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Policy Watch No. 18

Citizens and the State: Policing, Impunity, and the Rule of Law in India

In every nation, the police are a prominent representation of the state, backed by a profound constitutional and criminal justice architecture. The rule of law, a cornerstone of robust democracies, binds the triad of voters, elected representatives, and the state through legal frameworks. Beyond the fundamental question of for whom laws are drafted lies the critical role of law enforcement officers – the police machinery, and officers of the court – the judiciary. In this Policy Watch, Eklavya Vasudev, a legal scholar at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and Thomas Blom Hansen, Professor and Department Chair of Anthropology at Stanford University, U.S., take a deep look at the dynamics between the citizens and the state in the context of the criminal justice system. Amidst recent reforms by the Union Government, the authors critique the unchanged, historically rooted design of the criminal justice system, which endows the police with extensive powers often disadvantageous to vulnerable groups. The suggested remedy lies in reshaping the police into a community-sensitive force, steadfast in upholding the rule of law.Keywords: India’s penal laws, IPC, CrPC, Judiciary, Police, Criminal justice system. Click here to download Policy Watch No.18 [PDF 737 KB]
Related Resources1. ARC Working Group Report on Police Administration, 1967.
(Convenor: S. Balakrishna Shetty, IP)2. National Police Commission Reports (1979-1981)3. India’s Criminal Laws4. The Police Act, 1861 and Model Police Act, 20065. Malimath Committee Report - 2003 6. Mooshahary Committee Report - 2005

Related Articles from The Hindu GroupThe Hindu1. Bhaumik, A. 2023. Revised criminal law bills: Key changes explained, The Hindu, Dec. 18.2. Bajpai, G.S. 2023. New Bills and a principled course for criminal law reforms, The Hindu, Aug. 17.3. Vij, R.K. 2023. An overhaul, the criminal law Bills, and the big picture, The Hindu, Sep. 09.Frontline4. Chandru, K. 2023. The Centre’s controversial makeover of crucial criminal codes can have far-reaching impacts, Frontline, Sep. 01.The Hindu BusinessLine5. Editorial, 2022. New criminal laws could have been conceived with more rigour, The Hindu BusinessLine, Sep. 01. 

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Policy Watch No. 17

Fending for Themselves – Adivasis, Forest Dwelling Communities and the Devastating Second Wave of COVID-19

India recognises 104 million of its over 1.2 billion population as Scheduled Tribes. As with the rest of the world, a majority of India’s Scheduled Tribes, who comprise the second largest indigenous peoples of the world, are among the poorest of the poor, live in social exclusion, and are often the last touched by the state’s welfare tools.

The visitation of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic since December 31, 2019, further exacerbated the historical exclusion that Adivasis and other forest dwelling communities faced at the hands of governments and the state. As with Indigenous peoples elsewhere, India’s counterparts, the Scheduled Tribes, have remained on the margins through the pandemic.

Related articles from The Hindu Centre1. Shankar, G and Kumari, R. 2020. The Migrant Economy During the Pandemic: An Exploratory Study in Baisi Block, Bihar, December 31. more... A novel virus, one that had not affected humankind until then, meant developing information and awareness about COVID-19 and studies ascertain that there is a negative direct correlation with spread of awareness and epidemic outbreaks. This Policy Watch by Sushmita, an award-winning journalist and researcher, and Suraj Harsha, an independent researcher and teacher, highlights the lack of communication by the state and unchallenged misinformation regarding the virus with respect to Adivasis and other forest dwelling communities. What makes it worse is that the areas where a substantial population of forest dwelling people live are also geographically remote. This Policy Watch looks into the structural issues such as the withering away of land rights, lack of literacy, failure of government schemes, and other deeper malaises that aggravate the crisis created by the pandemic.

Against this backdrop, this Policy Watch brings out the manner in which the Indian state managed the pandemic like a ‘disaster’ and elaborates on the response of Forest Dwelling population in 19 districts across 10 States to the pandemic. It is based on interviews conducted with primary sources that worked with the tribal populations and members of the communities affected by the pandemic, as well as secondary sources such as civil society and media reports, Lok Sabha responses, media articles, and government notifications. It reveals how chronic structural, legal, technological, and socio-economic inadequacies came in the way of the delivery of COVID-19 related healthcare services to these communities.

