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ONE NATION ONE ELECTION

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ONE NATION ONE ELECTION

WHY IN NEWS ?

  • Recently the Central government set up a panel headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind to explore the feasibility of the ‘one nation, one election’ (ONOE) plan.

WHAT IS ONE NATION ONE ELECTION ( ONOE) ?

  • The idea of ONOE centres around the concept of synchronising the timing of Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections across all States to reduce the frequency of polls throughout the country.
  • Simultaneous elections for the state assemblies and the Lok Sabha were held till 1967.
  • However, in 1968 and 1969 some legislative assemblies were dissolved prematurely followed by the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 1970.
  • This forced a change in electoral schedules for the states and the country.
  • Currently, the assembly polls in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha are held together with the Lok Sabha elections.

BENEFITS OF ONOE  :

  • Polling is expensive but organising state assembly and Lok Sabha elections simultaneously may reduce that cost.
  • Besides, Polling is expensive with the 2019 general elections estimated to be the most expensive election ever conducted.
  • According to the Centre for Media Studies, Election Commission (EC) pegs 2019 Lok Sabha polls expenditure at Rs 10,000 crore.
  • Simultaneous elections may save time and the government can get five stable years to focus on governance instead of winning polls.
  • Simultaneous elections would alleviate the logistical burden on administrative and security forces, who are often stretched thin due to multiple election duties.
  • To ensure that a state government does not fall without an alternative, the Law Commission recommended that a no-confidence motion against a government should be followed by a confidence motion so that if the Opposition doesn’t have the numbers to form an alternative government, the regime in office cannot be removed.
  • Moreover, this electoral reform is expected to boost voter turnout, a vital component of a thriving democracy.
  • The simplification of the voting process, allowing citizens to cast their ballots in one go, is likely to encourage greater participation in the democratic process.
  • The law commission’s findings support this argument, suggesting that higher turnout rates would enhance the democratic mandate.

CONCERNS RELATED TO ONOE :

  • Logistical and Administrative Challenges: Coordinating elections across the entire nation can be a complex and resource-intensive task, leading to potential logistical and administrative challenges.
  • Constitutional and Legal Hurdles: Implementing simultaneous elections may require significant changes to the Indian Constitution, which can be a lengthy and contentious process.
  • Impact on Regional Parties: Smaller or regional political parties may feel disadvantaged in a synchronized election cycle, as they may not have the resources or visibility to compete at the national level.
  • Reduced Accountability: Longer election cycles may reduce the frequency at which voters can hold governments accountable for their actions, potentially leading to complacency among elected representatives.
  • Voter Fatigue and Information Overload: Longer election cycles may lead to voter fatigue and reduced engagement, as voters may become overwhelmed by the volume of information and campaigns over an extended period.

SURVEYS RELATED TO ONOE:

  • One Nation One Election is a significant proposal in Indian politics, aiming to synchronize the timing of all elections across the country.
  • One Nation One Election Surveys and public opinion play a crucial role in understanding the feasibility and acceptability of such a complex reform.
  • One Nation One Election Surveys gauge the sentiments of the Indian electorate and policymakers towards this concept.
  • They seek to determine whether citizens are in favor of harmonizing elections at the national, state, and local levels and how they perceive the potential benefits and drawbacks.
  • Additionally, surveys can help policymakers assess the readiness of the electoral infrastructure and administrative machinery to manage simultaneous elections.
  • These surveys are essential tools for informed decision-making, as they provide valuable insights into the public’s readiness for such a transformative change and help shape the discourse around electoral reforms in India.

WAY FORWARD:

  • One Nation, One Election’ can become a democratic balance of political acceptance and procedural efficiency. But the road ahead is fraught with constitutional, logistical, and democratic challenges that require careful consideration and debate.

SYLLABUS: PRELIMS, CURRENT AFFAIRS

SOURCE: THE HINDU

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