit trail feature along with secret ballot. This has been achieved with smart use of encryption and Aadhaar. This would solve the biggest problem of any election where the loser blames the system for his loss. Audit trail is not possible in current systems like paper ballot and EVMs.
7. Frequency of use: The biggest advantage of mVoting is that it can be used more often and is not restricted to use once in 5 years. The system is very time, cost and effort efficient. This can increase citizen engagement in country’s decision making.
Mobile Voting is a no-brainer. It’s like replacing the Postal department with Email service. Some people would resist change in name of hacking or coercion. But these concerns are unfounded. Many critical systems like stock market, banking system, Air traffic control, electricity grid systems are all connected to internet and hacking can create much bigger damage there in terms of human life. However, enough technologies exist to protect against such misadventure and limit the possible damage.
Mobile Voting is the natural progression for our democratic system and it’s high time our Election Commission adopts it. India is the only country to have built sophisticated digital data base like Aadhaar and hence can lead the mVoting revolution. Right2Vote’s mobile verified voting platform is made for India technology which has been created keeping in mind all the challenges unique to this vast and diverse country. Right2Vote has received several awards including from IIT Bombay and from IIM Calcutta for this innovative platform. With this platform, the biggest democracy in the world has the opportunity to become the most efficient democracy in the world.