National awards for excellence, proficiency and innovation in election processes and procedures are conferred on the occasion of National Voters’ Day. These awards have set new benchmarks for efficient conduct of elections in the country. 2017 was the seventh year of the National Awards being presented. The practice was initiated by the Commission in 2011 with an aim to recognize contribution by election machinery, as also Government department/ agency/ Public Sector Undertakings/ Civil Society Organizations and media. These awards have helped develop a core resource base among officers in election management and promoted mutual learning and emulation.
While National awards are presented at the national function at Delhi, State awards are presented at the NVD functions at State Headquarters.
BEST ELECTORAL PRACTICES AWARDS 2016
For ELECTION MANAGEMENT:
SAUMITRA MOHAN, DEO BURDWAN, WEST BENGAL
- Use of modern GPS technology like ‘PASA’ (polling Area Survey App) for prompt identification of vulnerability and critical quotient of polling station area with every detail by a single click
- Queue Information System, to facilitate voters to plan their time of vote after checking the queue with SMS/Website/app; especially for mothers with small children, old and infirm voters.
- Effective complaint management system. 5765 complaints were received on SAMADHAN portal and timely action taken
- Confidence building measures in vulnerable pockets and SVEEP initiatives to inform and motivate people to participate in elections
- 300 all-women polling stations where polling as well as security personnel were women, to mobilise women participation
- The application facilitated district administration in tracking critical polling stations, CBMs and monitoring through smart phone.
- Queue information system helped voters to plan their time of vote and helped management in avoiding chaos and untowards incident at PS
- Active participation of women in the poll process
- Higher voter turnout in all women managed polling stations; Total Voter turnout was 83.21%
For VOTER EDUCATION & ELECTORAL PARTICIPATION
(1) K VEERA RAGHAVA, DEO MADURAI, TAMIL NADU
- Focus was to sensitise all sections of electorate including first time and young Voters, Women, differently abled (PwDs), senior citizens, transgenders, tribals and disadvantaged etc.
- Reached all the institutions including factories, companies, commercial establishments, worksites, markets, public gathering places, government and private offices, and households in both urban and remote rural areas with a focused approach across the Madurai District.
- 123 College Ambassadors appointed to encourage college students for electoral registration and participation
- Tribal Voters of Meenakshipuram Village, Sirumalai hills who used to walk for 14 Km Downhill, have now cast their vote in their location for the first time after Independence.
- Voter turnout in tribal areas in the district has increased by 7.68% from 70.86% to 78.54%.
- Active participation of first time voter enrollment in the age group of 18-19 has increased from 43,390 (2.12% out of total electorate) to 92,231 (3.69% out of total electorate).
- Low Voter Turnout Polling Stations have shown overall improvement of 3.56 % Voter Turnout.
- Increase in Voter Turnout to 71.42% compared to LS 2014 (70.50%) despite Heavy Rainfall on Pre-poll and Poll Day.
(2) TANMAY CHAKRABARTY, DEO PURULIA, WEST BENGAL
- A unique initiative and social campaign under the banner ‘AMAR PURULIA AMAR VOTE’ has been taken well ahead the assembly election 2016 to encourage every sections of voter in Purulia specially weaker section
- Overcoming voter resistant pockets through help community leaders and volunteers from minority community and massive educative campaign
- Reaching the ‘unreachable’ by creation of new polling stations in remote hilly regions
- Motivating the youth, specially girl students
- Special women registration camp through different sports and cultural competition
- A large number of inhabitants of the most interior part of 240 Baghmundi Assembly Constituency could cast their votes for the first time since independence.
- Voters Turnout increased from 80.98% in AE 2011 to 83.14% during AE-2016
(3) KEERTHI JALLI, DEO TITABAR, ASSAM
- Bhoni (younger sister) as a mascot was developed to motivate women working on Tea Estates to go out and cast their vote.
- Another initiative that was introduced was the “Gamocha Weaving” initiative to popularise ECI mascot amongst the public
- Devised badges with 'vote for a better India'. Which were distributed to each and every government servant up to the level of Gram Panchayat Office
- In comparison with the Assembly elections in 2011, women voter turnout increased 14.02%.
