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    1. 1

      Electoral Literacy Clubs - Taking the journey ahead

      Studies suggest that participation in the first one or two elections of an elector’s lifetime helps to inculcate the habit of voting and makes participation in future elections more likely. The importance of developing the practice of citizenship development for electoral participation is vital to investment in the future of democracy. It is necessary to focus on the younger generation for civic education leading to robust electoral participation. Keeping this rationale in view, the Election Commission of India (ECI) took a landmark step towards the cause of electoral literacy with its initiative - ‘Mainstreaming of Electoral Literacy through Educational Institutions, Organizations and Communities in India’, under its Systematic Voters’ Education & Electoral Participation (SVEEP) Programme.   The entire project revolves around keeping voter education relevant and practical through a host of curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular methods for the young (18-21 years) and future (14-17 years) voters. This year, ECI committed its efforts towards the inclusion of electoral literacy through the medium of Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELCs) in educational institutions, organisations as well as in rural communities via Chunav Pathshalas.   A total of seven comprehensive resource guides have been created for the ELCs programme. These are -   Electoral Literacy Club Resource Guide for class IX Electoral Literacy Club Resource Guide for class X Electoral Literacy Club Resource Guide for class XI Electoral Literacy Club Resource Guide for class XII Electoral Literacy Club Resource Guide for colleges Chunav Pathshala Electoral Literacy Club Resource Guide for communities ELCs common handbook              Along with these resource guides, an ELC game kit consisting of five floor games has also been developed.           The resource guides and games have been developed in Hindi and English. States shall translate the content in their regional languages and adapt them to suit regional and local sensibilities.   The resource guides and floor games can be accessed at http://ecisveep.nic.in .   Set-up of ELCs   ELC shall be for each Class and Section. While the Electoral Literacy Clubs for each school grade will be different and consist of a set of activities unique to that particular grade, the activities for different Sections at each grade shall remain the same. The ELC shall conduct activity class wise in a scheduled class/session. One or two teachers from the Humanities Department of the School will act as the Nodal Officers and mentors of the ELC. There would be a teacher for each class who will conduct the ELC activity. Alternately, there may be a group of teachers who may conduct the ELCs of various classes. The training of the teachers shall be taken up by the Nodal Officer. The teachers shall be guided by the Nodal Officer in the conduct of the ELC activities. A balance between Senior secondary schools within every state and district will be identified by the office of the District Election Officer (DEO), schools are being covered under phases.    ELCs and PwDs   The ELCs have been envisioned as inclusive clubs that must make every attempt to ensure the participation of students with disabilities. To ensure this, every ELC shall follow the following guidelines – The Convener shall make efforts to promote inclusion and sensitize members about the same. It should be tried to ensure that the venue for ELC activity is easily accessible. If a student with hearing impairment is attending the meeting, a sign language interpreter should be made available for their convenience (the interpreter can be a companion that the student already has). Any activity conducted in the club should not leave behind students with disabilities.   Going Online: ELC Resources on SVEEP Portal The Election Commission of India has developed a new portal for SVEEP where all tools and instructions regarding ELCs can be easily accessed by the Master Trainers (MTs) and the portal provides a discussion forum to the ELC MTs. The portal will also serve as a mechanism for collecting feedback, for reviewing the resource tools and updating them. A tool for trainings: the ELC Documentary For the purpose of being used as a visual aid in the cascade training strategy, ECI is also preparing a documentary on ELCs which is essentially a collection of major activities under the project, shot and assembled in the format of tutorials.   The documentary is being produced in Hindi as well as in English along with captions for the convenience of persons with hearing disabilities.     Assessment by National Law University   ELC is indeed one of the most ambitious and challenging projects of the ECI. Well begun is half done, and a good beginning has already been made. An independent evaluation of the project has also been sanctioned by the Commission and evaluation shall be simultaneously carried out so that necessary corrections can be made for successful achievement of the objectives. Research scholars from NLU are on board with ECI for conducting an evaluation and impact assessment research on the effectiveness of the ELC programme. NLU has planned out its research methodology and timelines. It is currently preparing tools for carrying out the research.      
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      Sneak Peek into some ELC Activities

