Compelling idea – The Feasibility of ‘One Nation, One Election’ in India | 2 September 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about the feasibility of 'One Nation, One Election' in India.


  • GS2: Election dynamics; Salient Features of the Representation of People’s Act
  • Prelims


  • The government has formed a committee to assess the feasibility of holding simultaneous elections across the country.
  • The committee, led by former President Ram Nath Kovind, will examine the possibility of conducting parliamentary and state assembly elections simultaneously, popularly known as 'one nation, one election.'
  • This article analyzes the rationale behind this proposal, its potential benefits, and the challenges it faces.


  • Benefits of 'One Nation, One Election':
    • The costs incurred by the Election Commission of India in conducting polls multiple times a year are staggering.
    • Conducting the 2019 general elections alone cost the exchequer Rs 10,000-12,000 crore, as per an estimate by the Centre for Media Studies, Delhi, vis-a-vis Rs 3,426 crore in 2014.
    • Simultaneous polls would substantially cut the operational, logistical, administrative, and other costs. This will also bring down the election spending of political parties that are often instrumental in helping candidates breach the cap on poll expenditure.
    • The domino effect of this on black money is easy to imagine. It will also likely overcome the problem of voter fatigue and make voter turnout more meaningful—casting multiple ballots at one go would reduce the cost and time expenses of the voter in exercising her electoral rights for choosing representatives across levels of the legislature.
  • Challenges of 'One Nation, One Election':
    • Simultaneous elections will need an amendment of the Constitution, since fixing a starting date would automatically mean that the terms of state and UT assemblies either need to be extended or shortened.
    • It will also need amendments to the Representation of the Peoples Act 1951 and the Rules of Procedure of the Lok Sabha and the state Assemblies.
    • Then, it will need to be ratified by at least 50% of the state/UT Assemblies, as the Law Commission of India recommended in its 2018 report on the feasibility of simultaneous elections.
    • The impact on decentralization and federalism—the focus of the opposition to the idea—need to be examined more thoroughly. There is a need to ensure that local issues don’t get sidelined by the dominance of the narrative at the national level.
    • The process also needs to uphold the strength of India’s representative democracy.

Way Forward:

  • The path to 'one nation, one election' is quite challenging. The government must not rush into it and hold extensive discussions with stakeholders before taking such a crucial decision. While the idea has its merits, it is essential to ensure that it does not undermine the principles of federalism and representative democracy that India's Constitution upholds.

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