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Election helplines, CVIGIL app, get mixed reaction, use

Election helplines, CVIGIL app, get mixed reaction, use

Mangalore Today News Network

Mangaluru, Mar 16, 2019: A helpline — 1950 — has been set up to assist voters. In case the voter is calling from the same district for assistance, he or she can directly dial 1950. In case the voter is seeking information about a district from outside the district, he or she has to prefix the district STD code to 1950.


helplines.jpgIn all, voter helplines have received 29,589 calls since February 1, and 28,880 of the cases have been disposed of. According to Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar, most of the callers were seeking information.

Many citizen complaints on poll code violation do not meet legal requirements :

Citizens, mostly youngsters, have been found to be taking selfies with purported freebies and uploading them on cVIGIL, an app that encourages the public to inform authorities about election-related malpractice. More that 50% of the reported violations have been found to not meet legal requirements or fake.

According to data released on March 15, Friday,  by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka, of the 186 cases registered on cVIGIL, 111 have been found to be false. The EC has acted upon 45 cases, while 30 are being investigated.

“Citizens should take the app seriously and not waste resources on the ground. In a large number of cases, selfies have been uploaded on the app, sending officials on a wild goose chase. People should not be irresponsible,” said Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar. He also warned of action against people who indulge in spreading false information.

The cVIGIL app is monitored through a dashboard and the EC has put in place a system to dispatch a team within 15 minutes of receiving information. The commission has to be updated by this team within 100 minutes.

The posts by citizens are timed and geotagged. The team, which is identified close to the geotagged area through GPS-fitted vehicles, is dispatched as soon as the jurisdiction’s returning officer receives the information. In all, 330 officers, 7,475 field units and 10,489 field staff have been deployed across the State for the purpose.

According to sources in the EC, the problem for the authorities is that the app allows people to post photographs and videos anonymously. Giving the example of a youth from Rajasthan whose alerts to officials on 41 occasions were found to be true, sources said every tip-off is taken seriously.

“In the past week, we have found many youth uploading seflies without giving their numbers. In cases where numbers were found, those indulging in such cases were warned,” Mr. Kumar said.

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