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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Record-Breaking Global Delegation Observes India’s General Election

In keeping with the tradition of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to foster a culture of transparency and reiterate its commitment to high standards of electoral practices amidst the democratic nations, 75 delegates representing 23 countries are in India to witness the Indian General Elections as part of the International Election Visitors’ Programme (IEVP). The event today was inaugurated in the presence of CEC Shri Rajiv Kumar and ECs Shri Gyanesh Kumar and Shri Sukhbir Singh Sandhu at New Delhi.

Chief Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar while addressing the delegates, remarked that the contribution of the Indian electoral space and work done by the Election Commission of India, holds a significant portion of the world democratic space. In terms of process and capacity it generates, what can be legitimately called, ‘democratic surpluses’ is of a huge significance in the otherwise growing concerns of shrinkage of or decline of democratic spaces worldwide.

Shri Kumar further said that the Indian elections space is unique, as neither electoral registration is compulsory nor voting is mandatory. Therefore, the ECI is required to operate in an entirely persuasive space, inviting the citizens to volunteer to become part of electoral roll and, thereafter, through systematic voter awareness programme, to motivate them to exercise their franchise. He said “It would be axiomatic to say that the credibility of the processes that we undertake is validated through the sheer turnout at elections and the near saturation of electoral rolls in terms of Elector-population ratio.”

Commenting on the scale of the electoral exercise in India, he said that a 970 million strong electorate will be welcomed by over 15 million polling personnel at over 1 million Polling Stations spread across the country. Shri Kumar added that diversity of the nation’s electorate can be witnessed in its full expression by the visiting delegates at the Polling Stations. He added that India is a country of festivals and invited the delegates to experience the festival of democracy first-hand.

On the sidelines of the event, the Commission also held bilateral interactions with the Chief Election Commissioners of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Nepal along with their delegation.

Earlier, in the day delegates were briefed on various aspects of Indian General Elections 2024 including EVM-VVPAT, IT initiatives, role of media and social media. The briefing session chaired by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Sh. Dharmendra Sharma included an overview of Elections by Sh. R.K. Gupta, Deputy Election Commissioner followed by a presentation on EVM-VVPAT by Sh. Nitesh Kumar, Sr. Deputy Election Commissioner. A presentation on the IT Initiatives of the ECI by Ms. Neeta Verma, Director General (IT) and Media and social media by Sh. Anuj Chandak, Joint Director (Media) was part of the session.

The delegates will split into groups to visit six states—Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh to observe polls and related preparedness in various constituencies. The programme will end on the 9th of May, 2024. The program will familiarise foreign EMB delegates with the nuances of India’s electoral system as well as the best practices in Indian election.

This year, commensurate to the scale and stature of the on-going Lok Sabha Elections 2024, the largest ever delegation representing various Election Management Bodies (EMBs) and organization’s from 23 countries namely – Bhutan, Mongolia, Australia, Madagascar, Fiji, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Moldova, Tunisia, Seychelles, Cambodia, Nepal, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Chile, Uzbekistan, Maldives, Papua New Guinea and Namibia are taking part in the event. Members from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), and media teams from Bhutan and Israel are also participating.

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