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EC rules out possibility of NRI E-voting

The Election Commission (EC) submitted before the SC that providing NRIs with the option of e-voting will not be possible due to threats such as viruses, spyware, and malware.

Case before the SC

An NRI had filed a PIL before the SC alleging that the provision requiring NRIs to be physically present in the constituency to exercise their vote was discriminatory and violative of their fundamental rights. It is in regard to this case that the EC made representation before the SC.

The ruling will affect 12,000 NRIs who are registered as voters.

Appointment of a Committee

The EC submitted before the SC that it had appointed a committee to explore possibilities of allowing NRIs to cast their votes from abroad, and also examine other options to make the process of casting their votes much less cumbersome.

Voting through Proxy

The EC said that even though directly voting online or at diplomatic missions was not an option, voting through proxy could definitely be considered for NRIs. The NRI can designate another person from his own constituency to act as his proxy and cast the vote on his behalf. Voting through proxy is currently available to persons in the armed forces and paramilitary forces. This mode of voting can be efficacious and convenient for all parties concerned. Matters of time constraint and logistics will not be a hurdle

 E-postal ballot

E-postal ballot is also an option that the EC is considered. Under this system, a blank postal ballot paper is transferred electronically to the NRIs, which can then be filled and returned by them. This system has almost no risk of manipulation, rigging or violation of secrecy.

The EC proposed trying the system on a pilot basis in one or two constituencies during elections to the Legislative Assemblies. If successful, the ballot system could then be expanded to cover Parliamentary elections and eventually to all constituencies.


Government launches national air quality index

The Central government has launched a National Air Quality Index to provide an easy, understandable measure of air quality. For the next 45 days, the draft National Air Quality Index will be made available to stakeholders and register their comments. If the suggestions are accepted, changes will be made, and the Index will be formalized later this year, and made active by 2015. read more here.

SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation finalized

The SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity) was finalized at the 5th SAARC Energy Ministers Meeting and will be signed by all the parties at the upcoming SAARC Summit that is to be held in November 2014 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation

This agreement has been pending since 2010 and is an important step in developing a SAARC Market for Electricity (SAME) on a regional basis. Bangladesh will convene the meeting of Energy Regulators  or Agencies in SAARC countries by December 2014.

India’s role

India has offered to host a seminar on “Sharing Experiences on Energy Pricing Mechanism in the SAARC Region” and also host the second meeting of the Expert Group on Technology/Knowledge Sharing (including Energy Efficiency, coal, etc.) in 2015.


SAARC or the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was established in 1985, with its secretariat in Kathmandu, Nepal.   SAARC is an association of eight countries in South Asia. The idea of the regional body was first proposed by the Bangaldeshi President Zia-ur-Rahman in 1980, when the proposed creation of a trade bloc consisting solely South Asian countries.

Afghanistan is the most recent, and eighth addition to the grouping. It was added at the behest of India, on 13 November, 2005. China, EU, USA, South Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Australia and Mauritius are observers to SAARC.

Ministerial level Energy forum

The process of regional cooperation in the energy sector began in January 2000 with the establishment of a Technical Committee on Energy. At the 12th SAARC Summit in 2004, the Islamabad Declaration called for the constitution of a Ministerial level Energy Forum was constituted. The first meeting of the SAARC Energy Ministers was held at Islamabad in 2005.