Min of IT NILOUFER SHROFF 17 Dec, 2013

Using technology to bridge the gender gap in Elections
Dr. (Mrs.) Niloufer Shroff
Scientist ‘G’ & HOD (EMCD)
Ms. Tulika Pandey, Scientist ‘F’
Department of Electronics & IT
M/o Communication & IT
Electronics Niketan, New Delhi
Presentation at National Consultation on Women’s
participation in the Electoral Process
19th December 2013 at MayFair Convention Centre
Bhubaneswar, Odisha
First- A Big Thank You to the Election Commission
I speak as a citizen of the country and Yes as a Woman citizen
The Electoral Process is one of the few processes which run
so excellently in India that we don’t seem to even think
about it.
We just take it for granted.
In the recent Delhi Elections – the real victory was of
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.
Using technology to bridge the gender gap in Elections
Organization of the talk
1. Women & Elections
2. Technology & Elections
3. Technology & Women
4. Women, Technology & Elections
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
UK - Suffragettes movement
Women over 30 & with property 1918
Extended to all Women over 21 in 1928
USA 1920
Women and Elections
In India in all the elections held since
independence, women had the voting
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 .
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 :
a. Communications, telecommunications, radio, networks
and the Internet;
b. Computer hardware and software, word processing/spread
sheets, database management systems; m-Apps for
c. Specialised electronic/mechanical devices, non-electronic
innovations and materials.
Technology & Elections
Role of technology in the Elections
1. Awareness Creation
2. Voter Registration
3. The Actual Process of running the Elections
4. Electronic Voting
5. Reporting & Auditing results
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
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.
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
Technology can enable faster voting at any polling station. Less time
required will facilitate women with household duties to come out for
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
•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.
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”
• 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)
Technology and Women -DeitY Initiatives
Women Empowerment Initiatives of DeitY
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)
Technology and Women -DeitY Initiatives
C-DAC - Smart Framework for Multimedia based Learning Content
Management for Women’s 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 Women’s 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.
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
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.
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.
Women, Technology & the Electoral Process
Women are most vulnerable when they’re 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 women’s participation in voting turnout and
election campaigning too.
Using technology to bridge the gender gap in Elections
Using technology to bridge the gender gap in Elections