      A majority of educators will agree that students grasp the most when learning meets fun. The ELC learning tools have been developed in a manner such that important information, which might seem banal in textbooks, is imparted in engaging ways to young students. The following are a description of six activities out of a total of 30 that have been developed for the ELCs:   1. Nirvachitra   A portmanteau of the words Nirvachan and Chalchitra, Nirvachitra introduces the electoral process and procedures through an engaging film show or a picture story scroll developed by the ECI. Nirvachitra is the first activity proposed for all ELCs to set the tone of the club.   Set in the environment of Class XII students in a school from a rural area, the film Masti, Dosti aur Matdaan, covers the basics of voter registration by introducing concepts like democracy and value of a vote as well as talking about the age of eligibility, how to register as a voter, the documents required, etc., through  its animated characters. For schools where screening the film is not possible, story scrolls have been developed that send out the same message with their characters Abha and Abhay.       Before the film screening, the convener (teacher) shall have an introductory discussion with the students where their knowledge and views on democracy, voting, etc., are gauged. Post the film/scroll show, students are prompted to recall their first memories of an actual election held in their vicinity irrespective of their parents/guardians/relatives/neighbours' participation and make a poster either on the most important takeaway of the film or on the importance of elections and voting.   2. Card Game   Drawing inspiration from the popular card game UNO, two card games Vigilant Voter and Be the People’s Representative have been developed. Each deck consists of six cards in five colours along with some lucky and unlucky cards to make the game interesting. Each of the six numbered cards carry messages specific to the respective games. The player who arranges all the six cards in their correct order in a single chosen colour and reads out the messages stated on the cards correctly, wins the game.           The Vigilant Voter enables the players to play through the perspective of a voter. The six cards break down the entire registration and voting process, right from eligibility till poll day, into six key messages. The Be a People’s Representative game lets the players don the role of a contesting candidate and breaks down the candidate’s journey in an election to six messages in six cards. The idea of the card games is that while playing, the students absorb the messages communicated while still enjoying a good game.   3. Build your Ballot   An activity developed specifically for the students of class IX, Build your Ballot is aimed at familiarizing the students with EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) and VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail). Through this activity students will make their own ballot paper with dummy candidates and symbols including NOTA.   The game requires 15 students as volunteering candidates of a hypothetical election. The aim is for the entire class to make their own ballot paper. For this purpose a chart paper is used to make the layout of a dummy ballot paper. Fifteen pre-decided symbols denoting state parties, national parties, registered parties and individual candidates are shuffled and randomly allotted one each to every student acting as a candidate.   Following this, the candidates come forward and alphabetically arrange their names on the ballot paper according to actual ECI guidelines. First, the students with state and national party symbols come forward to form category I and write their names alphabetically on the ballot, and stick/draw their symbols against their name. Category II is formed by registered party candidates. Last but not the least, individual candidates arrange their names on the ballot.   The idea behind building the ballot is for the voters to realize that candidates are arranged on the ballot in an unbiased manner according to set guidelines, and give an idea on where to find the name of the candidate of choice on the ballot.   4. Hopscotch – Matdaan ke Padav   Matdaan ke Padav or Steps to Vote, is a stapu (hopscotch) game designed to familiarize students with the steps of voting. The game is printed on a flex and laid on the ground for students to play. It consists of 10 steps with each step carrying a question.   The player has to hop and stand on one foot throughout the game and will lose if the other foot touches the ground. The player enters the game by standing at the start position and throws a coin inside the first rectangle which is the first step of the game. S/he then reads out the question written inside the rectangle loudly for all to hear and answers it in either “Yes” or “No”. Similarly, the player progresses by throwing the coin in the next rectangle and repeating the process until they reach the tenth and the last rectangle.     The game creates awareness amongst players by asking questions like “Should we check our names in the voters’ list before elections?”, “Before entering the polling station should we keep our identity proof and voters’ slip ready?”, “On the EVM, do we have to press a button in front of the name of a candidate we have chosen?”   5. NOTA   NOTA stands for None of the Above. If a voter does not wish to vote for any political representative, s/he can still exercise their franchise by voting for NOTA. The activity, for students of class X, introduces the concept of NOTA to the students in a humorous way and sends out the message that knowing what you do not want is as important as knowing what you want.   This activity uses colourful, visual flashcards. Each flashcard poses a question and offers four answers to the question. The first three options are deliberately funny, silly and incorrect. For example, if the question is, “Which one of the following is a means of transport?” The first three options to this question are a water bottle, a hen and a carpet. The fourth option to every question is NOTA. Thus students choose NOTA as the answer to every question, familiarizing them with the concept in the process.     However, post the flashcard display, the convener brings out one final round where the following question is verbally asked - “Who do you vote for?” The answers would include: A corrupt politician bribing people to vote in his/her favour. A lazy politician who is inefficient. A politician with criminal charges. None of the Above (NOTA).   The Convener then initiates a group discussion or debate in the class on the topic of NOTA.         The ELC Resource Guides developed individually for class IX, X, XI and XII detail the activities to be conducted with the respective classes in one academic year. Each activity includes an element of summary and recall at the end. Each grade will only spend about four hours on ELC activities in a year, and yet the long-term impact of the club activities will be significant in creating prepared, responsible and informed young voters of India. These aware and educated voters of tomorrow will also be the ones who will act as ambassadors of democracy who will share their knowledge, inform and educate their peers, their family and their community at large.
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      Making of ELCs - A Journey to Empower Young Minds