- It was also observed that the women turn- out was higher than the male turnout in Titabar by about 2% at 83.30%
For ELECTORAL ROLL MANAGEMENT
(1) MUKESH BANSAL, DEO RAJNANDGAON, CHATTISGARH
- Launched an initiative under popular SVEEP Program ‘PRATIGYA ‘
- Focussed group activities created awareness among female voters to enroll their names in voter list.
- Special programme and workshop for physically challenged voters and third gender helped them to enroll their name in voter list.
- 13012 form-6 was filled and accepted in the age group of 18-19 yrs.
- Total no. of form-6 received during 2016-17 was 28596
- Female voters enrollment increased by 2350 as compared to male voters.
- Online form submission was 5968
(2) Dr K S PALANISAMY, DEO TIRUCHIRRAPALLI, TAMIL NADU
- ‘Catch Them Young’ campaign - Campus Enrolment Drive to enroll young voters belonging to 18-29 age group. Appointment of trained youth ambassadors to enroll their fellow students.
- Appointment of female college students belonging to the minority community as Ambassadors to reach their women.
- Direct interaction sessions of DEO with Transgenders – Spot enrolment camps
- Special enrolment day for the differently abled – Camps in areas with high number of differently abled
- IT Initiative - Specially designed Crystal Report Formats to maximize efficacy of the duplicates deletion exercise
- Number of young voters increased from 43,810 to 78,896 registering an 80% increase over the number of young voters.
- Transgender enrolment registered an increase from 102 to 180 in the roll published on 5.1.2017, which is a 76% increase.
- 32,784 deletions(Dead: 10,548 Shifted:13,159 Repeated:9,077) were made during the Special Drive for Purification of Rolls and suo moto deletion in the months preceding General Election to TNLA, 2016.
For INNOVATIVE MEASURES:
P BALAKIRAN, DEO KANNUR , KERALA
- Curbed Bogus Assisted Voting by getting details of all the blind voters, giving special slips to them at their homes through BLOs. Their companions were noted in a separate register and photograph of all such voters and their companion was taken on polling day and kept for record.
- Ensured security to the polling agents/staff by using live webcasting, and using CAPF & Mobile strike force and by arranging escorts to the staff & agents
- Provided Barrier Free environment to the blind/infirm voters
- The poll went very peacefully and incident free attested by the close watch of 16 observers.
- Number of infirm voters came down considerably
For IT INITIATIVES :
(1) P MOHAN GANDHI, DEO BIRBHUM, WEST BENGAL
- BHAROSA suite of applications was launched for an effective and efficient means of seamless information flow having the capabilities of high redundancy, dependability and verifiability- all with existing technologies having low setup costs.
- Effective Vulnerability Mitigation resulting in free, fair and peaceful Poll-day with 84.8 % voting
- No re-poll was held in any of the 2964 polling stations in Birbhum district
- A total of 5273 vulnerable persons were identified and CBM by CAPF carried out 5021 times.
- A total of 196 complaints were handled through CMS dashboard on P-day itself
- Cost effective solution as all components are integrated in a single platform using common resources
(2) KAILASH KARTHIK N, DEO RANGIA, ASSAM
- Rangia Election District piloted a novel mobile application called “Samarth” that helps citizens to anonymously report Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violations during elections
- The Samarth app does the geo-tagging of Polling Stations (PS) on Google Maps and the mapping of MCC teams against specific PS locations
- The MCC enforcement teams found the integration of Google Navigation Services very helpful as it could help them quickly reach the point of violation and resolve it.
- The mobile application saw positive response with over 50+ downloads from Android Play Store and close to 100 MCC related complaints being registered by users through this application within a week of its launch
- This app can also be expanded to cover Expenditure Monitoring by including the FST/ SST teams as well and can go a long way in tackling the flow of money and liquor during elections.
For SECURITY MANAGEMENT :
(1) A K GAWAS, SSP KARAIKAL, PUDUCHERRY
- Steps were taken to create conducive climate for conduct of free and fair election
- Preventive actions were taken up through checking of Lodges / Hotels and surprise checking of vehicles at different places
- 22 Vulnerable areas were identified and patrolling was maintained. Strong Pickets were posted at these places
- Offenders of cases registered during previous two Elections were booked under preventive sections
- 196 trouble Mongers were identified and QRTs were formed at Police Station level to attend to any exigency
- Peaceful election with not a single incident/offence reported on the day of election or on the day of counting
- Election related offences (15) during 2016, decreased by 50% as compared to (31) offences during Assembly Elections, 2011.
