Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla has said that the process of issuing voter identity cards to 76 crore people is likely to be completed by the end of 2011.

Inaugurating a photo exhibition titled ‘India and Elections' to mark the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Election Commission of India, at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath here on Tuesday, he said various steps were being taken to ensure that the election machinery was voter-friendly.

Already 58 crore voters had been issued identity cards, he said. Acknowledging that there were frequent complaints of names missing from the electoral rolls, he said election officials often faced apathy from voters in urban areas. “Urban voters do not bother to register their names or check whether their names are on the list in advance, and often come up with complaints on polling day,” Mr. Chawla said, adding that measures were being taken to rectify mistakes. He said urban voters were also not bothered about getting voter identity cards, while on the other hand, rural voters took active interest in getting their names included.

‘Matter of pride'

On the successful functioning of the Election Commission for 60 years, he said it was a matter of pride that the commission had been conducting elections smoothly in the largest democracy in the world. He said booth-level committees comprising returning officers and representatives of different political parties would be constituted shortly. These committees would be entrusted with the responsibility of ascertaining whether people in their respective jurisdictions had registered as voters. Later, Mr. Chawla chaired a conference of chief electoral officers from south Indian States. The meet is on for two days.