      Since its inception in 2009 Systematic Voters’ Education & Electoral Participation (SVEEP) division of Election Commission of India has taken numerous initiatives to educate and empower the citizens towards the electoral process. The importance of developing the practice of citizenship development for electoral participation is vital to investment in the future of democracy. As the saying goes by, youth is the future of democracy hence it is necessary to focus on the younger generation for civic education leading to robust electoral participation. Keeping this rationale in view and the motto ‘No Voter to Be Left Behind’, Election Commission of India (ECI) took a landmark step towards the cause of electoral literacy with its initiative - ‘Mainstreaming of Electoral Literacy through Educational Institutions, Organizations and Communities in India’, under its SVEEP Programme. The idea of setting up Electoral Literacy Club was an expedition in itself which came to life after a working group analyzed the civic studies course books from grades 6 to 10. It was found that while students are taught about democracy and functioning of the government, there is little content on the development of active electoral participation. Moreover, no information is available about something as basic as the registration/enrollment process for the voters. After the meeting, held on 13th Feb, 2017 the working group agreed upon the following: to chalk out the Content, Method, Tools of Electoral Literacy to study the Best Practices across the world ELC to reach out to those outside formal education system Neutral content to be developed with local flavour   Second Meeting of working group was held on 5th April, 2017 in ECI where in the working group recommended framing of Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELCs) with the following objectives: to prepare future and young voters of the country by educating them about the electoral process to provide hands-on experience and serve as a vibrant hub of Electoral Literacy the resources should include exciting group engagement activities with well defined learning tools ELCs should be an Interactive forum with least lecturing   Third Meeting was held in Indian Habitat Center (IHC) where NCERT text books and NIOS chapters on social science were studied to prepare the content and deliverables. This was followed by preparation of a conceptual Framework and Action plan, which after the approval of the Commission, was forwarded to CEOs of all State / UTs along with a Project document. In certain cases, it was shared up to the DEO level.          After comprehensive rounds of discussion with key stakeholders, learning outcomes and important messages were listed out. Guided by these, games and activities were developed for students of Class IX, X, XI, XII and for Chunav Pathshala members. This resource development phase continued for about six months and was followed by three rounds of field trials in schools and communities in Delhi and NCR. It was realized that the effectiveness of any activity depended on the persons convening the ELC, their language and communication skills, and their correct understanding of the messages. Hence, on December 19th and 20th 2017, ECI organized a two day workshop for a final review of tools prepared for the Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELCs). Forty participants that included Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs), master trainers, representatives from civil society organizations, educators from schools and colleges as well as development communicators from different corners of the nation were invited to further refine the learning tools, check their viability and deliberate on an effective roll-out plan to set up the ELCs. Around 30 learning tools were reviewed by the participants in the workshop.                     Post the final review, a total of seven comprehensive resource guides were created and designed for the ELC project. The Resource Guides are for the benefit of club conveners and carries step by step information on how to conduct the various activities. These are: guides for classes IX – XII, Colleges, Rural Communities and a common handbook. To make it more interesting and engaging, 6 games and 2 story scrolls were also developed in association with Lady Irwin College, as tools for the purpose of engaging with communities via Chunav Pathshalas. Under the project the following target audience is covered:– ELC for Schools – Targeting around 7 crore students as per HRD stats in the age group of Class IX-XII in around 2 lakh senior secondary schools ELC for Colleges – Targeting new and young voters in the age group 18 - 25 years in about 800 Universities, 39,071 colleges as per HRD stats ELC for Communities (Chunav Pathshalas) – Targeting 1 million Polling Stations with a focus on 14-17 year olds outside of the formal education system; will include members of all ages Voter Awareness forums (VAF) – will be set up in Government and Non-Government Organizations as well as in private institutions   A major component of the project in its execution phase was the training of the ELC conveners. Considering the sheer magnitude of the numbers the project is dealing with, a system of cascade training was finalized, wherein, ECI would train State Level Master Trainers (SLMTs), who will in turn train District Level Master Trainers (DLMTs), who subsequently train Master Trainers and on-ground Conveners. Workshops were conducted for State Level Master Trainers (SLMTs) from the 36 states and Union Territories (UTs) of the country in four batches of 40-50 participants each, in February- March 2018.                  A final leg of trainings was conducted on 23rd and 24th of May 2018, with participants from CSOs from across the nation. The was felt that CSOs can play a major role in taking forward the initiative of imparting electoral literacy through games and activities within their respective organizations as well as the communities they work with. Presently, training of conveners on the ground level is taking place in all States and UTs. As an aid to these trainings, SVEEP has developed a documentary which is essentially a collection of activities under the programme. It is also available as tutorials on SVEEP portal. No project is complete without the evaluation, hence National Law University, Delhi has been enrolled for the evaluation and impact assessment of the project. Teams of NLU have visited ELCs different states in different phases, of ELC, with the 1 st phase starting between September - October, 2018. Through these stepping stones, Election Commission of India embarks on a ceaseless journey of strengthening democracy via these young and future voters of the country.
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      cVIGIL Mobile App: Report MCC violations

