Photo ID cards to all voters in 2 years: poll panel

Kolkata, Nov 20 ( The entire electorate in India will be issued the Electronic Photo Identity Card (EPIC) within the next two years, Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla said Friday.

“We expect the EC will be able to cover the country’s 740 million voting population with the issuance of EPIC in less than next two years. We’ve made significant progress in issuing EPIC to our voters all across the country and we’re advancing very fast,” Chawla told reporters at an interactive session organised by the Merchant’s Chamber of Commerce (MCC) here.

He said: “The EC had already issued EPIC to nearly 582 million voters till the 2009 general elections which account for a little more than 82 percent of the country’s total voting population.

“In some states, we’ve already achieved 100 percent mark. In Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Tripura we’ve issued EPIC to 100 percent of its voting population. In West Bengal and Rajasthan, we’ve achieved 97 and 99 percent, respectively, till this year’s general elections.”

Talking about the recently concluded Maharastra assembly polls, Chawla said just 60 percent of the total voting population there had the EPIC earlier.

“The figure was not very satisfactory. We took the initiative and within just eight weeks, the figure jumped to little more than 80 percent before the state went to the polls,” he said.

Chawla also admitted that still there are some states in the north-eastern region where just 60 percent of the total voting population have these cards.

“But, I’ve seen a reversal in the trend. Now more number of people want to have the EPIC. So we can expect this figure to go up in the near future,” he said.