India is a land of travesties and dichotomies and those reflect in one too many aspects here. Elections are one of them. As the country boasts of the second largest mobile population in the world and the highest data consumption, there are political parties who want you to go back to ballot boxes. Electronic voting machines are damned. And then comes Neeraj Gutgutia of Right2Vote who would like all voting, everywhere and anywhere, to be done through mobiles.
“Our platform has many advanced features like a secret ballot, geo-tagging, geo-fencing, Aadhaar based bio-metric and mobile OTP (one-time password) verification, single transferable voting, real-time result counting, etc. We have filed for seven patents till date,” Gutgutia says, boasting of holding unique patents that can provide audit trail along with secret ballot due to smart use of Aadhaar and encryption technology.
Gutgutia, as founder and chief executive officer of the two-year-old mobile voting platform, has already displayed its robustness at more than one forum now -- be it student elections at his alma mater -- the Indian Institute of Management at Indore -- or the management body elections at Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He is a CA too in a family of chartered accountants -- both his father and younger brother are CAs.
“The management of the IIM Indore student election was very easy and totally paperless. Our team managed it sitting in Mumbai. Everything was automatic from verification to counting and the whole election was wrapped up between 9 pm and midnight,” he says, proudly adding, “Not a single complaint was received of any kind of wrong practice or inconvenience.”
He believes his solution is even more suited to a country like India where a significant population has access to a mobile but where many find it hard to step out to vote due to caste, gender, religious and social reasons.
“The voting percentage increases substantially as many people like non-resident Indians, soldiers, migrants and the lazy ones are also able to participate. There is saving of minimum 90 percent in cost, time and effort and at the same time, security is 10 times more due to Aadhar and encryption,” he says.
His company is talking to various corporates and political parties to provide them feedback through opinion polls that his mobile platform can provide. Gutgutia also hopes to do pilot runs for state election commissions in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. A similar hope burns for a mandate from the Election Commission of India. He is engaged in talks with it too.In a country where elections, like festivals, never seem to cease, at times even becoming do-or-die battles, imagine being able to cast your vote from your mobile. After all, you find it hard to put it down anyway. Let the dance of democracy take one more step.