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Dr. (Mrs.) Niloufer Shroff

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Title: Dr. (Mrs.) Niloufer Shroff


1
Using technology to bridge the gender gap in
Elections
Dr. (Mrs.) Niloufer Shroff Scientist G HOD
(EMCD) and Ms. Tulika Pandey, Scientist F
Department of Electronics IT M/o Communication
IT Electronics Niketan, New Delhi
Presentation at National Consultation on Womens
participation in the Electoral Process 19th
December 2013 at MayFair Convention
Centre Bhubaneswar, Odisha
2
First- A Big Thank You to the Election Commission
I speak as a citizen of the country and Yes as a
Woman citizen too. The Electoral Process is one
of the few processes which run so excellently in
India that we dont seem to even think about it.
We just take it for granted. In the recent
Delhi Elections the real victory was of
Democracy. What safeguards this while
governments rise and fall is our system of Free
and Fair Elections. The Election Commission
really needs to be congratulated and thanked by
each citizen of India.
3
Using technology to bridge the gender gap in
Elections
Organization of the talk
  • Women Elections
  • Technology Elections
  • Technology Women
  • 4. Women, Technology Elections

4
Women and Elections
  • This has been covered by the speakers before me
    from various aspects. I will only touch upon it
    briefly.
  • Votes for Women - less than 100 years
  • New Zealand 1893
  • Australia 1894
  • Canada 1919
  • UK - Suffragettes movement
  • Women over 30 with property 1918
  • Extended to all Women over 21 in 1928 
  • USA 1920

5
Women and Elections
In India in all the elections held since
independence, women had the voting rights.
However, women do face serious social, cultural
and logistical problems restricting their full
and active participation in the democratic
process of Elections. The Indian Government and
civil society have been working to promote
greater participation of women in electoral
processes .
a
6
Technology Elections
Information and Communication Technology use in
the Electoral Process
Information technology has the potential to
improve electoral operations - by reducing risks
and costs, enhancing transparency and
convenience, both for voters and officials
managing the process.
  • ICT applications in the electoral process
  • Communications, telecommunications, radio,
    networks and the Internet
  • Computer hardware and software, word
    processing/spread sheets, database management
    systems m-Apps for mobiles
  • Specialised electronic/mechanical devices,
    non-electronic innovations and materials.

7
Technology Elections
  • Role of technology in the Elections
  • Awareness Creation
  • Voter Registration
  • The Actual Process of running the Elections
  • Electronic Voting
  • Reporting Auditing results

8
Technology Elections Role of technology -
Awareness Creation
  • Voter education activities historically through
    traditional media -TV news, radio and
    newspapers.
  • Popularity of the Internet and mobile
    technologies now enable making election
    information available online and through mobile
    devices, which requires web content management
    capabilities.
  • Social Media especially Facebook, Twitter and
    Youtube have a role in creating mass opinions for
    voting or analysis of the candidate.

9
Technology Elections - Voter Registration
  • AIM To securely and accurately manage large
    databases of citizens
  • Manual Registration has proved cumbersome.
  • Electronic registration, makes it easier to
    register and vote, increases accuracy, and
    reduces the risk of eligible voters being
    disenfranchised due to inaccurate or incomplete
    voter records.
  • Online registration has shown large increase in
    Registration.
  • Establishing the identity of an individual -
    Automatic Fingerprint Identification System
    (AFIS) or Facial Recognition Scanning .
  • Deduping Voter list through fuzzy matching
    techniques in Indian Languages.
  • Photo Rolls project Shows the photograph
    printed in the Voter List.

