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History

ECI’s decision to adopt a sustained and systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation strategy to increase people’s participation in the electoral process got reflected in a range of policy initiatives, programmes and activities, by now known as SVEEP, which has evolved in the three SVEEP phases over the past six years.

SVEEP I (2009-2013)

The seed of SVEEP was born out of managerial underlining of the gaps in registration of citizens as voters and the more glaring gap in turnout from election to election. In India, the turnout had historically stagnated around 55-60 percent, thus leaving out the choices of millions of eligible citizens. This identification was followed by the intellectual understanding that low participation could adversely impact the quality of democracy and there was a need for management interventions to address this problem. There was a small experimental beginning under the banner of IEC activities in 2009, which was subsequently revamped in 2010 and given its present name. This phase spread broadly from end 2009 to March 2013, and covered 17 General Elections to State Assemblies and three revisions of the Electoral Roll in varying geographies, levels of urbanisation, literacy, security and logistics issues.

SVEEP II (April 2013- Till present)

Carrying forward and strengthening the initiatives of SVEEP I, this phase of SVEEP involved a planned strategy for a targeted approach towards meeting the various gaps. There was a structured framework including steps like polling station-wise situation analysis, planning of interventions and implementation, followed by review and evaluation at regular intervals for the entire period. It also included content development for neo-literate and non-literate groups. There was a pronounced emphasis on supply side of SVEEP, particularly in developing facilities at polling stations and on the polling day. The Lok Sabha Elections 2014 have been a major landmark in the history and learning of SVEEP as it also happened to be the focus of SVEEP II. Besides the Lok Sabha elections, it covered ten General Elections to State Assemblies.

SVEEP III (Being undertaken)

After drawing learnings from the historic General Elections to the Lok Sabha 2014, a more robust and in-depth plan is being undertaken for the next phase of SVEEP. Enhanced interaction with the citizens through social media, online contests and voters’ festivals; awareness about new initiatives of linking EPIC with AADHAAR and National Voters’ Service Portal; a regularised yearly plan of activities form a part of this phase. In addition to target groups of women, youth, urban voters and the marginalised sections, inclusion of groups like service voters, NRIs, persons with disabilities, prospective voters/ students is of primary focus. Greater synergy with partners, micro surveys, integration of electoral education with academic curriculum are other key to SVEEP III plans.

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