If the central Election Commission (EC) has its way, any voter with a smartphone can become an informant of illegal activities during general elections.

A technical team of the EC is building a mobile application that will turn voters with smartphones into an election cop. The project is titled is e-Netra.

This project will help the citizens to report any violation of the model code of conduct, such as distribution of cash or liquor, or hate speech. With the help of e Netra, people can upload images and videos as evidence for the EC to pursue. The app will be launched next month, said OP Rawat, the Chief Election Commissioner of India.

What is e Netra? How the app will work?

The young generation are spending lots of time with their mobiles and smart devices. They are fond of apps. Sotherefore, the IT department of the EC has developed a mobile application for the next year’s general elections. As a pilot project, the EC has chosen Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram elections for trial of the new technology.

A similar app was created for the Bengaluru Municipal Corporation and the Karnataka election but it was not successful because it was deployed just a few days before the elections and hence did not serve the purpose. There were just about 800 downloads.

The app will help voters to be police from the next year’s Lok Sabha polls if the EC has its way. In the elections, if any illegal situation or incident takes place such distribution of cash or liquor, or even hate speeches and provocative posters, citizens would be able to upload images or videos through the app with the EC.

The concerned election officer would receive the complaint and will be directed to take action. The app has the ability to detect the location of the user as well as detect where a video was shot or a photo was taken. The most innovative aspect of this app would be that every complaint would be accompanied with evidence which means that action can be ensured.

According to the current system of investigating complaints, the local police is asked to file a report about an incident after it is reported to the EC during an election process.  According to norms, a police officer is sent to the exact spot where the incident allegedly had happened where the police questions and takes statements from locals and witnesses. But according ot experience, most of the witnesses are influenced into speaking otherwise by local powerful politicians. And hence no headway is generally possible in such complaints.

But this app will also present evidence for the EC and the police to follow up and take actions against which can be crucial to fight poll irregularities.

(Adapted from TheTimesofIndia.com)