25th January is celebrated as National Voters’ Day through out India at around 7 lac locations. Unbelievable but true! On this day, the entire nation reverberates with the festivities of democracy as crores of Indians celebrate their right to vote!
National Voter’s Day aims at increasing the enrolment of voters, especially encourage participation of newly eligible young voter (18-19 yr old) and ensure universal adult franchise. 25th January, the Foundation Day of Election Commission of India ( ECI ), was declared as the National Voters’ Day in the year 2011. Since then, National Voters Day has been celebrated all over India with gusto and has become more festive with each passing year.
This year marks the sixth celebration of NVD and Election Commission of India started the NVD celebration with ‘Matdata Mahotsav’ (Grand Celebrations of the voter). Matdata Mahotsav, a four-day gala event (14th January to 17th January 2016) was organized at Central Park, Connaught Place - the heart of Delhi. The event showcased an exhibition of best practices from different states of India, other countries & partners of ECI along with a display on preparations & processes carried out by the ECI to bring the ballot to the people. Moreover, music and dance, street plays and games, debates and discussions, quizzes and contests as well as performances by the states and ECI state icons filled the air with celebration.
Matdata Mahotsav, a tribute by the ECI to the enlightened voter of our nation, was a grand success and paved way for NVD celebration on 25th January 2016.
The theme of NVD 2016 is ‘Inclusive and qualitative participation’ reiterating the commitment towards reaching out to the last voter and promoting informed and ethical voting. The slogan 'No Voter to be left behind' has been coined to further emphasis the focus on inclusiveness. The National Awards are being conferred for excellence, proficiency and innovation in election processes and procedures. These awards recognize contribution by election machinery, government department/ agency/ PSU, CSO and media.
The theme for NVD 2015 was ‘Easy Registration; Easy Correction’. The national level function was organized at Weightlifting Auditorium, JLN Stadium, New Delhi, on 25th January, 2015. The Hon’ble Former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was the Chief Guest on this occasion. On this occasion, the National Awards to Election officials from across the country were given away for ‘Best Electoral Practices’ during the Lok Sabha Elections 2014 besides Awards to Media House and Civil Society Organisations for contributions during the national elections. Ahead of the 5th National Voters’ Day, around 3.9 crore newly eligible voters in the 18-19yr age group have been enrolled. The electoral roll published after the recently concluded summary revision now carries 84.4 crore names. NVD isnow celebrated at around 6 lakh polling station areas and 52 thousand educational institutions.
The National Voters’ Day is celebrated every year to mark the foundation day of the Election Commission of India, which was established on 25th January, 1950. The purpose of celebrating this day is to increase enrolment of voters, especially young voters. The day is also utilized to spread awareness among voters regarding effective participation in the electoral process.
The theme for the 7th National Voters’ Day, celebrated on the 25th January 2017, was ‘Empowering Young and Future Voters.’ The National Celebration at Delhi was graced by the honourable President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, as the chief guest. The event witnessed enthusiastic participation of students from all over the country who hadactively participated in ‘All India Drawing Competition’ on the theme 'Every Vote Counts.’ The President appreciated the creative artwork of the prize winning entries from all the states of India. The welcome address was given by Election Commissioner Shri O.P. Rawat.
The first copy of the book 'Unfolding Indian Elections-Journey of the living democracy’ was presented to the President by Chief Election Commissioner of India, Dr. Nasim Zaidi. The book, compiled by the Election Commission of India, is published by the Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and traces the journey of evolution of election process from the pre independence era to the present
Election Commissioner Shri A.K. Joti introduced the National Awards which are presented for excellence in various aspects of conduct of elections i.e. electoral roll management, security management, IT initiatives, voter education and electoral participation and innovation. Awards were also given away to partner departments, CSO and Media for their contribution to election management. The awards were given away by the President. EPIC card was given to the fivenewly registered voters and the six winners of the All India Drawing Competition.
The President, in his address, congratulated the Election Commission of India for achieving high standards in the conduct of election which are world renowned. He also expressed his happiness on the fact that the Election Commission in India has been able to inculcate in the youth the motivation to vote and exhorted the Commission to maintain its standards of non-partisanship.
Earlier, the Chief Election Commissioner of India, apprised the guests about the various initiatives taken up by the Commission in the past one year including the ‘Interactive School Engagement’ programme in which Electoral Registration Officers and District Election Officers besides the Chief Electoral Officers covered around 11,000 schools and 24 lac students across the country and interacted with the students in the age-group of 15-17 years to impart electoral awareness among them.
Shri Umesh Sinha, Deputy Election Commissioner gave the vote of thanks. Election management Bodies from 11 countries attended the function besides representatives of various international organisations, Political Parties, former Chief Election Commissioners of India besides officials from Embassies and Govt Organisations.
