Assam: Paper Ballots to EVMs in Local Polls

The Cabinet of Assam in its meeting that was presided over Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma gave approval to the proposal of replacing paper ballots with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the polls of Guwahati Municipal Corporation.

Overview:

  • The approval that was given to the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to replace paper ballots with EVMs was done with the aim of ensuring efficiency and transparency in the elections.

About Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)

Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are voting machines that help in casting and counting votes. The balloting unit and the control unit are the two parts of an EVM. A cable connects these units together. The presiding officer or the polling officer is in charge of the EVM’s control unit. The balloting unit is kept in the voting compartment so that an individual can cast their votes. This is done so that the polling officer can confirm one’s identity. Instead of issuing a ballot paper, the polling officer will press the Ballot Button on the EVM, allowing the voter to vote. On the machine, there will be a list of candidate names and/or symbols with a blue button next to it. The individual can vote by pressing the button which is next to the candidate’s name.

Other Decisions that were taken in the Cabinet Meet

In the Cabinet meeting, several important decisions relating to revision of land premium rates, repealing of obsolete laws, ensuring the safety of workers, ease of doing business, raising loan from NABARD, empowering law enforcers, transparency in GMC polls, etc, were also taken.

From NABARD Rs 142 crore loan will also be taken for the continuation of projects that were sanctioned under RIDF-XXVII in Elementary Education, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, and Irrigation departments.

The contingency funds corpus has been increased to Rs 2,000 crores from Rs 200 crore to face exigencies like natural calamities such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approval of Assam Occupational Safety, Healthy and Working Conditions Rules, 2022

Assam Occupational Safety, Healthy and Working Conditions Rules, 2022 was also approved by the Cabinet with the aim of securing the safety and working conditions of workers. This includes regulations such as an annual check-up for all workers over the age of 40 and the formation of a safety committee for all establishments that employ 100 or more people.

What decision was taken to improve the ease of doing business in Assam?

To improve ease of doing business in Assam, the Cabinet decided that there will be no requirement for a trade license for running any commercial institute, except liquor shops, brick kilns, schools, hospitals, and other heavy pollution generating industries. The revenue town concept was also abolished.

About Assam Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2022

Approval was given to the Assam Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to strengthen law agencies to eliminate intoxicants. The Assam Excise Repealing Bill has been approved to improve the Excise department’s ease of doing business.

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