The Election Commission providing Online Voter ID
Registration System for voter ID
registration/status checking, updating/deletion
of voter ID data has greatly facilitated women to
get registered while sitting at home and thus use
their rights to voting.
10
Technology Elections The Actual Process of
running the Elections
Paper based voting lists have significant costs
for printing and shipping. Authenticating the
voter takes a lot of time, long waiting
times. Technology can enable faster voting at
any polling station. Less time required will
facilitate women with household duties to come
out for voting. Votes marking electronically
through electronic voting machines, can be
modified for visually impaired voters, voters
with literacy issues, or in multiple languages
. In future through remote, unsupervised voting,
which includes email, web self-service,
phone/smartphone, and Internet TV. The important
issues will be security requirements and the
bandwidth availability. Networks like NOFN, SWAN
could be useful.
11
Technology Elections The Actual Process of
running the Elections
  • Election Commission of India since provincial
    assembly elections in early 2012 has been using
    an SMS based alert system called Communication
    Plan for Election (COMET) during the election.
  • The system is used for sending messages to the
    millions of government officials on election
    duty. Many of them are women.
  • The COMET system "uses coded text messages
    through mobile phones to collect data about
    officials, information about scheduled events
    like staff reaching the polling station, mock
    polls conducted, start of polling, voting
    percentages every two hours, number of voters in
    after voting time was over, and whether the poll
    party reached safely at the high security
    Electronic Voting Machine deposit centre.

The SMS system for data from the polling booth to
the control room of the election commission
provides hassle free environment to Women
Presiding Officers and motivates them to take new
responsibilities in the poll booths collection
counting centers.
12
Technology Elections The Actual Process of
running the Elections
  • E-Governance Initiative of DeitY has made
    available several m-Apps for different electoral
    processes.
  • EVM tracking application For ECI Officials for
    scanning Barcode on Electronic Voting Machine
    machines used in poll.
  • Election Poll day Report For collecting
    information from District Election Officer about
    poll progress activities.
  • Polling Station Location Fetches co-ordinates
    (Latitude Longitude) of a polling station
    through GPS enabled android mobile phone and
    sends the information to ECI server.
  • Electoral Officers details For collecting
    personal information about the Electoral officer
    (Skype Id, email Id head office location etc).
  • Leveraging the high mobile density in India,
    mobile devices may be used as a force multiplier
    in enabling participation of citizens
    irrespective of gender in election.

13
Technology Elections -Electronic Voting
  • Electronic Voting machines- an Election
    commission initiative has tremendously helped in
    smooth conduct of Indian elections.
  • There are more than 1.4 million EVMs in India and
    efficient use of EVMs are an eye-opener and has
    many takers in the many foreign delegations that
    came here to observe Indian democracy in action.
  • While most of the existing cases of electronic
    voting are in the form of supervised electronic
    voting machines, an increasing number of
    countries are adopting remote, unsupervised
    electronic online voting to increase voter
    participation.

14
Technology Elections - Reporting Auditing
Results
  • Result consolidation
  • Election night reporting
  • Election audit
  • Technology has helped improve efficiency of
    post-voting process
  • Increasing the speed of the vote counting process
  • Minimizing delays in the publication of election
    results
  • Streamlining post-election audit processes
  • Reducing logistics costs

15
Technology and Women-ICT Status of India
  • National e-Governance Plan has brought the
    government closer to the people. Greater openness
    and transparency have thus empowered the common
    people.
  • Core ICT infrastructure like SWAN, CSCs, SDC,
    MSDG, Payment Gateway, eGov AppStore, mAppStore
    used by different Ministries / departments for
    delivery of citizen centric services i.e. without
    any gender discrimination.
  • These services play an impact making role in
    bridging the gender gap by delivering the
    government services at the doorstep of citizens
    in a transparent and efficient way .
  • Information Technology has been combined with
    satellite based communication technology to reach
    rural areas through initiatives like
    tele-education and tele-medicine.
  • .

16
Technology and Women-Common Service Centers (CSCs)
  • CSCs established across the country by DeitY to
    Make all Government services accessible to the
    common man(/woman) in his locality, through
    common service delivery outlets and ensure
    efficiency, transparency reliability of such
    services at affordable costs to realize the basic
    needs of the common man
  • NEED TO ADD WOMAN !!!
  • Front-end delivery points for Government, private
    and social sector services to rural citizens
  • Target of 1 CSC for every 6 villages (100,000
    CSCs)
  • 123,131 CSCs are operational across 35 States/
    UTs through BSNL, VSATS Data Cards
  • Bundled approach (hardware, software and trained
    manpower)

