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Digital time voucher system for political parties

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 Context: 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, during elections.

 

What is the Digital time voucher system?

The digital time vouchers serve as permissions or allocations of specific time slots for political parties to broadcast or telecast their campaign messages on these media platforms. This system streamlines the process, eliminates the need for physical collection, and enhances accessibility and convenience for political parties participating in election campaigns.

 

Significance:

  • This move reflects the ECI’s commitment to leveraging technology for a smoother electoral process.
  • The scheme aims to provide equitable access to electronic media for campaigning, with base time allotted to each national and state party, and additional time based on their poll performance.

 

Rules:

In India, the rules regarding political parties’ access to government-owned electronic media, such as Doordarshan and All India Radio, are governed by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Prasar Bharati Act.

  • Allotment of Airtime: During elections, the ECI mandates that Doordarshan and All India Radio allocate a certain amount of free airtime to recognized political parties for broadcasting their messages.
  • Time Slots: The ECI determines the time slots for political parties based on factors like their previous electoral performance and representation in the legislature. Parties are allocated fixed time slots for their broadcasts.

Other aspects of rules are mandated under the Representation of the People Act, 1951