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  1. 9th National Voters’ Day to be celebrated on 25th January 2019

    ECI/PN/13/2019         Dated: 24th January, 2019
    Press Note
    Subject: 9th National Voters’ Day to be celebrated on 25th January 2019
    The country will celebrate the 9th National Voters' Day on 25th January 2019 at more than 6 lakh locations covering around 10 lakh Polling Stations across the country. New Voters shall be felicitated and handed over their EPIC (Elector Photo Identity Card) in the NVD function. 
    Hon’ble President of India Sh. Ram Nath Kovind will be the Chief Guest at the national function being organized by Election Commission of India at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt. Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Law Minister shall also grace the national function. In view of the upcoming Lok Sabha Election, ‘No Voter to be Left Behind’ has been selected as the theme for the NVD.
    My Vote Matters, a Quarterly Magazine is being launched on the occasion and the first copy shall be presented by the Commission to the Hon’ble President.
    The National Awards for the Best Electoral Practices shall be conferred to Officers for outstanding performance in the conduct of elections. In addition, awards are also being given to CSOs and Media Houses who have made outstanding contribution in the field of voter awareness and outreach.  
    Chief Election Commissioners and senior officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Russia and Sri Lanka shall grace 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 are also expected to attend the national function. 
    The National Voters’ Day (NVD) is celebrated all over the country on January 25 every year since 2011 to mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India, which was established on this day in the year 1950. The main purpose of the NVD celebration is to encourage, facilitate and maximize the enrollment, especially for the new voters. Dedicated to the voters of the country, the Day is utilized to spread awareness among voters for promoting informed participation in the electoral process. 

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  2. Announcement of Schedule for General Elections to Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha & Sikkim, 2019

    Alternate link to download the press note: Announcement of Schedule for General Elections to Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha & Sikkim, 2019
     
     
     
     

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  3. ANNOUNCEMENT OF SCHEDULE FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS TO LOK SABHA AND LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLIES IN ANDHRA PRADESH, ARUNACHAL PRADESH, ODISHA & SIKKIM, 2019.

    No. ECI/PN/24/2019     Dated:10th March, 2019
     PRESS NOTE
     SUBJECT: ANNOUNCEMENT OF SCHEDULE FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS TO LOK SABHA AND LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLIES IN ANDHRA PRADESH, ARUNACHAL PRADESH, ODISHA & SIKKIM, 2019.
     In continuation of the Commission’s Press Note No. ECI/PN/23/2019, dated 10th March, 2019, the following may be read as:
    2.         The date of poll in respect of Bye Elections for 18 ACs of Tamil Nadu, as mentioned at Sl.No. 14 to Sl. No. 31, as already scheduled for Phase 2(Two) of Election, shall be read as 18th April, 2019 instead of 23rd April, 2019.
    3.         In the details of Schedule No. 3, 4 & 5 in respect of PC (3-Anantnag) in Jammu & Kashmir, the Date of Issue of Notification, Last Date of Filing Nominations, Scrutiny of Nominations & Last Date for Withdrawal of Candidature, shall be read as 28th March, 2019, 04th April, 2019, 05th April, 2019 & 08th April, 2019, respectively only with Dates of Poll as 23rd April, 2019, 29th April, 2019 & 06th May, 2019, respectively.
    4.         Accordingly, the election schedule for Anantnag PC of Jammu & Kashmir will be held as per schedule:
    1
    Issue of Notification­
    28.03.2019
    2
    Last Date of filing Nominations
    04.04.2019
    3
    Scrutiny of Nominations
    05.04.2019
    4
    Last date for withdrawal of Candidature
    08.04.2019
    5 (a)
    Date of poll (in Anantnag District)
    23.04.2019
    5 (b)
    Date of poll (in Kulgam District)
    29.04.2019
    5 (c)
    Date of poll (Shopian & Pulwama Districts)
    06.05.2019
    6
    Counting of Votes
    23.05.2019
     

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  4. Biennial Election to the Legislative Councils of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by the members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) – reg.