(2) A SARAVANAN, SP DINDIGUL, TAMIL NADU
- Effective security management plan was put in place and 7 Flying Squad Teams and 8 Static Surveillance Teams were put into place.
- Additional flying squads were operationalised in expenditure sensitive constituencies. On the date of Poll, totally 3150 Police personnel including 201 mobile patrols were engaged for the bandobust duty.
- Around 1110 licensed Arms were deposited in Dindigul District, 1095 persons were booked and bound over under preventive sections and 642 Non Bailable Warrants were executed
- Total 334 cases including 177 Cases under Tamil Nadu Open Places Prevention of Disfigurement Act, 83 cases against the violation of Model Code of Conduct, 37 cases against Money and Material distribution and 37 cases against the Criminal Intimidation/Violence were registered
- Peaceful conduct of election
- Rs. 20 lakhs was seized at Oddanchatram and Rs. 33,54,000/- was seized
- Further, during the prepoll period, both FST and SST Teams seized cash and properties worth Rs. 1,13,61,441/- and Rs. 58,41,056/- respectively.
(3) HARI SANKAR, SP KANNUR, KERALA
- Comprehensive strategy planned for security of polling personnel and contesting candidates. Special routes designed in consultation with political parties and vehicles were hired specifically for this purpose.
- 1048 accused in politico-criminal cases were summoned and detailed dossiers were prepared with photograph, current address, current doings, booth etc
- The dossiers of criminals and well known offenders were distributed to mobile patrols, CAPF in booth and stuck on public places which was an effective deterrence for them.
- Facebook and oher social media and whattsapp monitoring was taken up besides legal interception through call loggers.
- No single case of attack of polling agent reported on the day of elections.
- Information received helped to prevent grave offences which were used psychologically against criminals to create mutual suspicion within the criminal gangs. They were told that the information came from informers within them and hence they started distrusting their own men. This led to huge drop in political crimes
- No case was reported in which previous criminals were involved during the election day.
For SECURITY MANAGEMENT
S N SINGH, IG ASSAM
- Comprehensive preparations for security management were made in the backdrop of threats issued by terrorist groups to disrupt the Election Process by targeting the Contesting Candidates, Political Party Workers, Security Forces, and the Poll Parties.
- Inter-state and international boundaries were effectively monitored.
- Overground supporters and the sympathizers of the extremist organizations were rounded up, large scale and co-ordinated CI Ops conducted to apprehend the cadres and leaders of the extremist organizations.
- Terrorist groups were not allowed to group, organize or plan. Steps were taken simultaneously to strengthen the security of the State and District Offices of all the major political parties and the important leaders.
- Sensitive and vulnerable areas were identified and various measures were initiated to secure the area and its people. The routes to be used by the poll parties were sensitized ten days ahead of the poll day on daily basis to leave nothing to chance.
- Overall 82% of the total polling buildings in the districts were covered by the static Armed Force. As a precautionary measure, Hospitals were kept in high alert for providing immediate medical assistance in case of emergency caused due to election related violence.
- Election was incident free and not even a single life was lost during the elections
- Assam recorded historic voter turnout with both men and women coming out to vote without fear of intimidation and violence
For INNOVATIVE MEASURES
CHANDRA BHUSHAN KUMAR, CEO DELHI
- An Election Education Center-cum-Museum has been established in the premises of the CEO Delhi office, with a view to create an environment and learning place to celebrate the electoral legacy. The centre serves both as a museum with historical information and artifacts as well as a learning centre where hands on experience is given on EVM and VVPAT. The Museum consists with Library section, Audio Visual Room, Photo Gallery, Electoral Management Section, Gandhi gallery
- During the short span of time, Center has already been visited more than 1500 person.
- School students are most frequent visitors
for EXPENDITURE MONITORING
B R BALAKRISHNAN, PRINCIPAL DIRECTOR & ROY JOSE, ADDL DIRECTOR, INCOME TAX, TAMIL NADU
- Comprehensive planning and systematic deployment of manpower for election expenditure monitoring
- Effective surveillance mechanism with checks and searches were carried out at airports to prevent movement of cash suspected to be used for influencing the voters
- Around Rs 33 crores in cash was seized
- Seizure of cash at some locations led to countermanding of poll in two constituencies
For IT INITIATIVES
GOPI SWAMINATHAN, TECHNICAL ADVISOR, NIC PUDUCHERRY
- Information and Communication Technology (ICT) played a key role through Real Time Poll Monitoring System, Trends Information System with Results Declaration, Udhavi - Single Window Clearance Application, Theervu - Grievance / Complaints Redressal System, SMS Portal, Online services, Search on Electoral Roll etc. making a significant impact as part of the work flow of the Election management.
