The Role of Government Employees In Lok Sabha Elections
We don’t have to be the ones to tell you what an important role Government employees play on the day of polling.
One of the reasons for this importance is the practice of selecting only the state and Central Government employees for election duties, especially in the case of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections that are going to be held in multiple phases. One can say that it is impossible to hold elections without the assistance of state and Central Government employees. So crucial is their contribution.
They are involved in election duties for months, either directly or indirectly. The crowning moment of these efforts are during the polling day when thousands of government employees are appointed at all the polling booths, on an average of at least 3 per booth.
It might look like an easy task to handle in metropolitan cities and smaller towns. It is not easy to carry out these tasks in remote villages or mountainous polling booths that are almost isolated from the rest of the civilisation. More dangerous are the constituencies and areas that have been deemed sensitive and hypersensitive. In such areas, polling is held under tight security. From morning until evening, these officers have to sit at the polling stations with a heavy blanket of security. At the end of the polling, the voting machines are taken away under high security, but the officials who had manned the booth are left to fend for themselves and find their way back home. The ordeals they face are nightmarish.
According to the Government Order, if an employee deployed for poll duties fails to turn up on the polling day, then severe action would be taken against him/her.
In the past, a number of requests have been made to the Government to increase the honorarium paid to the employees on poll duties. Finally, it looks as if the Election Commission has heard the requests. According to information available, the Presiding Officer will be paid Rs. 1600, and the Polling Officer shall get an honorarium of Rs. 1150. The money shall be deposited directly in their bank accounts.