Taking forward its continuous efforts of building an active democratic citizenry in the country, the Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation division of ECI has undertaken a new initiative by the name of Electoral Literacy Clubs for developing a culture of avid electoral engagement and making informed and ethical ballot decisions among citizens of the country.
The Electoral Literacy Clubs or ELCs program was officially launched on National Voters' Day 2018 in the august presence of the Hon'ble President of India. ELCs are informal learning groups which being set up across the country as direct interventions of ECI for promoting electoral literacy among Indian citizens of all ages by engaging them in interesting and experiential hands-on learning activities in their local languages in a strictly apolitical, non-partisan and neutral manner.
Three different kinds of interventions have been designed under the ELCs program. First is ELC Future Voters which are being set up in Secondary and Senior Secondary Schools all across India to target future voters in the age-group of 14 to 17 years who are studying in Classes IX to XII. These ELCs will have all of the students from Classes IX, X, XI and XII as its members.
Electoral Literacy Clubs are also being set up in colleges across India as ELC New Voters for targeting the age-group of 18 to 21 years old who are pursuing their graduation.The overarching goal of ELCs program is to make the future and new voters of the country fully confident of how, when, where, what and why of democratic elections. They should develop an understanding of the value of their vote, significance of sanctity and secrecy of their vote, and a conviction of making mature, competent and ethical ballot decisions. They should become interested and excited for exercising their very first ballot decision in an ethical and informed fashion as soon as they become 18 years old. In quantifiable terms, the outcome of ELCs would mean increased electoral registration and enhanced voter turnout.
And for reaching out to the population left outside of the formal education structures, ELCs shall be set up at every Polling Station by the name of Chunav Pathshala. Chunav Pathshala will have members from the village or community to which the polling station belongs. While there will be significant focus on school dropouts, the Chunav Pathshala will also aim to be representative of the entire village's demographic composition.
To successfully roll-out this tremendous project, fine attention has been given to its implementation at ground level. Each ELC will be facilitated by a convener who will operate under the nodal officer for their district. To retain the pedagogical essence of all the ELC activities, a series of structured workshops have been designed for the conveners. Workshops were conducted for State Level Master Trainers (SLMTs) from the 36 States and Union Territories of the country in four batches of 40-50 participants each during February-March 2018 in New Delhi.These SLMTs shall further conduct workshops for District Level Master Trainers (DLMTs) who will then train the specific ELC conveners falling in their respective districts.
ELCs have been envisaged to serve as a vibrant hub of Elections related interaction for promoting electoral literacy and electoral participation in the country. The program has the potential of becoming the largest experiment of its kind in the field of voter education with over 2 lakh proposed ELCs across the length and breadth of the country.