      - by Kushal Pathak, Director, ECI   Once election dates are announced, the ‘Model Code of Conduct’ becomes operative. In order to maintain level playing field and fairness of the election process, it is imperative that all stakeholders adhere to the principles enunciated in the MCC. However, MCC violations are a reality and so are the cases of lodging spurious complaints. In the above backdrop, ECI undertook the development of cVIGIL Mobile Application which allows vigilant citizens to give live reports on incidents of MCC violation within minutes of having witnessed them. They don’t have to rush to the office of the returning officer in their assembly constituency. In case of a registered complaint, a unique ID number is generated to allow the citizen to track her complaint status. Anonymous complaints do not get any identification numbers for tracking purpose. Citizens can download the application from Google Play Store. Citizens can use cVIGIL to only report MCC violation cases. For other complaints, they can use the facility available in the mobile app/website of ECI Citizen Services. The salient features of cVIGIL mobile application are: ● Location is automatically captured from the application ● Anonymous and Non –Anonymous logins allowed ● Photo cannot be clicked outside the mobile application ● 5 minutes to capture real photos/Audio and submit from Mobile application ● Allow only Live Photos and Videos to be submitted Once an incident of MCC violation is reported by cVIGIL, it is forwarded to a Flying Squad for investigation. The Flying Squad also utilizes a separate mobile App to track the complaints on GIS map and file investigation report.  The Beta Version application was rolled out to take feedback from Beta testers from four Poll Going States i.e. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan. The purpose of the beta trials from 01 Aug to 24 Sep 2018 was to acquaint citizens and election staff with the application features by allowing them to file complaints with dummy data, test scalability & performance of the cVIGIL Application and seek end-user feedback regarding App features and User Interface. During the beta trials, cVIGIL mobile application was installed on 29093 Android smartphones and 243268 dummy test complaints were filed during this short period by the nominated officials of the 4 states. Alongwith the beta trials, a ‘User Experience Survey’ was also conducted. Objective and Subjective questionnaire in our Survey for better understanding of user feedback and their responses were captured for analyzing the response. During beta trials a total of 884 feedbacks were received. Perusal of the feedback from beta testers indicates that: ● 96% users said that finding cVIGIL App from Google Play Store was easy. ● Close to 95% users liked the logo of the app ● 90% users took less than 2 minutes to download the app ● Close to 84% users found cVIGIL App to be fast. ● Close to 80% of the respondents found the location captured by the app to be very accurate or somewhat accurate ● 523 respondents out of 884 found the live photo/Video capturing feature of the app to be the most valuable.   https://youtu.be/Nya_QbPvjoI  
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      Special Issue of VoICE International launched