    ECI/PN/18/2019     Dated: 18th February, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
     Subject: Biennial Election to the Legislative Councils of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by the members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) –  reg.
    The term of five members each of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council and Telangana Legislative Council elected by the members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) is expiring on 29th March, 2019, details are given as under:
    S.No.
    Name of the Member
    Date of Retirement
    ANDHRA PRADESH
    1.                 
    Ponguru Narayana
     
     
    29th March, 2019
    2.                 
    Lakshmi Siva Kumari Anguri
    3.                 
    Pamidi Samanthakamani
    4.                 
    Ramakrishnudu Yanamala
    5.                 
    Appa Rao Adireddy
    TELANGANA
    6.                 
    Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy
     
     
    29th March, 2019
    7.                 
    Mohd. Ali Shabbir
    8.                 
    Thiruvaragarm Santosh Kumar
    9.                 
    Mohmmed Saleem
    10.              
    Mohd. Mahmood Ali
              Now, the Commission has decided to hold Biennial Election to the Legislative Councils of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by the members of respective Legislative Assemblies in accordance with the following schedule:
     
    S. No.
    Event
    Days and Date
    1.                 
    Issue of Notification
    21st February, 2019 (Thursday)
    2.                 
    Last date of making nominations
    28th February, 2019 (Thursday)
    3.                 
    Scrutiny of nominations
    1st March, 2019 (Friday)
    4.                 
    Last date for withdrawal of candidatures
    5th March, 2019 (Tuesday)
    5.                 
    Date of poll
    12th March, 2019 (Tuesday)
    6.                 
    Hours of poll 
    9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
    7.                 
    Counting of Votes
    12th March, 2019 (Tuesday) at 5.00 p.m.
    8.                 
    Date before which election shall be completed
    15th March, 2019 (Friday)
     
     
     
     

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  5. Biennial/Bye Elections to the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Legislative Council –reg.

    ECI/PN/21/2019        Dated: 24nd February, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Subject: Biennial/Bye Elections to the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Legislative Council –reg.
    The term of office of following sitting members of the Andhra Pradesh & Telangana Legislative Council are due to expire as per the details given below:
    ANDHRA PRADESH
    Sl. No.
    Name of  Constituency
    Name of the Member
    Date of retirement
    1.
    East –West Godavari Graduates’
    Kalidindi Ravi Kiran Varma
     
    29.03.2019
    2.    
    Krishna-Guntur Graduates’
    Boddu Nageswara Rao
    3.
    Srikakulam-Vizianagaram-Visakhapatnam Teachers’
    Gade Srinivasulu Naidu
    TELANGANA
    1.
    Medak-Nizamabad-Adilabad-Karimnagar Graduates’
    K. Swamy Goud
     
     
    29.03.2019
    2.
    Medak-Nizamabad-Adilabad-Karimnagar Teachers’
    Paturi Sudhakar Reddy
    3.
    Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda Teachers’
    Poola Ravinder
    4.
    Hyderabad Local Authorities’
     
     M.S. Prabhakar Rao
    01.05.2019
     
    2. Also, one vacancy in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council has occurred on 3rd October, 2018 due to death of sitting member, Dr. M.V.V.S. Murthi from Visakhapatnam Local Authorities’ Constituency. The term of Dr. M.V.V.S. Murthi is up to and including 11.08.2021.
    3. Amendment of Delimitation Order of Council Constituencies in Telangana  is under process; however, the Commission has decided to conduct the aforesaid elections as per the existing delimitation.
    4. Now, the Commission has decided to hold above mentioned Biennial Election to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Legislative Councils and bye election to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council from Visakhapatnam Local Authorities’ Constituency, in accordance with the following schedule:
     