17
  • Technology and Women -DeitY Initiatives
  • Women Empowerment Initiatives of DeitY
  • Training
  • Formal Courses BCA, MCA
  • Non-formal Courses NIELIT (O, A, CCC),
    Certificate Courses by DeitY Autonomous Societies
    (NIELIT, C-DAC), State Govt. Undertakings /
    Societies for ICT
  • Industry Specific ITES / BPO, Desk top
    Publishing
  • Customized Hardware, Software, Multimedia,
    language Technology, Web Designing
  • Basic Computer Fundamentals / Computer Operation
  • IT Infrastructure Development
  • Computer labs in Schools Colleges
  • Computer labs in Central State Government
    Institutions
  • Multimedia based educational technology package
  • Capacity Building
  • Empowerment of Artisans (Chanderi Madhya
    Pradesh)
  • Self Help Groups (in NER, West Bengal)

18
Technology and Women -DeitY Initiatives
  • C-DAC - Smart Framework for Multimedia based
    Learning Content Management for Womens
    empowerment (EKALABYA).
  • For spreading awareness among rural women in
    vernacular languages.
  • C-DAC Kolkata a Domain expert in Electoral
    Processes could start in Bangla then take up
    NE languages.
  • Multimedia based content including Audio, Video,
    Images, Animations and Linear presentations in CD
    which can be distributed among rural women.
  • Integrated Management Information System and
    Portal
  • Set up for Womens Empowerment, Information
    compilation, Dissemination, and Self Learning,
    and also monitoring the activities of
    Kudumbashree Mission at the State, District,
    Community Based Organization levels.
  • The Portal provides a common platform for
    education knowledge of legal, social and
    cultural aspects of Gender Empowerment.

19
Women, Technology the Electoral Process
  • Initiatives for Inclusion of Women in the
    electoral process
  • Schemes and Policies to help women acquire the
    tools necessary to participate successfully in
    all aspects of the political process.
  • Women Electoral participation programme
    training on use of tools, such as SMS, social
    media and electronic voting, that could be
    adapted for use.
  • Engage women in legislatures, political parties
    and civil society as leaders, activists and
    informed citizens.
  • Establish secure and easy e-Voting mechanisms.
  • Identify technology and methods to make voting
    booths mobile.

20
Women, Technology the Electoral Process
  • Social Media (Television, Newspaper, Internet) to
    tell to listen-a two-way street.
  • Mobile technology is helping to educate and allow
    women to communicate in the electoral process .
    Giving women access to all election related
    information and government advisory on their
    rights and duties in the election process.
  • The Election Commission technology initiative of
    using Verified Voters Paper Audit Train (VVPAT)
    machines has instilled confidence in Women voters
    too.
  • The Systematic Voters Education and Electoral
    Participation (SVEEP) are the newly launched
    initiative for awareness programs through mass
    media to woo voters especially women voters.
  • In future election tools like
  • IVRS (interactive voice response system) for
    voters with low literacy levels.
  • Will call instead of texting to ask if
    they know the location of their polling centre
    and if needed would provide it.
  • Web Learning/E-Learning Technology to educate and
    inform women contesting in Panchayat Elections
    and help them know about their rights duties
    through meetings and pre recorded information
    dissemination especially in the rural areas.

21
Women, Technology the Electoral Process
  • C-DAC - Proposed set of activities - Potential
    Solutions
  • Generating Online Tokens/Mobile Based Tokens for
    lesser waiting time.
  • SMS Facility for Informing the Location of
    Polling Booth and expected wait .
  • Online Mobile Facility for Incorporating the
    Changes . After marriage women face a lot of
    difficulty in changing the Election
  • I-Card .
  • Development of interfacing tool for integrating
    UID, Municipal Corporation Data ,CBSE/State
    Boards Data etc.

22
Women, Technology the Electoral Process
Women are most vulnerable when theyre
disconnected. Technology usages provides
empowerment strategies. Technology is giving
women information to boost their confidence.
Women now have full information about where
they are registered, their voting and polling
booth location. They know that vulnerable
locations are being watched and the response time
to any untoward incident will be very quick.
Technology has enabled connecting with women
and increased possibility of providing training
and other support for women candidates, voters,
campaigners and support staff . Marked increase
in womens participation in voting turnout and
election campaigning too.
23
Using technology to bridge the gender gap in
Elections
24
Using technology to bridge the gender gap in
Elections
THANK YOU VERY MUCH
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