Related articles from The Hindu GroupThe Hindu1. Pai, M. and Menon, P. 2021. Learning from the best in India’s COVID-19 fight, The Hindu, November 15.2. Yadav, S. 2020. Coronavirus lockdown | Pandemic adds to the penury of tribal migrants in Madhya Pradesh, The Hindu, May 11.Frontline3. Bhakto, A. 2022. Tribals at the receiving end in Madhya Pradesh, Frontline, July 24.4. Thomas, J., et al. 2021. Vulnerable groups caught between two worlds amid lockdowns, Frontline, August 18.The Hindu BusinessLine5. Gokhale, N. 2020. A virus in the woods, The Hindu BusinessLine, May 8. In this context, this Policy Watch also provides a status of the continuing marginalisation of India’s most vulnerable population, who are behind the curve in human development indicators and the manner in which they fended for themselves when they were hard-hit during the second wave of the pandemic.

Remedying long-standing issues such as upholding their rights that exist only in the statute book, bridging shortfalls in healthcare provisioning, recognising traditional knowledge systems, and above all, taking political and policy cognisance of the unique conditions that surround India’s Scheduled Tribes, are required to redirect India’s Scheduled Tribe populations towards the long road to “development”.

Keywords: Scheduled Tribes and COVID-19, Adivasis, Forest Dwelling Communities, Scheduled Areas, Forest Rights Act, Nomadic communities, Indigenous peoples, Health, land rights, traditional knowledge, ASHA workers, vaccines, pandemic, disease.

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Policy Watch No. 16

Credible Data for the Public Good: Constraints, Challenges, and the Way Ahead [HTML and PDF]

Bits and bytes of information propel today’s knowledge society. This Data Revolution is as transformational as it is multi-dimensional. India, however, remains a laggard and is yet to harness the full potential of data for the public good. In this Policy Watch, P. C. Mohanan, former Acting Chairman, National Statistical Commission (NSC), takes the reader through the data collection, analysis, and dissemination process in India. In particular, he points out the deficiencies in the institutional, implementational, and procedural elements of the country’s official statistics machinery. For a country endowed with a multiplicity of resources that are matched by the problems that confront it, the scientific use of data to address peoples’ issues has often been subverted for either political reasons or because of the inability of the structures that are in place to deliver timely and credible data for decision-makers.As the rest of the world races ahead by adapting newer technologies and creating independent bodies that ensure credibility of data, India appears to not only stagnate but regress as well. The way out, Mohanan says, is to harness the available technologies in a meaningful manner, improve statistical literacy, and insulate the statistical system from political vested interests.Also by the AuthorIssue Brief No. 13: Statistical Literacy – A Vital Ingredient for an Informed Indian Citizenry. HTML Version [PDF 549 KB]

Policy Watch No.15

Policy Shortfalls Leave India’s Elderly to Fend for Themselves

One of independent India’s successes, improving life expectancy at birth from about 30 years in the 1950s to the 70s in the 2000s, has also exposed a major flaw in the country’s policymaking process: an abject neglect of state support for the elderly. Barring a few token measures, India’s elders languish in the blind spot of its policymakers. A mix of factors are at play. For all practical purposes, the country’s public healthcare facilities do not inspire the confidence of the people despite experienced professionals and the nearly free services that they deliver. At the other end of this spectrum of healthcare providers are expensive privately run hospitals that can push patients and their families into poverty. Societal changes, including the rising number of nuclear families, smaller family sizes, and migration for employment by the economically active population, have also had their effect on the provision of care for the elderly. In this Policy Watch, Tulika Tripathi, Economist, Centre for Studies in Economics and Planning, Central University of Gujarat , analyses the causes behind the neglect of the elderly by the state. Drawing from studies in Gujarat and other parts of India, she proposes that India’s public policy should be designed to cater to multiple levels, including correcting the rural-urban biases in health infrastructure, creating elderly friendly facilities, and providing support for caregivers. HTML version [PDF 602 KB]

Policy Watch No.14

The Supreme Court of India's Vision for e-Courts: The Need to Retain Justice as a Public Service

