The Election Commission set up a core committee headed by its secretary general to study the lessons learnt from the recent assembly polls, identify gaps in enforcement of Covid safety norms at the level of state chief electoral officer and district officials and explore post-poll protection for its field officers including returning officers.

What

  1. Recommendations of the core committee, to be submitted within a month, will help EC chalk out a way forward for future polls and push for further electoral reform, said the poll panel.
  2. The core committee -- which comprises senior EC officials, state CEOs and observers deployed in the poll-gone states – will assess the need for strengthening the legal framework to enable ECI to ensure better compliance of its pandemic guidelines.
  3. Measures for strict enforcement of Covid protocol by the agencies authorised under the respective regulatory/legal regime irrespective of and in addition to ECI guidelines will be discussed.
  4. EC maintains that while it did lay down broad guidelines for Covid safety during polls, enforcing them was primarily the responsibility of the state and district level disaster management machinery.
  5. Importantly, the panel will discuss shortcomings in the existing framework to provide protection to electoral machinery, right down to the returning officer, from possible reprisal after elections.
  6. The core committee shall analyse gaps in the MCC regime; discuss measures to further strengthen expenditure management; review issues related to electoral roll and EPICs; and study gaps in communication strategy, if any.
  7. It will take inputs from state nodal officers of different divisions like police, expenditure, health etc as well as from some DEOs, SPs & ROs about the issues and challenges faced at the grass root levels.