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Source: The post is based on the article “ECI to issue digital time vouchers to National & State political parties for campaigning on Doordarshan & All India Radio during elections” published in The Hindu on 20th July 2023
What is the News?
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has introduced a digital time voucher system for political parties to access government-owned electronic media, such as Doordarshan and All India Radio for campaigning during elections.
The scheme regarding political parties’ access to government-owned electronic media such as Doordarshan and All India Radio for campaigning during elections was initially notified in 1998.
This scheme holds a statutory basis under Section 39A of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951.
Under this Scheme, an equitable base time is allotted to each National Party and Recognized State Party of the state concerned uniformly on DD & AIR.
– An additional time is allotted based on the poll performance of the parties in the last assembly elections from the respective States/UT or in the last general Elections to Lok Sabha, as the case may be.
What is a Digital Time Voucher introduced by EC now?
A digital voucher is a type of voucher that is given online and can be redeemed at a later date.
Election Commission of India(ECI) has planned to issue digital time vouchers to National & State political parties for campaigning on Doordarshan & All India Radio during elections.
These vouchers can be redeemed by political parties at designated Doordarshan or AIR centres in exchange for total time allotted.
Each political party shall be given time Vouchers of different denominations of, 5 minutes and 10 minutes, equal to the total time allotted to it for telecasts on Doordarshan and broadcasts on AIR.
The political party shall have the discretion to choose any representatives and allow them to use those time vouchers provided that no such individual representative shall be allowed to use more than 20 minutes of the total time allotted to that party, either on Doordarshan or on AIR.
What is the significance of this Digital Time Voucher by EC?
Firstly, with this the political parties will not be required to send their representatives to ECI/CEO Offices for collection of the time vouchers physically during elections.
Secondly, this step also reflects the EC’s commitment to leveraging technology for the betterment of the electoral process and ease of all stakeholders.
– Note: EC had also recently introduced a web portal for online filing of financial accounts by political parties with the Election Commission.