The Chief Electoral Office (CEO) of Telangana State is mulling issuing voter ID cards and voter slips in Braille to facilitate visually impaired persons to vote and ensure increase in their voting percentage.

According to the Disabled Welfare Department officials, there are about 56,000 visually-impaired voters in the State and taking advantage of the special enrolment drive, a few more eligible voters have submitted their applications for enrolment and today the number of differently-abled voters has reached 4.16 lakh in the State. Chief Electoral Officer Dr Rajat Kumar said, “We have been working on improving voting percentage among the differently-abled sections as most of them were reluctant to cast their vote due to various reasons,” he said, adding that special arrangements were also being made for disabled persons at the polling booths.

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Commissioner for Disabled Welfare B Sailaja told to #KhabarLive that they had procured a special machine for the printing of Braille material and it will be useful for printing of voter slips and voter ID cards for the visually impared. “We are ready to print Braille language voter slips and voter ID cards; we have procured special printing machine from Germany,” she said. Sailaja also said EVMs will also have Braille to facilitate visually impaired voters exercise their franchise which will help a lot to increase their voting percentage.

She said the CEO was also making several other arrangements for the differently-abled persons to exercise their franchise. The Commissioner said EVMs will be kept at the height of wheel chair, which will be kept inside the polling both. There is also a plan to provide escort to differently-abled persons on polling day, including arranging special queues for them from the ensuing Assembly elections,” the Commissioner for Disable Welfare said.

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On enrolment drive, the CEO said 19.5 lakh new voters had submitted applications of which 1.5 lakh were rejected for not following due procedures. He said the Election Commission of India (ECI) had appointed an Additional Director General to Telangana State to oversee the law and order situation. He said additional EVMs were also kept ready for emergency requirement, which will cater to the needs of another 100 polling booths, if necessary,” Rajat Kumar said, adding that ERO Net speed was updated and was functioning well.

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He also said that there was a conducive atmosphere prevailing currently in the State for the conduct of Assembly elections, compared to other States and all arrangements were in place and testing of EVM machines was also being undertaken in all the districts.

The CEO further clarified that the model code of conduct was not applicable for old schemes and programmes. Clarifying on a question, he said the model code was not applicable to Rythu Bandhu — the financial assistance scheme for farmers and the Bathukamma saree scheme for women. These schemes, which were already launched and under implementation, would not attract the model code of conduct. #KhabarLive