A beautiful aspect of Indian democracy lies within its intricate system and vastness, where voices of every creed, color, and culture resonate, where every vote carries significance, shaping the destiny of India. Central to this democratic ethos is the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) developed by The Election Commission, that outlines a framework to conduct free and fair elections, ensuring a level playing field for all candidates. Model Code of Conduct prohibits practices such as misuse of Government resources, overspending, bribery, intimidation, hate speech, and misuse of government resources for electoral gains. In the face of challenges regarding pinpointing breaches of Model Code of Conduct, cVIGIL emerges as a solution. Introduced by the Election Commission of India, cVIGIL streamlines the reporting process, ensuring swift action against code violations.

 Challenges of Model Code of Conduct:

Despite the robust framework provided by the Model Code of Conduct, enforcing its provisions poses significant challenges. One of the most pressing issues has been the lack of a fast and efficient mechanism to transmit and track complaints regarding Model Code of Conduct violations. Delayed reporting often allows perpetrators to evade detection by election enforcement authorities, undermining the effectiveness of Model Code of Conduct enforcement. Moreover, the absence of concrete evidence, such as pictures or videos, has hindered the veracity of complaints and impeded timely action against violators.

 The Origin of cVIGIL:

In response to these challenges, the Election Commission of India launched the cVIGIL app, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at revolutionizing the reporting and redressal of Model Code of Conduct violations. cVIGIL, an acronym for Vigilant Citizen, empowers citizens to proactively report instances of political misconduct and expenditure violations during elections. It leverages the power of smartphones, technological innovation to create a rapid and accurate reporting system, bridging the gap between vigilant citizens and election enforcement authorities.

 How to Report Using cVIGIL:

The cVIGIL app operates on a simple yet effective model, enabling citizens to report incidents of Model Code of Conduct violations within minutes of witnessing them. Here are the steps as drafted by The Election Commission of India.

Step 1- A citizen can use the cVIGIL app to take a picture or record a 2-minute video of an incident. The app automatically maps the location using the Geographic Information System when the photo or video is uploaded. After submission, the citizen receives a unique ID on their mobile to track the complaint’s progress. The citizen can report multiple incidents and will receive a unique ID for each report. The app allows users to file complaints anonymously, keeping their mobile number and profile details private.

Step 2- After the citizen reports a complaint, it goes to the District Control Room, where it’s assigned to a Field Unit. This unit includes Flying Squads, Static Surveillance Teams, Reserve teams, etc. Each Field Unit uses a mobile app called ‘cVIGIL Investigator,’ which is based on Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. This app helps the unit locate the incident directly using GIS cues and navigation, allowing them to take necessary action.

Step 3- After a Field Unit addresses the complaint, they send a field report online through the Investigator App to the relevant returning officer for review. If the incident is confirmed, the information is forwarded to the National Grievance Portal of the Election Commission of India for further action.

 Ensuring Accountability and Preventing Misuse:

To prevent misuse and ensure accountability, the cVIGIL app incorporates several built-in features and safeguards. It restricts the usage of the app to the geographical boundaries of states where elections are being held, preventing frivolous complaints from outside jurisdictions. Additionally, the app imposes a time delay between successive complaints by the same individual, preventing repetitive reporting of the same incident. District controllers have the authority to drop duplicate or unrelated cases, further streamlining the complaint redressal process and optimizing resource allocation.

In conclusion, The cVIGIL app represents a transformative leap in Model Code of Conduct enforcement, empowering citizens to actively participate in safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process. By leveraging technology and citizen engagement, the app creates a transparent and accountable ecosystem where electoral violations are swiftly identified and addressed. As India continues its journey as the world’s largest democracy, initiatives like cVIGIL reaffirm the nation’s commitment to upholding the principles of democracy, transparency, and ethical governance. Download the app from PlayStore or App store, to take part in shaping the destiny of the nation!