Online Webcasting in India through private entities

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Election Commission takes use of technology to a whole new level by live webcasting through private entities

PressReleasePoint - Kolkata, 10th April, 2014: “Have you ever seen live webcasting of polling. Don’t miss it. Must see it now (sic)", reads a status update on the Chief Electoral Officer Uttar Pradesh Facebook page in 2012. Elections in India are considered to be the very backbone of the Indian democracy. With the advent of the World Wide Web, Webcasting has taken elections in India to a whole new level.
The Election Commission of India has been entrusting private entities to conduct webcasting in various states of India in the election to State Legislative Assembly, local body elections and Lok Sabha elections during 2010–11 to 2014-15. On the basis of superior work track record in the previous years with Election Department, Sahaj e-Village Limited, owing to its reach deep down to the very core of rural India, has been entrusted the job to conduct webcasting in the General Elections of 2014 for 800 booths in several districts of Uttar Pradesh and 49 booths in 4 districts of Odisha.
The Commission has, recently, vested Sahaj the task of live webcasting in the selected polling stations of Jharsuguda, Baragarh, Boudh and Koraput districts of Odisha during ensuing General Elections to the Parliament in Odisha on 10th April, 2014. The 2nd round of webcasting for polls is to be conducted again by Sahaj on 17th April 2014.
To ensure an incident-free, free, fair and peaceful polling at the hyper-sensitive polling stations, web cameras were installed at these polling stations and live streaming was transmitted from these stations. Sahaj has partnered with the IT and Home (Election) Departments, Government of Odisha for providing technical assistance during the elections in these four districts of the State. Each of the polling stations housed a laptop and a web camera. It was a real challenge for Sahaj as these districts have a poor IT infrastructure and electricity back up, the basic requirements for webcast. However, owing to its strong infrastructure base and advanced technology in rural India, Sahaj can cover the entire event meticulously.
A link was provided to the designated officials along with user Id and password. They watched the election process live. On being contacted Mr. Sanjay Panigrahi, CEO, Sahaj e-Village Limited said “Webcasting shows the true might of democracy with e-surveillance over the greatest democratic right to vote. It has taken transparency of the poll procedure to a new level. It encourages more adults to exercise their franchise. We are glad that we were selected to assist in this project.” said Mr. Panigrahi.
The webcasting technology enables live feeding of recordings of the inside of booths through internet connection. Live recording of voting procedure can thus directly be loaded and could be seen by officers at the state election office as well as those in Delhi’s Election Commission office.
Webcasting was for the first time done during the Lok Sabha elections of 2009 in Tamil Nadu where live-recording and video streaming was sent to the DEO's office for some polling stations in Chennai, Madurai, Kanyakumari and Sivaganga districts.

rural, webcasting, elections, rural, general elections 2014, Kolkata

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