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The 9th National Voters’ Day (NVD) is celebrated across the country on 25th January 2019. The theme for NVD this year was ‘No Voter to be Left Behind’ reiterating the commitment of Election Commission of India (ECI) in view of the Lok Sabha elections due later this year. Hon’ble President of India Sh. Ram Nath Kovind, while presiding over the National Function organized by ECI at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi hailed various interventions taken up by the Commission for conduct of free, fair and participative elections and particularly appreciated the initiatives for reaching out to voters in the remotest corner to enroll their names in the electoral roll and to encourage them to exercise the Right to Vote. Referring to his recent visit to Gir National Forest in Gujarat where he came know about set up of a polling station in the remote location that too for a single voter, Shri Kovind lauded the efforts of ECI to make every vote count in consonance with the theme of the year. He said that it speaks for the enlightenment of the framers of our Constitution that the Election Commission was set up as an independent and constitutional body at the very birth of the Republic of India. This reflects an immense regard and deep-rooted belief in democracy and the democratic spirit. Talking about the electoral process – beginning with the preparation of electoral rolls and concluding with the declaration of election results – he said it is difficult for an ordinary person to comprehend the complexity of the entire process. The President said that through all this, the credibility of Indian electoral system has continuously strengthened and Indian voters have a firm belief in the integrity, diligence, fairness and transparency of the election mechanism of the country. Applauding winners of the National Awards the President asked them to keep contributing to conduct of free and fair elections. Congratulating the new voters who were handed over the EPIC on this occasion, he asked them to take informed decision while casting their vote and said that their decision will define the future of the country. He said voters and election commission are most crucial to democracy and they compliment each other and also appreciated various initiatives taken by the Commission under the SVEEP programme particularly mentioning the Electoral Literacy Club (ELC) Programme and the All Women Managed Polling Station initiative. On receiving the inaugural issue of the new magazine of ECI he said that the magazine is most appropriately titled “My Vote Matters” and that every vote counts and counts equally in the formation of a government. Speaking on the same occasion, Sh Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister, Law & Justice complimented ECI for the stellar role played by it for strengthening the Indian democracy. He lauded the courage, commitment and foresight shown by successive Commissions for conduct of free & fair elections and said that all should trust and believe the sanctity of the election process. Appreciating various initiatives of ECI for voter education and outreach he said voter education is integral to a good democracy. Earlier while addressing the audience, Shri Sunil Arora, Chief Election Commissioner reiterated Commission’s commitment to make elections more and more inclusive, voter friendly, transparent and festive and shared the new initiatives being taken up for efficient and effective connect with the voters and for strengthening the elector confidence. He briefed the audience about the cVIGIL initiative that provides time stamped evidentiary proof of model code of conduct and expenditure violation by empowering every citizen to click a photo or video using Smartphone. In his welcome address, Shri Ashok Lavas, Election Commissioner briefed the audience about the significance of the day, saying that on this day we celebrate liberty and maturing of young minds into responsible citizens and thanked all stakeholders including voluntary organisations for their support. My Vote Matters, a quarterly bi-lingual magazine was launched at the function and the First Issue was presented by the Commission to the Hon’ble President of India. The new magazine hosts interesting and informative articles on many core subjects, new initiatives and topics of concurrent interest in elections, electoral processes and practices with the objective of developing a larger connect and interface with all the Stakeholders. As part of the regular NVD activity of felicitating the newly eligible voter, 6 young voters from Delhi were handed over their EPIC by the Hon’ble President. The National Awards for the Best Electoral Practices were conferred to Officers for outstanding performance in the conduct of elections. Special Awards were given to Departments and Officers from various departments for their contribution in smooth conduct of elections the general election to the Assemblies of 9 states in 2018. In addition, Awards were also given to CSOs and Media Houses who have made outstanding contribution in the field of voter awareness and outreach in these elections. (Brochure attached) Chief Election Commissioners and senior officials from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Russia and Sri Lanka graced the occasion. Members of Political Parties, Members of Parliament besides Diplomats from various countries and representatives from national and international organizations working in the area of democracy and elections attended the national function and also visited the new campus of the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) at Dwarka, New Delhi.