      The Chief Election Commissioner of India Mr. O P Rawat, Election Commissioners Mr. Sunil Arora and Mr. Ashok Lavasa launched the special issue of the VoICE International(April-September 2018) magazine in Chief Electoral Officer’s Conference on October 4, 2018 at ECI Headquarters. The theme of the special issue (April – September 2018) of Volume II of the magazine is ‘Voter Education through Educational Institutions’. It primarily focuses on introducing greater electoral awareness and sensitivity among the future generation of voters and electoral participants; an issue that has great significance and relevance for investment in the future of Electoral Democracy. Apathy of the youth towards electoral participation and non-exercise of their franchise by a large proportion of them is a major concern in several democratic countries. In this respect, effective electoral literacy programmes through school and college level initiatives are an important means of encouraging participation of youth in the electoral process. Further, the outreach of electoral literacy initiatives can be increased manifold through the use of electronic, internet and social media. Most of the democracies across the world, conscious of the importance of such initiatives have taken significant steps towards introducing several initiatives toward their electoral literacy programmes using both formal and informal channels.  This issue highlights such initiatives across the world. Apart from contributions on the core theme, the magazine also features other articles by member Election Management Bodies(EMBs) on other important and pertinent subjects. The e-book of the magazine is available at http://voicenet.in/. All the prior issues (e-book/ pdf) of VoICE International are available at http://voicenet.in/voiceinternational.htm. VoICE International is the quarterly e-publication on the VoICE.NET (Voter Information, Communication and Education Network) portal, a Global Knowledge Network for sharing knowledge, resources and expertise on Voter Education. VoICE.NET was launched on October 20, 2016 at the International Conference on Voter Education for Inclusive, Informed and Ethical Participation held at New Delhi. The Global Knowledge Network is a part of the New Delhi Declaration adopted at the Conference by the 25 Election Management Bodies and representatives from UNDP, International IDEA, IFES and Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre. At present, VoICE.NET has 27 members, which includes Election Management Bodies (EMBs) across the world and reputed international organizations.  The portal is managed by Election Commission of India.  
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      Election preparations in 5 States

      Preprations in the five states of Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana are in full swing. The dates of elections are as follows: Chhattisgarh - 12th and 20th November (2 phases) Madhya Pradesh - 28th November Mizoram - 28th November Rajasthan - 7th December Telangana - 7th December Counting for all the five states will be held on December 11, 2018.   Voter Facilitation Centres have been activated in all the districts. Special campaign including hands on experience, has been undertaken on EVM & VVPAT awareness starting September 2018. Camps are being organised to give hands-on experience to people on EVM and VVPAT especially to familarise them on the use of VVPAT for verifying their vote. Awareness film on EVM and VVPAT has been developed and widely disseminated through Cinemas, Cable TV besides Social Media including whatsapp besides others.    With focus on 'Accessible Elections', special initiatives have been rolled out to facilitate persons with disabilities. Besides making awareness material accessible, extending EPIC in Braille for blind electors, sensitization of polling officials and making polling station accessible, electors with disabilities are being mapped Polling Station wise so that requisite facilitation can be extended on poll day. Special camps are being held for PwDs to assist them for enrolment as well as to apprise them on various facilitation measures being extended at the Polling station for their participation. The Commission has also directed to issue Accessible Photo Voter Slips with Braille Features to Persons with Visual Impairment or Blind.   Mobilisation activities are being taken up across the states covering all polling stations to motivate people toward electoral participation. Information regarding dates, identity documents needed, do's and don't's at polling station are being disseminated besides promotion ethical and informed participation. Information on NOTA is also being disseminated. Students are supporting ECI SVEEP initiatives by participating in large numbers in painting competitions, sports activities and similar events being organised by the election officials.   Electoral Literacy Clubs and Chunav pathshalas launched few months back are proving to be vibrant platforms for disseminating information on the electoral process.   Voter Guide (in Vernacular / English) shall be handed over to every household ahead of the elections, giving information about the date and time of polls, contact details of the BLOs, important websites, helpline numbers, documents required for identification at the polling station besides other important information including the Do’s and Don’ts for voters at the polling station. This Voter Guide Brochure will be distributed along with the Photo Voter Slips by the BLOs.   Pics: Mock elections being done in Mizoram; EVM/VVPAT demo being given to a PwD elector in telangana; Human Chain formed in Chhattisgarh; Painting by students in Madhya Pradesh; School students painting in Rajasthan; Voter Guide;   Elections were announced by the Commission on 5th October 2018. the detailed press note can be seen at https://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/Current/PN_06102018.pdf                    
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      Sign language Session for ECI Officials by ISLRTC

