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Ram Nath Kovind-led panel on 'One Nation One Poll' recommends single electoral roll, electoral Photo IDs

New Delhi: The Ram Nath Kovind-led panel on 'One Nation One Election' has recommended a single electoral roll and electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) for use in elections to all three tiers of the government.
In its report submitted to President Draupadi Murmu on Thursday, the high-level committee has recommended a two-step approach for holding simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha, state assemblies and local bodies.
It recommended that in the first step simultaneous elections can be held for Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.
This can be followed in the second step with holding elections to Municipalities and Panchayats withn 100 days.
The Committee recommends that in the event of a hung House, a no-confidence motion constitutes the new House, fresh elections may be held for the remainder of the five-year term.
Where fresh elections are held for the State Legislative Assemblies, then such new Legislative Assembly unless it is dissolved sooner, shall continue up to the end of the end of the term of the Lok Sabha, the committee report stated.
A Constitution Amendment Bill will have to be introduced in the Parliament amending Article 83 (Duration of Houses of Parliament) and Article 172 (Duration of State Legislatures). This Constitutional Amendment will not seed ratification by the States, the report said.
In tune with its mandate to explore the mechanism for simultaneous elections, and keeping in view the existing framework of the Constitution, the Committee has crafted its recommendations in such a way that they are in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution of India and would require bare minimum amendments to the Constitution.
Upon all-inclusive deliberations, the Committee concludes that its recommendations will significantly enhance the transparency, inclusivity, ease and confidence of the voters.
Overwhelming support for holding simultaneous elections will spur the development process and social cohesion, deepen the foundations of our democratic rubric, and realise the aspirations of India, that is Bharat, the committee said.
Former president Kovid-led Committee earlier today called on President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan and submitted its report on the 'One nation One Election'.
The 18,626 pages long report is an outcome of extensive consultations with stakeholders, experts and research work over 191 days, since its constitution on September 2, 2023.
Other members of the Committee are Amit Shah, Union Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Cooperation, Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, NK Singh, former Chairman, of the 15th Finance Commission, Subhash C Kashyap, former Secretary General, Lok Sabha, Harish Salve, Senior Advocate, and Sanjay Kothari, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner. Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Law and Justice was a Special Invitee and Dr Niten Chandra was the Secretary of the high level panel.
The Committee held extensive consultations to understand the views of different stakeholders. Forty-seven political parties submitted their views and suggestions, out of which 32 supported simultaneous elections. Many political parties had extensive discussions with the High level committe on this matter.
In response to a public notice published in newspapers in all the States and Union territories, 21,558 responses were received from citizens from all over India. 80 per cent of the respondents supported simultaneous elections.
Experts on law such as four former Chief Justices of India and 12 former Chief Justices of major High Courts, four former Chief Election Commissioners of India, eight State Election Commissioners, and the Chairman of the Law Commission of India were invited by the Committee for interaction in person. The views of the Election Commission of India were also sought.
Apex business organizations like the CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM and eminent economists were also consulted to present their views on the economic repercussions of asynchronous elections.
They advocated the economic imperative of simultaneous elections on account of the effect of asynchronous elections on fuelling inflation and slowing down the economy.
The Committee was briefed by these bodies that intermittent elections had adverse consequences on economic growth, quality of public expenditure, and educational and other outcomes, besides upsetting social harmony.
The central government in September last year constituted a high-level Committee to examine the issue of 'One Nation, One Election' and make recommendations for holding simultaneous elections in the country.

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