New Delhi: Heads and Representatives of 20 Election Management Bodies from across the World, namely Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Fiji, Georgia, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Romania, Russia, Srilanka, Suriname, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe and International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance have arrived in New Delhi to witness the ongoing General Elections to 17th Lok Sabha. More than 65 such delegates have been invited by Election Commission of India to join the Election Visitors Program.
Addressing the participants, the Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora lauded the foresight and vision of forefathers of Indian Constitution in establishing the Election Commission of India a day before the promulgation of the Republic. While quoting from Article 324 of the Constitution of India, Arora reiterated that Election Commission of India is firmly committed to ensure free, fair and robust elections in the country. He added that Election Commission of India had never been deterred by the sceptics and critics and as always, is committed to function as per the principles and ideals enshrined in the Constitution of India by our visionary forefathers. “The objective and intention of the Commission is to always keep learning from the experiences of the past for necessary course corrections for the future” Arora emphasised.
Citing vignettes from recent phases of election coverage, Arora said further efforts would be made to make the election process more robust, ethical, inclusive, accessible and participative. CEC announced that Committees will be set up to study best practices from the States, document issues and challenges faced; further improve upon procedural measures to strengthen learnings from these Elections and identify critical gaps if any. Arora also highlighted the recent IT initiatives taken and particularly the effectiveness of c-Vigil Application of the ECI which has truly empowered the citizens in help reporting instances of violations of MCC and play critical role in the entire electoral process.
Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa recalled that India has come a long way from 1950 when World was skeptical of decolonized India being able to handle democracy. “Its a tribute to forefathers of Indian Constitution that Universal Right to Vote was granted from day one” he pointed out. “We take comfort from the fact that from the first election of 1952 when mere 170 million electorates, spread across 2l akh polling stations, the participative exercise of Indian Elections has now grown to more than 910 million voters for whom ECI machinery organizes more than 10 lakh polling stations”. Lavasa noted that adoption and adaptation of technology embraced by ECI has helped manage this large scale electoral process, making it one of the largest management exercise in the World.
Senior officials of the Election Commission made comprehensive presentations to apprise the foreign delegates on the role and responsibilities of the Election Commission of India and various challenges in planning and organizing elections in the world’s largest democracy.
Second issue of ECI’s quarterly magazine “My Vote Matters” was also released on this occasion by the Commission. The Magazine presents a comprehensive glimpse of preparatory initiatives in different States for the ongoing elections. First issue of this magazine was presented by Chief Election Commissioner Sh Sunil Arora to the Hon’ble President of India Ram Nath Kovind on the National Voters’ Day 25th January 2019.
The Delegates also included a team of 6 Members and 9 Sr. Election officers from Election Commission of Myanmar visiting India as part of training program being conducted by the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management under the sponsorship of the Ministry of External Affairs.