With leass than a week to go for the Lok Sabha elections, IANS has compiled some interesting facts about Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
* An EVM consists of a control unit and a balloting unit connected together by a cable. The control unit belongs to a polling officer while the balloting unit is kept in a compartment to cast votes.
* After the polling is over, the results can be known instantly at the counting station by pressing the “result” switch which is located in a sealed compartment of the control unit.
* EVMs are manufactured by two Central government undertakings — Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited.
* EVMs were first used at 50 polling stations in a by-poll at the Parur Assembly constituency in Kerala in May 1982.
* EVMs could not be used after 1983 after a Supreme Court ruling that necessitated legal backing for the use of voting machines. The law was amended by the Parliament in December 1988, empowering the Election Commission to use voting machines.
* In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, 10.75 lakh EVMs were used across all polling stations in the country. Since then all elections are conducted by EVMs.
In his first speech after winning the election for his second term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed that “…we have to win ‘sabka vishwas’ (everyones trust).” What will be required to win that trust is establishing a true state of interdependence. Interdependence can be achieved by creating a country in which there is a shared understanding of the value of each citizen and a reliance on one another to eliminate discrimination, hostility, and prejudice and to provide equality and opportunity for all. All citizens must be active participants in shaping the future of India. They must be equal partners in Indias inclusive economic mobility and in Indias shared prosperity.
Independence Day is the perfect day to highlight the importance of and advance the concept of interdependence. This can be accomplished by promoting the need for a unified India on this national holiday.
The need for doing this is critical. Unfortunately, in the period since the Prime Minister called for winning “trust” in his speech, some Indians have engaged in actions destroying it.
Sadly, the heinous crimes at the beginning of Modi’s second term are nothing new. There were several lynchings and numerous attacks on Muslims during his first term.
Modi did not speak out vigorously then. He must do so now to demonstrate the essential leadership that will be required to create a state of interdependence. There are other serious conditions that must be addressed as well. To name just a few: sexual violence and subjugation of females continues; the caste system still exists; and, the problematic conditions of those in the weaker sections persist.
By speaking out, Prime Minister Modi can bring the country together to confront the matters that are hardening India’s democratic arteries. He cannot do that alone, however. He will need buy in and support from across the country and the citizenry.
A first step should be to “find our spiritual common ground”. That step can be initiated by recognizing that spirit is the invisible force that brings us together regardless of our caste, race, religion, region or political predisposition. The goal in discovering that common ground should be to create one nation under God. That nation would be an interdependent one and its God would be ecumenical and non-denominational. Its God would be welcoming to all.
As one nation, India would celebrate and embrace the richness of religious diversity
As one nation, India would be a role model and exemplar for other democracies to emulate
Everyone must play a role in establishing India as one nation. Each citizen should engage in small acts of kindness by reaching out to those less fortunate and to the downtrodden by extending a helping hand and a hand up.
Some people can make special contributions. Religious leaders should promote interfaith dialogue. They should bring people together followers of different persuasions for meaningful conversations. They should promote a dialogue of understanding and a shared sense of community with other faiths. They should call the fact that attack on one faith is attack on all faiths. Political leaders should promote a framework of unity and civility. Civic and community leaders should promote collaboration in problem-solving. They should toil together their creeds to plant the seeds for doing good deeds.
There is no better day on which to resume our journey than Independence Day. There is no better way to make that journey than to chart a course to interdependence. By reaching that destination, India will establish itself as the beacon of hope for democracy worldwide. By realizing that potential, India will bring a new dawn for democracy in this 21st century. (IANS)