    EVENTS
    DATES & DAYS
    1
    Issue of Notifications
    25th February, 2019 (Monday)
    2
    Last date of making nominations
    5th March, 2019 (Tuesday)
    3
    Scrutiny of nominations
    6th March, 2019 (Wednesday)
    5
    Last date for withdrawal of candidatures
    8th March, 2019 (Friday)
    6
    Date of poll
    22nd March, 2019 (Friday)
    7
    Hours of poll        
    8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
    8
    Counting of Votes
    26th  March, 2019 (Tuesday)
    9
    Date before which election shall be completed
    28th March, 2019 (Thursday)

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  6. Chief Election Commissioner of India reviews election preparedness in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh in connection with Lok Sabha Elections- 2019

    No.ECI/PN/2/2019
    Dated: 7th January, 2019
    Press Note
    Subject: Chief Election Commissioner of India reviews election preparedness in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh in connection with Lok Sabha Elections- 2019
    Sh. Sunil Arora, Chief Election Commissioner of India today reviewed the election preparedness of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh in connection with the forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections in 2019.

    The Commission while reviewing the poll preparedness took meeting with the Chief Electoral Officers of Punjab, Haryana and UT of Chandigarh and discussed various issues related to provision of Assured Minimum Facilities (AMFs) at the Polling Stations, strengthening of manpower and infrastructure of CEO’s offices, filling up of all vacant positions of elections functionaries at the field level, availability of EVMs/VVPATs and other election material, adequate budget provisions etc. The Chief Electoral officers of Punjab, Haryana Special Summary Revision (w.r.t 01-01-2019), Voter Helpline (1950) and other IT Applications.  and UT of Chandigarh also briefed the CEC about the progress of 
    This was followed by a comprehensive discussion with the Chief Secretary, DGP, Home Secretary and other senior Officials of Punjab and Haryana, as also with the Advisor to Administrator and other senior officials of Union Territory of Chandigarh on the various election related arrangements to be in place for the smooth and peaceful conduct of elections in a free, fair, inclusive, participative and credible manner.   
    Sh. Arora emphasized the urgent need to create a comprehensive data base of PwD voters along with their PS-wise mapping to ensure that adequate assistance is provided to all PwD voters on day of Poll, which is very important to realize the Commission’s motto of ‘No Voter to be Left Behind’. The Chief Election Commissioner directed that forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections should be made voter friendly and all necessary facilitations should be provided specially to Persons with Disability, senior citizens and women.
    CEC also stressed on the imperative of imparting robust and comprehensive training to all election related officials, at all levels on the entire spectrum of election related matters including ERO-NET, BLO-NET, revision of Electoral Rolls and implementation of IT applications like Suvidha, Samadhan, Sugam, cVIGIL, and Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS).

    The review meeting was also attended by Shri Umesh Sinha, Senior Deputy Election commissioner, Shri Dhirendra Ojha, Director General and Shri Nikhil Kumar, Director.
     

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  7. Commission’s State Review of J&K for Poll Preparedness