- Nearly, 20 lakh SMS have been sent using SMS portal.
- The online application helps the political parties andpublic to get necessary permission from DEO.
- Every single aspect relating to interruptions and the resumptions that followed after attending to the problems were captured on real time basis.
AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE TO STATES
RAJESH LAKHONI, CEO TAMIL NADU for Election Management
Initiatives in Voter Facilitation:
- An integrated mobile app launched in all platforms i.e, android, apple and windows offering 13 services right from registration of voters to checking queue status at booth.
- An online payment gateway and delivery of EPIC through speed post was offered at a cost of Rs 40. Facility integrated with both mobile and web applications.
- Online facilitation provided in both web and mobile applications to register an elector as disabled person. Requisite assistance provided to the registered people at polling booths. 12,000 wheel chairs were arranged by the DEOs.
- Efficient public grievance redressal system where the complaints were automatically registered with PGRS to ensure immediate action and qualitative disposal.
- Social Media widely used for information dissemination and outreach besides traditional media
- Mass Ethical voting pledge was taken throughout the state by all stake holders on 10th May and a record 1,60,95,163 persons took the pledge
- Management Initiatives:
- Single window clearance system for end-to-end facilitation to political parties, candidates, likely candidates, and others seeking approvals and clearances. Maximum time to clear a petition was 48 hours.
- A web application was launched to track the retail liquor sales throughout Tamil Nadu. Sales with 30% or 50% increase were traced. Liquor sales of previous two days and data of same two dates of the previous year were compared.
- State developed its own intelligence network through Village Vigilance committee. More than 23000 VVCs collected information about distribution of money or other inducement to voters.
- 1 lac download of TN Mobile app
- Around 6 lac calls on various issues including MCC violation, were received in the call centre; 27192 complaints were resolved using integrated cloud and mobile technology
- 1,25,502 applications for various permissions by parties and candidates cleared online
- Because of innovative combination of IT in reducing response time from 3 hour to 3 minutes and use of quick response team, large sums of money was seized.
VIJAYENDRA, CEO ASSAM for Security Management
- In view of effective management of election and maintenance of Law & Order 366 Police Zonal Officer of the rank of Inspector & above and 2768 Sector Officer (SI & ASI rank) were deployed besides 2768 Sector Magistrates.
- Detailed security plan was prepared by SPs of every District covering the vulnerable areas(457 noss), possible initimidators (1682 nos), accommodation and transportation plan of the forces coming from outside.
- Zonal and sector security and law & order plan were prepared and the forces started reaching districts 15 days prior to the day of the poll and fully inducted 7 days before the poll.
- Intensive patrolling and area domination was carried out. Under preventive action cases were registered against 18,290 persons.
- Execution of pending non-bailable warrant (NBW )cases and initiation of new cases were effectively monitored. Total NBW cases pending disposal prior to the notification of Election were 7047. New cases received after the announcement of Election 3005 and total cases executed were 5295.
- Only one repoll in AE 2016 against repolls in double figures in earlier elections
- Overall Turnout was an all time record of 84.72%. It was higher by 4.51% from the earlier record of 80.21% of LS – 2014.
- For the first time in the state, female turnout was higher than the male turnout - 84.81% against the male turnout 84.64%.
- Female voter turnout increased substantially from 79.52% in LS-2014 to 84.81%.
- The low turnout districts showed considerable improvement in voters’ turn out.
E K MAJHI, CEO KERALA for IT Initiatives
- Fully online enrolment facility made available through website, Common Service Centres – ‘Akshaya Kendras’ and Voter Facilitation Centres
- Facilities for searching the Electoral Roll, transposition of names and others ervices provided through the Website and SMS
- Mobile App ‘E Voter’ developed by IT Mission.
- E Pariharam launched for filing complaints related to election; Complaints were redressed within 48 hours.