Disruptions, at times, become catalysts for initiating change. Although India’s journey to create digital infrastructure to deliver justice commenced before the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic hastened the pace of the country’s judicial system going online. In this Policy Watch, legal researchers, Siddharth Peter de Souza , Varsha Aithala and Srishti John , discuss some fundamental issues that emerge from India’s plans to move towards e-Courts. This digitalised mode of delivering justice enabled courts to function with some capacity during the multiple lockdowns in India since March 2020. While the authors recognise the value of e-Courts, they argue that unless the digitalisation efforts factor in considerations of equity and inclusion for users, the outcomes would remain hollow and divorced from India’s socio-political reality. The Supreme Court of India recently placed a draft of its Vision Document for e-Courts for public discussion until May 31, 2021. Drawing from this document, the authors critically evaluate India’s approach towards electronic dispensation of justice, highlight conceptual issues relating to delivery of justice as a service that need to be addressed. They call for a fundamental rethink of the vision for e-Courts to ensure that the delivery of justice remains in the domain of public service. The aim of this Policy Watch is to highlight the implications of widening the range of players involved in the process of justice delivery by commodifying it without adequate scrutiny or accountability. Understanding these implications is important to bring about corrective action that will ensure that the administration of justice remains equally accessible and accountable to all. HTML version Related Resources : 1. Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India. 2015 . Evaluation Study of eCourts Integrated Mission Mode Project , National Council of Applied Economic Research. []. 2. e-Committee, Supreme Court of India . Rules on Live-Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings . []. Related Articles Published in The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy: 1. Priya, R. et al., 2022. COVID-19: Urban Middle Class Survey Highlights Need for People’s Agency in Policy Making, February 18. 2. Subramanian, S. 2021. Pandemic-induced Poverty in India after the First Wave of COVID-19: An Elaboration of Two Earlier Estimates, August 19. 3. Shankar, G and Kiumari, R. 2020. The Migrant Economy During the Pandemic: An Exploratory Study in Baisi Block, Bihar, December 10. 4. Jacob, N. 2020. Sewage Testing as a Pandemic Monitoring Tool, September 10. [PDF 474 KB]

Policy Watch No.13

The Migrant Economy During the Pandemic: An Exploratory Study in Baisi Block, Bihar

Migration from India’s villages is linked to poverty, the lack of livelihood opportunities and, in some States, feudal structures that dominate rural societies. COVID-19 and the lockdown implemented on March 24, 2020, to contain the spread of the pandemic resulted in traumatic conditions for migrant workers stranded across India. Bihar is second only to Uttar Pradesh in the number of out-migrants. In this Policy Watch, Girija Shankar and Rakhi Kumari discuss the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown in Baisi, a block (sub-district) in Bihar, from where workers move to 17 States and Nepal as short-term migrants. In an exploratory study conducted in April 2020, they find that the lockdown resulted in drastic changes in villages: the rural economy was disrupted, spending priorities had changed, and savings and investments fell. Interventions by the Union and State governments appeared to have a minimal effect on boosting demand and providing sustainable income support opportunities. Click to read this Policy Watch (HTML) Related Articles Published in The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy: 1. Priya, R. et al., 2022. COVID-19: Urban Middle Class Survey Highlights Need for People’s Agency in Policy Making, February 18. 2. Subramanian, S. 2021. Pandemic-induced Poverty in India after the First Wave of COVID-19: An Elaboration of Two Earlier Estimates, August 19. 3. Souza, P. D. S., et al., 2021. The Supreme Court of India’s Vision for e-Courts: The Need to Retain Justice as a Public Service, July 10. 4. Jacob, N. 2020. Sewage Testing as a Pandemic Monitoring Tool, September 10. [PDF 634 KB]

Policy Watch No.12

COVID-19: Crisis-hit Rural India Needs Effective Farm Policy Implementation

India’s farm sector, which is still the country’s largest employment provider, suffered heavy losses in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector, which is socio-economically both diverse and complex, has always faced institutional constraints ranging from debt-dependency to exploitative marketing intermediaries and left the Indian farmer vulnerable to both monsoon and markets. When COVID-19 struck, the Government of India was quick to exempt agriculture from the restrictive lockdown. It also announced sector-specific relief packages and promulgated three ordinances to reform the agricultural sector. In this Policy Watch, Sangeeta Shroff, Professor, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune , writes on the impact of COVID-19 on the farm sector, specifically horticulture and floriculture, which were directly affected as the lockdown coincided with their harvest season. Issues that have long-afflicted the Indian agricultural sector—transport bottlenecks, inadequate storage and cold chain facilities, poor marketing networks, economies of scale, and the absence of efficient linkage mechanisms, to name a few—aggravated the adverse fallout of the lockdown. She concludes with a discussion of government policies, relief packages for farmers during COVID-19 and the possible trajectory of these reforms. Shroff advocates the use of technology as a game changer for Indian agriculture. She concludes on a note that the real answer, however, lies in strengthening rural infrastructure in the form of roads, electricity, schools, sanitation, healthcare, and telecommunications to generate employment, prevent distress migration and ensure that the benefits of growth are not concentrated only in urban centres but are also reaped by rural India. Click to read this Policy Watch (HTML) Click here for PDF [476 KB] . Related Resource COVID-19: Press Releases and Updates by the Government of India and WHO [HTML and PDF]. Source: Press Information Bureau, Government of India. Related Articles Chaturvedi, S. 2020. Pandemic Exposes Weaknesses in India’s Disaster Management Responses, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, September 3. Mudliar, P. 2020. A Reality Check on India’s Search for Digital Utopia, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, August 28. Ebenezer, R. 2020. Ensuring Zero Tolerance for all Forms of Forced Labour, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, July 14. Ngullie, O. G. and Ansari, A. A. 2020 . India’s Public Distribution System and the Pandemic – Revisiting Delhi’s Beneficiaries, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, June 26. Vijay, G. and Gudavarthy, A. 2020. A Pandemic as a Political Reality Check , The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, April 15. [PDF 476 KB]

