State third lowest in issuance of voter identity cards – Jupinderjit Singh- The Tribune-November 21

Jammu 21 Nov: More than 17 years after the Election Commission of India started the process of issuing electors photo identity cards to all voters, only four states, Haryana, Kerala, Meghalya, Tripura and the Union Territory of Puduchery, have achieved the distinction of 100 per cent issuance of the cards and Jammu and Kashmir is the third lowest on the list with only 54 per cent of the voters getting such cards.

Punjab has 96.52 per cent photo identity card holders while Himachal has 90 per cent. Sikkim and Tamil Nadu with over 99 per cent will soon achieve the distinction of having 100 per cent photo identity cards for all voters.

In response to an RTI application filed by Poonch-based RTI activist Ayaz Mughal, the Election Commission of India revealed this fact.

The state is only ahead of Nagaland and Assam amongst all the states and Union Territories. The Commission mentioned that the voter identity cards scheme had not been implemented in Assam so far.

The application was the part of the 100 filed on October 17 here under the banner of the Sangarsh RTI Movement. On March 16, 3,555,444 photo identity cards had been issued in the state against 6,534,542 electors on the 2009 rolls.

Sources reveal that the shortcoming could be attributed to the ongoing turmoil, hartals and the curfew in Kashmir and the remote villages where there was no road connectivity and officials concerned had to fly there, which couldn’t be done as a routine. Also,in 2008, following the recovery of voter identity cards from slain militants, the then CEO, B.R. Sharma, had decided to reverify about 1.8 million of the cards that had been issued, thus delaying the scheme’s implementation.

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