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Election Commission Gears Up for General Elections: Observers Briefed on Key Responsibilities

Election Commission Gears Up for General Elections: Observers Briefed on Key Responsibilities

New Delhi:  In the run up to the forthcoming General Elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies, the Election Commission of India today organised a briefing for Observers to be deployed in the States/UTs.

Over 2150 senior officers drawn from IAS, IPS officers as well as officers from Indian Revenue Service and few other Central Services attended the briefing meeting which was organised in a hybrid mode at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Few officials joined virtually from the office of Chief Electoral Officers in their respective States/UTs. Around 900 General Observers, 450 Police Observers and 800 Expenditure Observers are being deployed in the forthcoming elections.

Reminding the Observers of their crucial role, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar directed them to ensure a level-playing field for free, fair, intimidation and inducement-free elections. CEC emphasised that the Observers as representatives of the Commission are expected to conduct themselves professionally and be accessible to all stakeholders including candidates. Observers were instructed to be tough but polite in their conduct on the field. He asked them to visit the polling stations and familiarise themselves with the geography and take stock of any vulnerabilities and sensitive areas.

Shri Kumar also mentioned that the Commission has re-drafted all circulars and updated the manuals, handbooks which are available on ECI website in a searchable and easy to read format. He added that handbooks and manuals have been prepared on the basis of roles and functions of different officials along with a checklist of Do’s and Don’ts.

During the briefing Meeting, all the Observers were briefed about the crucial insights so as to sensitise them regarding the Commission’s various new initiatives and directions.

During the day-long briefing sessions, the officers were given comprehensive and thorough inputs about the various aspects of election management by the Senior Deputy Election Commissioner, DECs and DGs of ECI. Detailed thematic presentations were made on Election planning, Observer’s roles and responsibilities, electoral roll issues, enforcement of Model Code of Conduct, legal provisions, EVM/VVPAT management, media engagement and the wide array of activities undertaken for voter facilitation under the Commission’s flagship SVEEP (Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation) programme.

The Observers were also acquainted with the various IT initiatives and mobile applications launched by the Commission for voter facilitation as well as effective and efficient management of election processes on the field.

The Observers were provided with a functional demonstration of EVMs and VVPATs and briefed about the multifarious technical security features, administrative protocols and procedural safeguards that surround the EVM ecosystem to make it completely secure, robust, reliable, tamper-proof and credible.

The Observers were briefed about the recently updated and comprehensive manuals, handbooks, compendium of instructions, Do’s and Don’ts on all thematics concerning election management to facilitate their work. The same are available on ECI website in ebook and searchable format for easy access to any instructions and guidelines.

The Commission deploys Observers under Section 20B of the Representation of the People Act,1951 and plenary powers of the Constitution. The Observers are entrusted with the crucial and solemn responsibility of observance of the election process, the fairness, impartiality and credibility which forms the bedrock of our democratic polity. The Commission puts a great deal of faith in its General, Police and Expenditure Observers and the role of such Observers in ensuring free and fair Elections is of utmost importance for the Commission. These Central Observers not only help the Commission in fulfilling its constitutional mandate of conducting free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections but also to enhance the voter awareness and participation in election. The main objective of Election Observation is to identify areas for improvements and to formulate concrete and operative recommendations. These Observers are known for being eyes and ears of the Commission.

(Source: PIB)

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