Policy Watch No.11

India’s Public Distribution System and the Pandemic – Revisiting Delhi’s Beneficiaries

Never since the founding of the Indian republic have so many millions depended directly on India’s government machineries for sustenance. One reality that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven home is that the welfare state cannot be replaced and needs to be strengthened. In addition to market failures, the inability of markets to operate under extraordinary circumstances – such as the ongoing pandemic – places the onus on governments to emerge as providers of the last resort. In this interview-based empirical study, O. Grace Ngullie and Arib Ahmad Ansari, Independent Researchers, revisit beneficiaries who were respondents in a previous study by the first author on the Public Distribution System (PDS) in Delhi. (The names of all respondents have been changed to protect confidentiality.) While the earlier study focussed on the comparative benefits of cash transfers vis-à-vis provisioning of ration, the present exploratory study aims to find out the manner in which the PDS has worked for the poor in times of COVID-19 pandemic. This preliminary inquiry finds that the pre-existing problems with the PDS persist, thereby worsening the woes of the vulnerable who have been promised food security during the pandemic. For instance, there were differences reported in the quantity or rations received and promised, the quality of the food grains, exclusion, and access.The authors suggest a set of policy recommendations addressing each of the problems. The recommendations include utilising modern and emerging technologies to address supply chain issues, the creation of new cadre for monitoring, and upwardly revising the allocation. Click to read this Policy Watch (HTML) [Correction: A typographical error in Endnote 9 [PDF version] was corrected on June 27, 2020, in the HTML version of this Policy Watch The corrected Endnote 9 is:9. Mander, H. et al. 2020. A plan to revive a broken economy, The Hindu, May 14.]. Related Resource: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Press Releases by the Government of India [HTML and PDF]. Source: Press Information Bureau, Government of India. Related Article: Vijay, G. and Gudavarthy, A. 2020. A Pandemic as a Political Reality Check, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, April 15. [PDF 523 KB]

Policy Watch No.10

Revisiting Bogaram: Liberalisation and Caste in an Indian Village

Bogaram, a village in present day Telangana, which is studied in this Policy Watch for the socio-economic impact of liberalisation on a rural community, was initially the subject of the author’s research in 1996. This Policy Watch is based on a revisit made to the same village in Ramannapet Mandal, Nalgonda district, Telangana State after two decades. This Policy Watch documents the structural changes that have taken place in the village in past 21 years. The major empirical observation that emerged from the study is that the dominant caste of the village, i.e. the Padmashalis (or the traditional weavers), which was emerging as socially, economically, and politically dominant in 1996, has declined in terms of economic and social power over the past 21 years, despite the fact that they are still numerically significant caste and hold the reins of political power. The socio-economic decline of the dominant caste of weavers has happened along with the decline of their weaving occupation as a result of the decline of export markets, lack of local markets for finished cloth, and increasing prices for the raw material, and changes in weaving technology. The study concludes that this decline of the Padmashali dominant caste is in consonance with the decline and pauperisation of the entire village economy in the contemporary context of globalisation and liberalisation. Click to read this Policy Watch (HTML) [PDF 732 KB]

Policy Watch No.9

Can the Ten per cent Quota for Economically Weaker Sections Survive Judicial Scrutiny?

