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Database for welfare schemes misused for elections?

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E&IT is accused of preparing booth-wise citizens’ list for electoral gains for the ruling party.

The Odisha government has created many schemes for the upliftment of the farmer and the people below poverty line, which has been highly appreciated and recognized by common people. But sadly, instead of benefiting real beneficiaries for improving their standards of living, the schemes have been designed to get political mileage at the time of elections only.

Take for instance, the Electronic and Information Technology (E&IT) department, which, during the time of elections, plays a major role in preparing citizens’ database from many citizen-centric applications, which disburse cash and non-cash benefits targeting the voters to cast their votes in favour of Odisha’s ruling party, by linking the government machineries with party workers. 

E&IT department uses the citizens’ beneficiary database generated from KALIA application, Nabin Odisha Biju Swasthya Card and Student Access Management System.

The organization, which is working on the plan and direction of the chief minister’s office (CMO) to build and manage the citizen-centric applications also looks the social media promotion of the Odisha government under the guidance and supervision of Manoj Mishra, secretary to E&IT department, who has resigned from IRTC and continuing with the current position because of political patronage.

It is alleged that the list of citizens out of the buildup database of the schemes is going to be prepared booth-wise across the state and is going to be circulated to government machineries and local party workers to influence the people with coercion and threat to vote for the ruling party.

The best practices to keep the database secure has not been followed and the Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC) does not have the right resources with expertise to monitor and control the database misutilization. If it is a practice to win the elections, it is a violation to the ethics of democracy and should be under the purview of Election Commission of India, which should ensure that the database of citizen does not force the citizen to caste their votes out of fear of losing out on their entitlements under the schemes.

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