    Commission’s  State Review of  J&K for Poll Preparedness
    Dated 4th and 5th March 2019
    Press note
     Jammu 5th March 2019
    Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora accompanied by Election Commissioners Shri Ashok Lavasa and Sh Sushil Chandra alongwith the team of officers from Election Commission of India, conducted a two day review of Poll Preparedness of the State of Jammu and Kashmir on 4th and 5th March 2019.
    During the visit, the Commission met with representatives of various political parties and noted their issues and concerns. The Commission took note of their concerns for holding free, fair and ethical elections. The Commission reviewed the work of District Election Officers, SPs/Commissioner of Police, Divisional Commissioners and IGs and discussed election preparedness with Chief Secretary, DGP and other Nodal Officials of the State. The Commission also met with Nodal officers of Income Tax, Excise, Narcotics Control, Customs, Banks, Postal Department, Railways, Airports and with State Level Bankers Committee convener to review in detail the strategy to curb misuse of money/liquor & freebies distribution during the election.
    Highlights of the issues discussed during the meeting and instructions of the Commission include issues regarding Electoral Roll; Polling Arrangements;  Security arrangements required for conducting Elections in the State as also Expenditure monitoring concerns among other issues detailed below.
    Specifically, the Political Party Representatives mentioned on Electoral Roll issues, that copies of the Roll have not been received by their Central offices. They also requested for copies in English apart from Hindi and Urdu. Some instances of duplicate voters were pointed out. Some parties voiced concern for Migrant Voters finding the M Form procedure not very convenient. They desired that special Polling Stations be set up for such migrant voters rather than them needing to make separate trips for filling the form. Delays in printed Electors Photo Identity Cards were mentioned.
    Regarding Polling arrangements, Some Representatives pointed out that Polling Stations are shifted at very late stages citing security concerns and causing confusion about the location. At times with such relocation, Polling Booths get set up far from their residences and travel to the distant PS makes them vulnerable on commute enroute. The representatives desired that Polling stations be set up closer to areas where large number of voters reside.
    On the issue of Need for Elections, almost all Political Parties voiced the need to have both – Parliamentary and Assembly Elections conducted at the earliest in the State saying that recent turnout in the Panchayat and ULB elections, suggests that general population in the State wishes to have their democratically elected government in place. They said the party representatives and public at large have full faith in ECI that they would fulfill their constitutional mandate to conduct free and fair elections in the State.
    With respect to Security Arrangements, Representatives from all Political Parties emphasized that due security arrangements be made to provide adequate security to voters and candidates so as to instill confidence in them for conducive environment for forthcoming elections. Some political party members desired that adequate security should be continued for ex-Ministers and candidates even after actual election process is over.
    Among other Miscellaneous issues, the Parties cited instances of transfer of some officers in violation of ECI norm was brought to the notice of the Commission. They requested that officials who can adversely influence conduct of free and fair elections, should not be allowed to continue in their posts. They also said given the snowbound conditions in the State, polling dates be considered after month of May.
     Commission's assurance and instructions
    The Commission is committed to deliver free, fair, peaceful, transparent, ethical and inclusive elections. The Commission attaches prime importance to ensuring conducive environment for conducting elections in the State keeping in view the specific concerns of the State. Effective mechanism is being fine tuned for smooth conduct of the electoral process. The Commission has directed the State level and District Level Election Machinery to meticulously coordinate all logistics arrangements for smooth conduct of elections and make comprehensive action plans so as to instill absolute confidence in all stakeholders. Officers have been asked to ensure Effective monitoring and vigilance. 
     The Commission solicits proactive support of all political parties, media organisations, civil society, youth and community organisations and all voters of the State to join hands with the Commission and wholeheartedly participate in poll process.
    Election Commission attaches utmost priority to ensure purity of Electoral Rolls. All DEOs have tried their best to enroll all eligible voters. While Final publication of Electoral Rolls has been done on 7th February, 2019 and copies of the same have been distributed at district level, copies as desired will also be made available to all Political Parties in Hard as well soft form. The Electoral Rolls without photographs have also been hosted on the CEO’s official website. Efforts are still on to include those who have been left out. Special camps are being organised by DEOs.
     Special camps have already been organized by CEO on 23rd & 24th February 2019 and more camps are being organized in the month of March. The Commission’s motto is ‘No Voter To Be Left Behind’ and our officers will make all efforts to register all eligible voters.
