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One Nation, One Election

One Nation, One Election
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Why in news?

The High-level Committee (HLC) on One Nation, One Election submitted its report to President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday (March 14) morning.


HLC was chaired by former president Ram Nath Kovind.

What is meant by simultaneous elections?

  • Simultaneous elections, popularly referred to as “One Nation, One Election”, means holding elections to Lok Sabha, all state Legislative Assemblies, and urban and rural local bodies (municipalities and panchayats) at the same time.
  • Currently, all these elections are held independently of one another, following timelines dictated by the terms of every individual elected body.
  • Simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies used to happen in India until the fourth general elections of 1967. However, as successive central governments used constitutional provisions to dismiss state governments before the end of their term, and as coalition governments in the states and the Centre kept collapsing, country came to see elections at different times through the year.
  • According to the HLC report, the country now sees five to six elections in a year — if municipalities and panchayat elections are also included, the number of

What is the need for holding simultaneous elections?

  • Frequent elections burden the government exchequer with additional expenditure. If the expenditure incurred by political parties is also added, these figures will be even higher.
  • Asynchronous elections cause uncertainty and instability, thwarting supply chains, business investments and economic growth.
  • Disruption of government machinery due to asynchronous elections causes hardship to citizens.
  • Frequent use of government officials and security forces adversely affect discharge of their duties.
  • Frequent imposition of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) causes policy paralysis and slows down the pace of the developmental programmes.
  • Staggered elections induce ‘voters’ fatigue’ and present a significant challenge in ensuring their participation.

Important recommendations of HLC

Amending the constitution: The Constitution should be amended to enable simultaneous elections in two steps. In the first step, simultaneous elections will be held to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. For this, no ratification by the states will be required for the constitutional amendment. In the second step, elections to municipalities and the panchayats will be synchronized with elections to Lok Sabha and state Assemblies in such a way that local body elections are held within 100 days of the elections to Lok Sabha and state Assemblies. This will require ratification by not less than one-half of the states.

Single electoral roll and election id: For the purpose of preparation of single electoral roll and electoral photo identity cards for use in elections to all the three tiers of government, the Constitution should be amended, so that the Election Commission of India can prepare a single electoral roll and election ID in consultation with the State Election Commissions. These amendments will require ratification by not less than one-half of the states.

Read also: Election Commission of India

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