As specified by the Election Commission of India, Nagaland state is currently undergoing the summary revision exercise of electoral rolls since Oct. 1. The success of the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation campaigns also known as SVEEP campaigns will be tested during this month long special summary revision process. In Nagaland electoral participation in the urban areas may have decreased over the years whereas it is always high in the rural areas. With nearly 75 percent rural population the voter turnout is always high in Nagaland. So except for some pockets in the urban areas, electoral participation is never an issue.
The one major objective of the summary revisions across the country is to include the new voters between the ages of 18 to 21 years. Along with the rest of the country, Nagaland also has a very young population out of which a big number attains the age of voting annually. If one refers to the census 2011 data of Nagaland, in the last six years after the census even after taking into account the death rate the average number of youths attaining 18 years is on a minimum 45000 every year. Similar scenario will continue for the next 10 years unless there is a catastrophe increasing the death rate. Moreover the need to have identity cards like EPIC and Aadhaar only has pushed many to enrol. It is indeed a big challenge for the electoral registration officers and especially those at the ground level, the Booth Level Officers.
However, Nagaland generally has an enthusiastic population many of whom can be termed as fanatics when it comes to the electoral process. In such a situation it is the electoral roll purification that takes the beating. The state has distinct traditional customary practices under special provisions under the constitution of the country. The unique land holding system provides almost every ethnic Naga a right in the community lands. Along with that every Naga inspite of his place of residence have their rights intact in their ancestral village is every aspect. It is akin to a very rudimentary concept of dual citizenship. So it is only natural that one would want to utilise one’s power to vote in both the places. So over the years it has been reported that the number of duplicate entries have increased manifold in Nagaland.
The bottom line is that along with the addition of a big number of new voters the bigger problem in Nagaland will be the process of deletion especially of duplicate voters. It will be a gargantuan task which requires more efficient manpower aided by better technology.