The Constitution (103 rd Amendment) Act, 2019 has empowered the state to provide up to 10 per cent reservation in education and public employment for “economically weaker sections” (EWS) of citizens other than the Scheduled Castes (SC), the Scheduled Tribes (ST), and the non-creamy layer of the Other Backward Classes (OBC-NCL). This will be over and above the existing scheme of reservations and increases the total reservations to 59.50 per cent. The fraught legal history of reservations in India shows that from 1951 onwards whenever the Supreme Court gave an adverse ruling on some aspect of reservations in education or public employment, the Parliament responded by amending the Constitution to reverse or overcome the inconvenient judicial pronouncements. The 103 rd Amendment is the latest step in this direction aimed at overcoming the Supreme Court’s rulings that (1) economic backwardness cannot be sole criterion for reservation and (2) the total reservations should not be greater than 50 per cent. Even a Constitutional amendment can be struck down by the Supreme Court if it has the effect of destroying or abrogating the “basic structure” of the Constitution. So, the only possible legal challenge to the validity of the 103 Amendment is a “basic structure challenge”. In this Policy Watch, K. Ashok Vardhan Shetty , retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, traces the constitutional and legislative history of reservations in India, discusses past ‘basic structure’ challenges relating to reservations, highlights the legal infirmities in the 103 rd Amendment, looks at the different scenarios available before the Supreme Court, and analyses if a successful ‘basic structure’ challenge can be made out in this case. All these years, the “50 per cent ceiling” rule was the only thing that had stood in the way of the demands for greater reservation from various pressure groups. Once this Lakshman Rekha is crossed, there is no going back and we may be letting the genie of proportional representation out of the bottle. Click to read this Policy Watch (HTML) [PDF 1.10 MB]

Policy Watch No.8

Fixing Child Malnutrition in India: Views from a Public Policy Practitioner

India is home to the one of the world’s largest flagship programmes for under-6 children, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), which was introduced more than four decades ago on October 2, 1975. Tragically, India continues to languish way down in international rankings on child nutrition indices. Nonetheless, there has been a progressive evolution in policies, advanced at times by judicial interventions. Significant financial resources have also been expended on the ICDS and related programmes. Yet, substantial improvements are yet to be seen, especially in the laggard heartland States of northern and eastern India. In this Policy Watch, Venkatesan Ramani, a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Maharashtra cadre and the first Director-General of the Rajmata Jijau Mother-Child Health and Nutrition Mission, the first such mission to be set up in the country in 2005, analyses why both planning and implementation of programmes impacting child nutrition have been deficient. Data gaps have impeded the framing of sound policy measures, leading to one-off actions to solve the problem rather than a concerted effort to address underlying economic and social causes, especially in pockets of high incidence of child malnutrition in the country. Drawing on his experience in Maharashtra, Ramani suggests measures to help reduce child malnutrition in the coming years. Political will and administrative skills, he writes, are key to such changes and need to be accompanied by adequate funding and activating what, in many States, is a rather moribund ICDS machinery. He can be contacted at [email protected] Click to read this Policy Watch (HTML) [PDF 1.01 MB]

Policy Watch No.7

Winning Voter Confidence: Fixing India’s Faulty VVPAT-based Audit of EVMs

As the world’s largest democracy gears up for a season of elections, including the 2019 General Election, there is an urgent need to examine the integrity of the electoral process. Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are ‘black boxes’ in which it is impossible for voters to verify whether their votes have been recorded correctly, and counting mistakes and frauds are undetectable and unchallengeable. The ‘voter verified paper audit trail’ (VVPAT) is an additional verifiable record of every vote cast that allows for a partial or total recount independent of the EVM’s electronic count. It is a critical safeguard that can help detect counting mistakes and frauds that would otherwise go undetected. The success of the VVPAT audit, however, depends on a proper, statistically acceptable, and administratively viable sample plan. The Election Commission of India (ECI)’s prescription of a uniform sample size of just “one polling station (i.e. one EVM) per Assembly Constituency” for all Assembly Constituencies and all States stirs up an avoidable controversy and diminishes voter confidence. The ECI has not made public as to how it arrived at this sample size, and it has also not clearly specified the population to which this sample size relates. The latter is important because in the event of a defective EVM turning up in the sample, the hand counting of VVPAT slips will have to be done for all the remaining EVMs of the specified population. In this Policy Watch, K. Ashok Vardhan Shetty, a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer , demonstrates that the sample size prescribed by the ECI for VVPAT Audit is a statistical howler that fails to conform to fundamental sampling principles, leading to very high margins of error which are unacceptable in a democracy. By failing to detect outcome-altering miscounts due to EVM malfunction or fraud, it defeats the very purpose of introducing VVPAT. Spending hundreds of crores of rupees on procurement of VVPAT units makes little sense if their utilisation for audit purposes is reduced to an exercise in tokenism. This Policy Watch suggests statistically correct—and administratively viable—sample sizes to eliminate the risk of electoral fraud and infuse public confidence in the electoral process. It suggests ways in which the ECI can set the controversy at rest and make a beginning with the elections for five States whose counting is scheduled for December 11, 2018.  Related Article   Shetty, K.A.V. 2018 . Making Electronic Voting Machines Tamper-proof: Some Administrative and Technical Suggestions , The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, August 30.  Click to read this Policy Watch (HTML) [PDF 1.08 MB]