- E Anumathy and E Vahanam launched for facilitating political parties and election managers respectively for permissions
- TREND Software for dissemination of counting trends
- 8 lakh increase in size of electorate after publication of draft roll (3.07%)
- Significant increase in voter turnout – 77.35% (3.35% over previous election)
- Peaceful and incident free elections
- Efficient sms poll monitoring
- E-Voter bagged NASCOM IT Award ; was availed by more than 38 Lakh voters during election.
- fast dissemination of counting trends and results
DR V CANDAVELOU, CEO PUDUCHERRY for Voter Education & Electoral Participation
- Model Mobile Polling Booth for Low Voter Turnout ACs to educate and motivate people; Solar powered Mobile Model Polling Booth attracted people
- Disabled voters identified for each PS, 570 volunteers contacted them to assess type of disability and assistance required; 340 Wheelchairs provided
- Messages through Meghdoot postcards to household with first time voters, and PwD and in low turnout ACs; on milk sachets, water bottles
- Corporate Specific Special Enrolment Camp in 37 companies ; Mobile registration vans sent to each company on pre-fixed dates; Corporate Voter Awareness Week was scheduled from 5th May 2016
- Enrolment of left out voters and migrants at their door-step
- Pudhuvai Therdhal Kalanjiyam Mobile app providing name search on electoral roll, PS location, candidate profile, queue information on poll day, turnout rate and counting trends on counting day
- Helpline number also provided all these facilities to voters in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam
- Voter turnout at 84.07% with high women turnout at 85.47%
- 11,249 PwD voters cast their vote
- 24,917 voters were first time voters
- 1982 grievances received through helpline and various apps out of which 1938 were disposed during election period
SUNIL GUPTA, CEO WEST BENGAL for Electoral Roll Management
- Single Day Hearing Programme for multiple entries; display of list of Deleted electors in the DEOs website,
- Special Roll cleaning day to scrutinise electoral roll for multiple entries– both phonetic and EPIC, correction of junk characters, quality of photograph and other particulars
- Every district had convened a special single day hearing programme throughout the district for all the probable multiple electors identified through software
- Portal based Management of Data of Shifted Electors
- Special drive was taken to dispose of all returned/ defective EPICs ; Disposal Week from 16th to 20th November 2015.
- Special Drive for Electoral Roll Purification
- Fresh Enumeration for enclave electors
- 3,88,573 electors added during continuous updation and 1,15,878 names deleted taking net electors for Assembly election 2016 to 6,58,18,796
- Voter turnout for 3 Settlement Camps for the residents of erstwhile Indian Enclaves was 90.51%
- Turnout for 51 erstwhile Bangladeshi Enclaves was 81.06%
NATIONAL MEDIA AWARD
National Media Award for outstanding campaign on Voters’ Education and Awareness
THANTHI TV, TAMIL NADU
- Took up a sustained campaign for ethical voting and voter participation in the State Assembly Election 2016 through various programmes and spots. Also gave important information about dates and similar alerts ahead of poll day besides poll day reminders.
NATIONAL CSO AWARD
CSO Award for outstanding campaign on Voters’ Education and Awareness
SHILLONG PUBLIC SCHOOL
- Collaborated with the office of CEO Meghalaya to take forward the electoral education and voter awareness. It acted as the lead school for engaging with eligible young voters during ECI’s NERP programme. Activities like art competition, music and photography competition was organized. ‘Point to Future’on Facebook was launched in collaboration with CEO Meghalaya for creative participation of youth in the state during the SR-2017. Road show was conducted in rural clusters with low enrolment rate.
NATIONAL AWARD TO GOVT DEPARTMENT/AGENCY
For VOTER EDUCATION AND AWARENESS
DELHI METRO RAILWAY CORPORATION
- DMRC used its announcement network for disseminating message for enrolment and purification of electoral roll. Dedicated awareness corners were opened in specific locations at 14 metro stations in Delhi having high visibility. Drawing and Graffiti competitions were organised at various stations covering all constituencies.
For CONTRIBUTING TO ELECTION MANAGEMENT
IT MISSION, KERALA
- Developed the mobile E-Voter app for the office of CEO Kerala that helped in effective dissemination of information to the public like registration and name search facility on electoral roll, locating polling station etc. Information regarding candidates and affidavits filed by them was also made available on E-Voter. The trend on counting day was also made available through this app. E-Voter bagged NASCOM IT Award and was availed by more than 38 Lakh voters during election.
Edited by ECI