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After PAN, get ready for citizens' 'tracking no'
December, 26th 2006

Facing difficulties in keeping a true head count of electorate in view of sizeable migration from one constituency to another, the Law Ministry has proposed a multipurpose national identity card with a unique tracking number.

The ministry said it was the mission of Election Commission to tag every eligible Indian with a voter identity card, in a time bound frame, but somehow the gap of 30 per cent without the card continues to persist despite campaigns.

"This is partly because of additions to the rolls during annual revisions and due to large scale intra-city and inter-city migration," the ministry said.

Till the last count on January 1, 2005, there were still more than 20 crore eligible Indians who have not yet been issued Election Photo Identity Cards (EPIC), in short voter I-cards, accounting for over 30 per cent of the electorate without a place in the rolls.

Precisely, there are 680,508,403 eligible voters of which 478,251,225 have been issued the voter's I-card, accounting for 69.87 per cent of the electorate. The remaining are yet to get the voter's I-cards.

Despite campaigns stretched beyond the stipulated timeframe to achieve 100 per cent EPIC coverage, the 30 per cent figure has refused to come down, leading to speculations the constantly shifting humanity may be contributing to this apparently inflated figures.

"The migrating electors, in most cases, do not mention their EPICs, if any, issued in the place of previous residence in the application filed for inclusion of their name in the new electoral roll," it observed.

"Therefore, though the name is included in the part of the roll where elector shifts, the EPIC number remains blank. This is a major area of concern," it said, adding issuing a unique number to elector for lifetime can solve this problem.

"A unique multi-purpose identity card is the need of the day. A national identity card can then cover various activities, including that of identification in an electoral roll," it said.

"In case of migration whether intercity or intracity the unique identity number can effectively track and place a voter in the correct location," the ministry recommended, adding it was for the home ministry to take an initiative in this direction.

The citizens could also use the unique multipurpose card as an all-purpose card for identification, proof of residence, citizenship, date of birth, etc., the ministry added.

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