Policy Watch No.6

Making Electronic Voting Machines Tamper-proof: Some Administrative and Technical Suggestions

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has been consistently claiming that its Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are unique and that tampering is not feasible under real election conditions with its security protocol and administrative safeguards in place. Notwithstanding the ECI’s claims, at various points in time, the entire spectrum of political parties in India [including BJP and Congress] have expressed their reservations about the integrity of its EVMs. There have also been demands to revert to paper ballots. Confidence in the integrity of EVMs is important for voters to trust the outcomes of elections. The ECI cannot allow this confidence to be eroded. It is true that Indian EVMs cannot be hacked because they are not connected to any network and their software is ‘burnt’ into the CPU and cannot be rewritten after manufacture. But what if dishonest insiders and criminals get physical access to the EVMs and replace the EVM’s non-hackable CPU with a look-alike but hackable CPU that can be programmed to count votes dishonestly together with an embedded Bluetooth device that allows it to be remote controlled? All the features and safeguards relied on by the ECI can be easily negated by insider fraud for which there is scope at three stages: (1) at the EVMs manufacturing stage, (2) at the district level, during the long non-election period, when the EVMs are stored in archaic warehouses in multiple locations with inadequate security systems, and (3)at the stage of ‘first level checks’ prior to an election when the EVMs are serviced by authorised technicians from the EVM manufacturers.  The threats are real but luckily, the remedies are simple and effective: (1) use of Authentication Units before the polls to weed out counterfeit/tampered EVMs, and (2) effective use of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system at the time of counting to guard against EVM tampering or malfunction. Both are essential. But the ECI has dragged its feet since 2006 in procuring Authentication Units, and has prescribed a minuscule sample of one EVM per Assembly Constituency for hand-counting of VVPAT slips which is grossly inadequate, statistically unsound, and nearly as bad as not implementing VVPAT at all.  In this Policy Watch, K. Ashok Vardhan Shetty, a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, examines the vulnerabilities of EVMs in the light of the ECI’s claims thereof, the adequacy of its security protocol and administrative safeguards, and the risks due to the perfunctory implementation of VVPAT systems as done in the recent Assembly Elections. He provides several practical administrative and technical suggestions to make Indian EVMs tamper-proof. His interest in this matter is strictly apolitical and nothing more than preserving the integrity of India’s electoral process and enhancing its credibility in the eyes of political parties and voters. Also by the Author: Policy Watch No. 7: Shetty, K.A.V. 2018 . Winning Voter Confidence: Fixing India’s Faulty VVPAT-based Audit of EVMs , The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, November 27. Policy Watch No. 9: Shetty, K.A.V. 2019 . Can the Ten per cent Quota for Economically Weaker Sections Survive Judicial Scrutiny? , The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, March 6.  [PDF 1.19 MB] 

Policy Watch No.5

The ‘One Nation’ Fallacy in a ‘New’ India

The early years of the Indian republic saw an emphasis on nation building, accomplished through a top-down policy paradigm driven by the Centre and fl

Policy Watch No.4

Slow Agricultural Growth and Agrarian Crisis

India’s agricultural growth in the past two decades has been slower than the rest of the economy. This has led to resentment among the rural populatio

Policy Watch No.3

Reservation in Educational Institutions: Who Gains from Abolishing the Common Entrance Test (CET) in Tamil Nadu

At a time when the need for and effectiveness of a Common Entrance Test (CET) to professional colleges is debated across the country, The Hindu Centre

Policy Watch No.2

Net Neutrality and Keeping the Internet Free in India

In February 2016, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released the "Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulati

Policy Watch No.1

Passive Police: Institutional Learning Through Inquiry Commissions

Commissions of inquiry set up by the Indian state in three instances – the anti-Sikh riots (1984), the Mumbai riots (1992-93), and, the post-Godhra ri