Election Commission launches app to help citizens be more vigilant during Lok Sabha polls
As India gears up for the parliamentary elections - the world's largest democratic exercise with an estimated 90 crore voters in 2019 - the Election Commission is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the polls are conducted fairly.
And for this, the EC has rolled out an app, cVIGIL, that will allow citizens to report any violation in the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and alert election authorities immediately with just a few taps on their mobile phones. The app is Android-only, and is supported by devices running Jellybean or above.
Interestingly, cVIGIL (which stands for "citizens' vigil") was first launched in July 2018 and tested in the Assembly elections of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana. Now, for the first time, the app has got a pan-India rollout. Citizens, on witnessing any misconduct, can simply take a photo or video, add a brief descriptor, and upload it on the app to alert the authorities.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced on Monday,
“By using the cVIGIL app, citizens can record on their Android mobile and promptly report any violation of Model Code of Conduct, any incident of intimidation or inducement within minutes of having witnessed them and without having to go to the office of the returning officer."
According to Google Play Store, cVIGIL provides time-stamped evidentiary proof of MCC violation and uses auto location data. "This unique combination of time-stamping, live photo with auto location can be fairly relied upon by election machinery to navigate to the right spot and take prompt action," it states. There is also an option for the complainant to remain anonymous. The Election Commissioner added,
There is no limit on the number of cases that can be reported. Once the citizen has reported an incident, the District Control Room will allocate cVIGIL cases to Flying Squads through a GIS-based platform. And, the authorities "are duty bound to take action on it within 100 minutes.”
Essentially, the cVIGIL app is the EC's attempt to create a fast-track complaint reception and redressal system. It also urges citizens to be more vigilant, and to play a proactive and responsible role in the conduct of free and fair elections.
The 17th Lok Sabha polls start April 11, and will be held in seven phases. The final counting of votes are scheduled to take place on May 23.