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Election Commission’s cVIGIL app big hit with citizens, over 79,000 election code violations reported by users so far, 99% of cases disposed

ECI said that over 99% complaints lodged through cVIGIL app have been resolved and close to 89% of these complaints have been resolved within 100 minutes.

The cVIGIL app of the Election Commission of India, a mobile app that allows citizens to report violations of Model Code of Conduct and Expenditure limits has become a hit with the users. As a result, the app has become an effective tool in the hands of people to flag election code violations. Since the announcement of General Elections 2024, over 79,000 complaints have been received as of today, 29th March, as per a press release by the Election Commission.

The ECI added that over 99% of complaints have been resolved and close to 89% of these complaints have been resolved within 100 minutes. Speed and transparency are the cornerstones of cVIGIL app, the poll body said. ‘cVIGIL’ stands for Vigilant Citizen and emphasizes the proactive and responsible role citizens can play in the conduct of free and fair elections.

More than 58,500 complaints (73% of the total) received are against illegal hoardings and banners. More than 1400 complaints received pertain to money, gifts and liquor distribution. Close to 3% of the complaints totalling 2454 pertain to the defacement of property. Out of the 535 complaints received for display of firearms and intimidation, 529 have already been resolved. 1000 complaints were reported for campaigning beyond the prohibited period, including against the use of speakers beyond the permitted time.

cVIGIL app marks a significant leap forward in electoral oversight and reducing campaign clutter, by allowing citizens to register complaints about violations. It is notable that in the press conference for the announcement of the General Elections 2024, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar had urged citizens to be vigilant and use the app to report model code of conduct violations and distribution of any kind of inducements to voters.

cVigil is a user-friendly and easy-to-operate application, that connects vigilant citizens with the District Control Room, Returning Officer and Field Unit (Flying Squads) or Static Surveillance Teams. By using this app, the citizens can immediately report incidents of political misconduct within minutes and without having to rush to the office of the returning officer. As soon as the complaint is sent on the cVigil app, the complainant receives a unique ID, through which the person will be able to track the complaint on their mobile. This creates a rapid and accurate reporting, action and monitoring system.

A trinity of factors working simultaneously makes cVIGIL a success. To report violence, users capture audio, photo or video in real time through the app. After that, a “100-minute” countdown is started to ensure a time-bound response to the complaint. The app automatically enables a geo-tagging feature as soon as the user switches on their camera in the cVIGIL to report a violation. This means that flying squads get the precise location of a reported violation, and the image captured by citizens could be used as evidence in a court of law. Citizens can also report complaints anonymously.

Notably, the app only allows Live Photo / Video with auto location capture from within the app to ensure digital evidence. cVIGIL app can be installed on Android or iOS smartphones, and it requires a phone with camera, good internet access and GPS access.

Here is how the cVIGIL app can be used:

To record an active violation of model code of conduct or other such violence, the user needs to take a photo or a 2-minute video using the app. The Photo / Video is uploaded on the app, along with an automated location mapping by the Geographic Information System. After its successful submission, the citizen gets a Unique ID to track and receive follow-up updates about the complaint on his mobile. A citizen can report many incidents in this manner, and an ID is received for each complaint filed.

Complaints can be filed anonymously also, and the mobile number and other profile details are not sent to the system in such cases. However, in anonymous complaints, the user will not be able to get updates about the complaint, as the system does not store the number to send the update messages. The citizen can still get updates for anonymous complaints from the returning officer.

After a complaint is filed in the app, the District Control Room gets an alert and it is immediately assigned to the concerned field unit. A field unit consists of Flying Squads, Static Surveillance Teams, Reserve teams etc. Each Field Unit has a GIS-based mobile application called ‘cVIGIL Investigator’, which allows the field unit to directly reach the location by following the GIS information sent with the complaint wit the help of navigation technology. The Unit accordingly takes necessary action after reaching the site.

After an appropriate action is taken, the field unit sends a field report online though the cVIGIL Investigator app to the concerned returning officer for decision and disposal. If the incident is found correct, the information is sent to the National Grievance Portal of the Election Commission of India for further action and the vigilant citizen is informed about the status within 100 minutes.

The app is one amongst the armoury of Apps built by the Commission to leverage technology and facilitate voters and political parties. It has several features to prevent its misuse. The app is usable only within geographical boundary of States where elections are being held. Only photos or videos captured in real time through the app can be uploaded, and the cVIGIL app does not allow uploading of the pre-recorded images or videos from the device. Similarly, the app does not allow saving images and videos captured through it into the device storage, they are directly uploaded.

The cVIGIL user gets only 5 minutes to report an incidence after having clicked a picture or a video using the app. To prevent misuse of the system and to avoid repetitive complaints from the same spot, the system forces time delay of 5 minutes between successive complaints by the same person.

District Controller has the option of dropping duplicate, frivolous and unrelated cases even before the cases are assigned to the field unit. The app can be used only to register complaints related to model code of conduct violations. If complaints related to personal grievances are lodged, those are dropped by the District Controller.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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