The Election Commission of India (ECI) has accepted the Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) request of sharing the electoral roll data for identifying the targeted age group for the first phase of COVID vaccination drive.
The electoral roll data was sought by the MHA to identify the people who were above the age of 50 in each polling station.
The ECI is now waiting for a response on the specific data required by the ministry and is working on a format of sharing the data maintaining the elector privacy, sources told The Indian Express.
Last year in December, the health ministry shared the guidelines for the vaccination process with the states, which stated that the COVID-19 vaccination drive would be similar to the election process.
Addressing a question on this, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora in December said, "Currently, we do not have any legal authority (to assist in the administration of the vaccine). We are empowered under Article 324 for conducting elections. But having said that, given the experience and expertise we have, if someone reaches out to us for a national cause, we will take a call."
A meeting between the representatives of Election Commission and Health Ministry was held last month after which the request to share voter data came before the commission.
According to the guidelines shared by Health ministry with the states, anyone born on or before January 1, 1971, will fall under the category to be vaccinated on priority.
In the vaccination drive starting from January 16, the vaccines will be given first to healthcare workers, frontline workers and to persons who are above 50 years age and also to the people who are below 50 years of age with comorbidities.
CoWIN is a digital platform developed by Health Ministry on which everyone falling in the category of Phase-1 vaccination process must register themselves to get the vaccine. This app is developed to help the ministry in monitoring the vaccination process.