      Election Commission of India, in its commitment towards Accessible Elections, organised Sign Language Training Session for officials of the Commission in collaboration with ISLRTC (Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre) on September 12, 2018 at ECI Headquarters in New Delhi.     The training was conducted by experts from ISLRTC (Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre) wherein the officers were acquainted with basic as well as election related sign languages symbols such as Election, Identity Card, Address and Polling Booth etc. Besides, information related to basic etiquette while conversing with persons with disabilities was also shared with the Officials of the Commission and they were sensitized regarding the needs of Deaf persons. The session saw enthusiastic participation of the officials. A sensitization activity was conducted through a live demonstration of a mock poll to understand the frequently asked questions/ issues of the deaf voters.     The aim of the workshop was to sensitize election officials to the needs of persons with disabilities so as to be better able to respond to their needs & facilitate them during the election process.   In July 2018, Election Commission of India organised a two day National Consultation on Accessible Elections in New Delhi where the Commission declared a series of facilitation measures for Persons with Disabilities, including training and sensitisation of Election Officials.        
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      Voice India

      Released on January 25, 2018 – the Eighth National Voters’ Day at New Delhi by the Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, VoICE India is a bi-annual magazine that aims to showcase the national initiatives and innovations in the field of voter education and outreach in India. The magazine focuses on maximizing the national experience – sharing in voter education and learning and would be a repository of good practice from across the country to inspire the election officials to emulate and implement successful endeavors. The magazine is in English and Hindi. The publication would also be shared with various public libraries, Schools and Colleges/ Universities. The cover story for the first edition revolves around a challenging enterprise undertaken under the last year’s theme ‘Empowering Young and Future Voters’ mainstreaming of Electoral Literacy through setting up Electoral Literacy Clubs. The issues also consist of Best Electoral Practices Awards, 2018 and some of the best practices of 2017 from different Indian States. Voice India would also serve as a platform for bringing forth stories and experiences from the grass roots so that the exchange of information and learning is not just uni-dimensional.   
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      National Consultation on Accessible Elections

