Addressing the Nodal Officers from 44 Ministries, Government of India, and representatives from Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) at Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra, New Delhi the Commission exhorted them to immediately set up VAFs and facilitate enrolment of all employees and officials on the electoral roll.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that the founding fathers of the Constitution had an instinctive faith in the citizenry of our country and therefore gifted Universal Adult Franchise to the Indian populace while other democracies took years before extending this right to all its citizens. “It is therefore our collective responsibility to value and preserve this right and in this endeavour Voter Awareness Forums have a crucial role to play” Arora said. He asked the Nodal Officers to commit themselves to the aims of the VAFs which is to promote informed and ethical electoral participation, beginning from the first step ie voter registration.
Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa said thousands of unnamed and faceless Government officials undertake the task of preserving the electoral process, in different capacities and roles. Hailing the Officers as “Ambassadors of Democracy”, Lavasa said that as Nodal Officers, now they are invested with the additional responsibility of educating colleagues and staff in their work place and ensuring that all the members of their Ministry and Departments are familiar with the electoral procedure right from enrolment to the casting of the vote.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner, briefed all present about the ‘Voter Verification and Information’ drive that the Commission is taking up and asked VAF to facilitate members to check their names and details on Electoral Roll through online NVSP portal of ECI and the Voter Helpline No 1950.
The half-day briefing was conducted to familarise the Officers from various Ministries and Federations with the concept of Voter Awareness Forum and to brief them about their role as Nodal Officers of the VAFs. Similar briefing sessions are being held across the country by the Chief Electoral Officers and District Election Officers across the country where nodal officers of Departments, Non-Govt Departments, CSOs, Corporate and Media Houses in the State and District were briefed respectively.
VAF is part of the Electoral Literacy Club programme of ECI. Launched on the 8th National Voters Day, 25th January 2018, the ELC programme envisages setting up of Electoral Literacy Club in every educational institution and Chunav Pathshala at every booth to cover those outside the formal education system. Around 2.11 Lakh ELCs have already been established across the country in the first year of the launch of the programme.
NewsUpdate|23Jan19| Election Commission of India to host International Conference on ‘Making Our Elections Inclusive and Accessible’
In consonance with the 9th National Voters’ Day to be held on 25th January 2019, Election Commission of India (ECI) is going to host an International Conference on ‘Making Our Elections Inclusive and Accessible’ on 24th January 2019. Besides Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, Heads and dignitaries from six Election Management Bodies (EMBs) viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Russia & Sri Lanka and three International Organisations viz. Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre, U.K and International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and International Centre for parliamentary Studies (ICPS) will participate in the event.
There will be two sessions during the Conference where representatives from the EMBs and International Organisations will participate and share their experiences, best practices and initiatives aimed at electoral engagement, enrolment and active participation in inclusive and accessible voting exercise in various countries.
During the Conference the January 2019 issue of ECI’s quarterly magazine “Voice International” will be released which will carry articles on the theme of “Making polling stations accessible and voter friendly”. On the sidelines of the Conference, ECI will also renew Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the field of election management with the Election Commission of Bhutan.
Election Commission of India has, so far, signed MOUs with twenty-five Election Management Bodies and International Organizations viz. with Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Fiji, Georgia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Libya, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, South Africa, Suriname, Yemen and United Nations, Intl. IDEA & International Foundation for Electoral Systems .
The International Conference is being organised with the purpose of sharing the experience of different EMB’s, International Institutions and Experts with regard to analysis of barriers, policy interventions, strategies, programmes, good practices and technological innovation for inclusive and accessible election. The international delegates will also attend the National Voters’ Day Celebrations in New Delhi besides visiting the new campus of the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) at Dwarka, New Delhi on 25th January 2019.