The Election Commission of India celebrated the 8th National Voters Day on 25th January 2018 at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi. Hon'ble President of India, Sh. Ram NathKovind graced the National function as the Chief Guest along with Minister of Law & Justice, Sh. Ravi Shankar Prasad. This year's celebrations revolved around the theme 'Accessible Elections', which expressed ECI 's pursuit of working towards making the electoral process more inclusive and friendly for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).
Addressing the gathering President Kovind said that we have been celebrating National Voters Day on January 25 every year since 2011. The aim is to encourage our voters to participate enthusiastically in the democratic process. And that is why the relevance of this day is even more pronounced on the eve of Republic Day. The President congratulated young voters who have just turned 18 and got the right to vote for the first time. "Our Constitution empowers an independent Election Commission. And our election process makes every vote important, with the right to equality and freedom. As such Indian democracy is known through the world for its maturity and stability." He reminded that Developed Countries took many years to hand over the suffrage right to its citizens whereas the Indian Constitution empowered the Indian citizens in one stroke.
Law and Justice Minister, Sh. Ravi Shankar Prasad congratulated Election Commission of India for organizing National Voters' Day and honoring millennium voters.
Speaking on the occasion the newly appointed Chief Election Commissioner Sh. O. P. Rawat informed that the Commission has taken several initiatives in its continued endeavor to encourage and enhance inclusive, informed and ethical electoral participation from all categories of voters, with special focus on PwDs. The initiatives integrate technology and media including social media for efficiency and efficacy of connect with the voters down to the polling station level in consonance with our motto 'No voter to be left behind'.
CEC added that keeping in line with the theme 'Accessible Elections' for the year 2018, an international Conference was organised yesterday on 'Inclusion of the Persons with Disabilities in the Electoral Processes'. "Guidelines are already in place on the subject. We intend to consolidate our efforts on accessible elections based on the insights of this Conference', he said.
Introducing the best electoral practices awards, Election Commissioner, Sh. Sunil Arora appreciated the role of all those who were selected for the awards. Earlier, Election Commissioner, Sh. Ashok Lavasa delivered welcome address and congratulated young electors, who have become eligible as voter on 1st January, 2018. Sr. Deputy Election Commissioner, Sh. Umesh Sinha proposed vote of thanks on this occasion.
Hon'ble President of India conferred the National Awards for the Best Electoral Practices to officers deputed in the election machinery. The President congratulated District Election Officials for conducting awareness campaigns successfully. These awards were in recognition of outstanding efforts employed in the area of Election Management, Voters Education and Electoral Participation, Information Technology, Security Management and Innovation in Elections. The President lauded the use of e-platform for educating and reaching out to voters. List of awardees is attached herewith.
The NVD event also witnessed the felicitation of the National Champions of the National Election Quiz 2018. National Elections Quiz, the largest elections quiz in the world yet, had an astounding participation of 13.5 lakh students of 9-12th standard from 38 thousand schools across the country. The Zonals and Finals were organised in collaboration with Rajya Sabha Television and telecast its first episode on 25th January to mark NVD. Subsequent weekly telecast shall be on Sunday prime time 9 am and repeat telecast on Saturdays.
The President also inaugurated the first edition of VoICE India – a biannual magazine which brings forth best practices, innovations and knowledge derived from practical experience and success stories of the election machinery that exists in every corner of India. The NVD function also officially marked the launch of Electoral Literacy Clubs in the nation. With the aim of introducing electoral literacy in the future voters falling in the age group of 14-17 years, around 60 thousand ELCs are planned to be set up with 36 thousand in Schools, around 16 thousand in Communities and 7 thousand in Colleges and Universities in the coming two months.
NVD is celebrated all over the country right from the national level to the far and remote corners of our country down to each Polling Station location where new voters were felicitated with a badge carrying the logo 'Proud to be a Voter- Ready to Vote', administered the Pledge and handed over their Elector Photo Identity Cards (EPICs). This is a unique electoral participation exercise across the democracies of the world. This year 60 thousand 'Millennium Voters' were felicitated across the nation in functions similar to the event in New Delhi. These Millennium Voters are young adults, who were born on 1 January 2000 and qualified as eligible voters on 1st January this year. Six such Millennium Voters from Delhi were felicitated at the National function.
It may be recalled that the Election Commission of India was constituted on 25th January 1950. Thus 25th January every year is now observed as the National Voters Day.
Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) is a programme of multi interventions through different modes and media designed to educate citizens, electors and voters about the electoral process in order to increase their awareness and participation in the electoral processes. SVEEP is designed according to the socio-economic, cultural and demographic profile of the state as well as the history of electoral participation in previous rounds of elections and learning thereof.
The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. The Election Commission operates under the authority of Constitution per Article 324, and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act.