      The very foundation of a democracy lies in the representation of all stakeholders and an indispensable part of nation-building starts with the inclusion of all in its electoral process. To uphold the spirit of free and fair elections, Election Commission of India declared ‘Accessible Elections’ as the theme for this year’s National Voters’  Day, i.e. 25th January 2018.  The theme seamlessly integrates with the underlying philosophy of universal adult suffrage and the concept of ‘No Voter to be Left Behind.’    On 3rd and 4th July 2018, the Election Commission of India organized a National Consultation on Accessible Elections at ‘The Lalit’, New Delhi, wherein all the 36 Chief Electoral Officers and representatives from Civil Society Organisations, working in the field of Disability deliberated upon ways and means to make elections completely accessible to Persons with Disabilities.   The two-day Consultation was also attended by representatives of national political parties and senior officials from Ministries apart from notable media organisations. Ahead of the National Consultation, a series of Consultations with the stakeholders were conducted in Districts and States across the country to identify the existing barriers and challenges, assess the implementation of the directives given by Commission on the subject, consolidate and gain from good practices (including innovations and technological support) and for further engagement with the stakeholders. The reports of the Consultations from the States were documented into  the Consultation Reader and the same were carefully assessed and analyzed in the National Consultation.  Recommendations of the National Consultation would pave the way for a policy document on ‘Accessible Elections’ and action plan for the upcoming elections. Background To make elections accessible to persons with disabilities, efforts have been taken up in past years. A well designed framework of guidelines has been directed by Commission for facilitating PwDs at every step in the electoral process. Many States and Union Territories have done exemplary work for overcoming the barriers and creating accessible and friendly environment for PwDs. The International Conference on ‘Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in Electoral Processes’, held in January, 2018, aided to consolidate and gain from international experience. Prior to this, the Commission's resolve in support of inclusion of PwDs has also been conveyed through official directives dated March 12, 2016 and September 7, 2016. Schedule 3rd July, 2018   09:30 am - 10:30 am   Registration 10:30 am - 11:15 am   Inaugural Session 11:30 am - 01:30 pm   Technical Session -I (Accessible Elections-Sharing of Initiatives) 02:00 pm - 05:30 pm   Technical Session-II (Group Tasks)   4th July, 2018   09:15 am - 01:45 pm   Technical Session-II (Thematic Presentations) 09:15 am - 10:30 am    Theme: Accessible Registration process including use of IT 10:45 am - 12:15 pm    Theme: Accessible Polling Station including EVM/VVPAT and other Facilitation measures 12:15 pm - 01:45 pm    Theme: Voter Education and Leveraging Partnerships 02:30 pm - 04:00 pm   Closing Session         Proceedings Day 1    The National Consultation on Accessible Elections opened with an enthusiastic start with the participation of more than 50 Civil Society Organizations and all the Chief Electoral Officers of States/UTs besides members of National Political Parties and Ministries, Government of India.Reaffirming ECI’s commitment to make elections entirely inclusive, accessible and hassle free for PwDs, Chief Election Commissioner Mr O P Rawat said in the inaugural session - “Despite having International, National laws and treaties or procedures in place, there is still a gap in reaching out to PwDs because of the apathy towards electoral process. I urge all the participants to suggest effective measures and help us devise a policy that can serve as a model framework for all Election Management Bodies of the world. Master Ram Chandra, a technician who was instrumental in creating the Jaipur Foot, which is now famous worldwide for providing assistance to PwDs and like him there are many famous as well as unsung heroes who are the part of war against disability.”     In addition to that, Election Commissioner Mr Ashok Lavasa highlighted the importance of collaboration with stakeholders and society as a whole, while laying emphasis on awareness initiatives and spirit of volunteering among people to make the entire electoral process accessible. Concluding his remarks he said - “More Sensitized we are, More Sensible we become.”   The first day of consultation also witnessed the launch of new dynamic website for ECI’s SVEEP (Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation) Division with a dedicated section on PwDs and state of the art security and accessibility features.   The first technical session commenced with a presentation by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment followed by the presentation of Best Practices on Accessible Elections by the Chief Electoral Officers of Karnataka, West Bengal, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Meghalaya and District Election Officer of Mandya, Karnataka.    Break Out Groups Post lunch, the participants of the National Consultation were divided into five groups, for discussions under the second technical session, to cover specific disabilities.    Group 1: Blindness and Low Vision Group 2: Deaf and hard of hearing and mental illness Group 3: Locomotor Disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims, muscular dystrophy Group 4: Intellectual disability including autism, specific learning disability Group 5: Multiple disabilities including deaf-blindness   The groups read through the reports submitted by States/UT and assessed barriers, challenges specific to the disabilities; studied existing initiatives, took inputs from the participating CSOs and came up with findings and recommendations for thematic presentations.    Day 2   The second day of the consultation observed three panel discussions under the final technical session which featured presentations from representatives from each of the five groups. The theme for these panel discussions were as follows –    Theme 1: Accessible Registration Process including use of IT Theme 2 : Accessible Polling Station including EVM/VVPAT  & other Facilitation measures Theme 3 : Voter Education and leveraging Partnerships   The Closing Session of the National Consultation on Accessible Elections was graced by the presence of Hon'ble Chief Election Commissioner Mr O. P. Rawat, and Election Commissioners Mr Sunil Arora and Mr Ashok Lavasa. The Commission announced the following measures for the facilitation of PwDs.   Printing of EPIC (Electors Photo Identity Card) with Braille for Persons with Visual Impairment or Blind, Accessible Communication Awareness Materials A Mobile Application to motivate and educate  Appointment of Disability Coordinators at AC, District and State Level 5. Cascaded training on Accessibility to Poll officials Auxiliary Polling Stations  Accessible Photo Voter Slips Sign Language window in all the audio visual training and advertisement content material for the convenience of deaf persons Free Transport Facility for PwDs and their Assistants A new Accessible Division in India International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Management (IIIDEM), New Delhi   Strategic Framework for Accessible Elections   The deliberations held during the two day consultation resulted in a comprehensive, “Strategic Framework on Accessible Elections” which will help in making electoral process more accessible in the forthcoming State and National Elections. It would be a significant step in pursuit of Election Commission’s mission to leave no voter behind. The Strategic Framework on Accessible Elections is built around sensitization through education and training, community involvement of different sections of society, effective partnership with institutions and origination and creation of facilities to cater to the specific needs of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) with a view to increasing their participation.     You can read more about the Strategic Framework and its contents by following the given link - http://ecisveep.nic.in/news/election-commission-of-india-unveils-strategic-framework-on-accessible-elections-r3/      

About Us

SVEEPSystematic 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.   

Election Commission of India

ECIThe Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok SabhaRajya 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

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