Umesh Sinha committee

Prelims- Polity, Mains-GS2-Governance

a) Recently a committee under Sr. Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha has submitted its report.

b) The committee was tasked to review and suggest modifications in the provisions of the Representation of the People Act 1951, Model Code of Conduct etc.

c) The Committee set up by the Election Commission included the representatives of

i) Ministry of Information & Broadcasting

ii) Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology

iii) Ministry of Law & Justice

iv) Press Council of India

v) News Broadcasters Association

vi) Senior officers of the Commission

Key recommendations

a) Model Code of Conduct (MCC) should be amended to ensure that political parties release their manifesto at least 72 hours before voting ends in the first phase of polls.

b) Provision of ‘Election silence’ be extended to cover print and social media, internet, cable channels and online version of print media.

c) ‘Election silence’ is a guideline inscribed in the section 126 of the RP Act which prohibits any form of poll campaign in the last 48 hours leading up to voting.

d) Social media agencies should be asked to label political advertisements to separate them from other content.

e) They are asked to maintain an account of expenditure incurred by political parties and candidates for advertising on their platforms.

f) Social media platforms should work with the EC to evolve a mechanism by which the latter can flag content violating electoral law and social media sites can take it down as soon as possible.

g) EC should issue directions to private cable TV channels to follow NBSA guidelines for election broadcasts during the poll period.

Possible Impacts

a) Minimizing the possible interference of political activities which aim at indirectly influencing voters.

b) Help to purify the election process in the country.

Source- Indian Express and PIB