    As mere possession of Electoral Photo Identity Card is not sufficient – a #GOVERIFY campaign has been started so that voters can proactively confirm their own name in the Electoral Roll. Recently it also has been clarified that Electors Photo Identity Card or one of the eleven specified photo identity documents will be essential for casting vote and the Photo Voter Slips issued will not be valid as stand-alone identification document for voting.
    As regards the specific concern pointed out for M Forms for Migrant Voters, it was explained to the Party representatives also that to facilitate registration,voting and other issues/grievances, at present there are three AERO-Migrants (Assistant Electoral Registration Officers) who also perform duties of AROs as well as BLOs (Booth Level Officers) appointed specially to register the Kashmiri migrants. Special camps were conducted at the migrant camps during SSR 2019 which resulted in addition of 4988 Kashmiri migrant voters during last one year.  Two more Special Camps are being organised on 6th and 7th March, 2019 for migrant voters in all 26 special polling stations.
    Similarly to facilitate Voting, Three Assistant Returning Officers (Migrants) are appointed ,one each for Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi. 26 Special Polling Stations are setup for voting by migrants at Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi. Dedicated EPIC printing facility has been provided in the office of Relief Commissioner J&K. Due publicity for these special arrangements shall be scaled up for benefit of all concerned.
    Regarding Security Concerns, the Commission is indeed mindful of the specific challenging law and order situation in the State of J&K and especially in certain Assembly segments given their location and concerns. Commission will look into due security arrangements while deciding on the timing and phasing of the elections. Commission does as a matter of practice keep in mind local festivals, geographical conditions and related needs while deciding the schedule of election dates. The Commission would also keep in view the sentiments voiced by the representatives with respect to need for restoring democratically elected government in the State. The Commission is aware that Elections have been conducted in the past under trying circumstances in the State. J&K elections do attract global and national attention more than any other State.
    For the first time in the forthcoming general elections, VVPATs will also be used at all Polling Booths along with the EVM machines. Thus the officers need to ensure due awareness to all stakeholders about proper usage of the machines. The officers were also asked to strictly adhere to the laid down procedures and Standard Operating Procedures about use, storage and Transportation of the machines in all the constituencies. The Chief Electoral Officer has been directed that VVPAT awareness campaign be continued upto the booth and hamlet level.
    Commission has directed effective use of single window system, facilitation through IT applications.  Commission has also facilitated empowerment of Voters to report violations of Model Code of Conduct and abuse of money power by activating the cVigil App. The cVigil app will be activated in the State once the election dates are notified. Through this App, any citizen will be able to file complaints regarding MCC violations. The complaints thus received will be settled within the stipulated time frame. This app has been successfully operated in the recent legislative assembly elections held last year in other States.
    Samadhan, Suvidha, cVigil Apps have time-stamping facility to ensure transparency. SAMADHAN App helps to resolve complaints filed online and Parties or citizens need not depend on officials accepting/not accepting written complaints. The new SUVIDHA App is an integrated application – single window service on first come first serve basis to streamline candidate nomination, permissions, counting and results display. In addition Voter Helpline Mobile App, PwD App, Observers App will be used in forthcoming elections.
    For Voter Facilitation, Commission has instructed the State Election Officers to popularize the 1950 Help Line/NVSP portal for facilitating the Voters. The facilities of name search, name transfer, deletion, or modification can be done through "nvsp.in". Information can also be obtained by dialing the number 1950.
    The Voter Helpline Mobile app provides convenience to all Citizens of finding names in the electoral roll, submitting online forms, checking the status of the application, filing complaints and receiving the reply on their mobile app. All forms, results, candidate affidavit, press notes, Voter awareness and important instructions are available through the mobile app.
    By using the PwD App, Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) can request for new registration, change in address, change in particulars and mark themselves as PwD through the use of the mobile application. By simply entering their contact details, the Booth Level Officer is assigned to provide doorstep facility. PwDs can also request for a wheelchair during polling.
    For Expenditure Monitoring, the officers have been asked to identify expenditure sensitive constituencies. General, Expenditure and police observers will be deployed after the announcement of Election by the Commission in the state to monitor all the activities and advise the local administration in order to ensure that there is no illegal inducement of voters by distribution of liquor and freebies. The contact numbers of all of these observers will be made available to public.
    All DEOs will constitute the Election Expenditure Monitoring Teams as per ECI Instructions. Flying Squads and Static Surveillance Teams will be constituted to check distribution of cash, liquor, drugs and freebies in sensitive pockets and border areas. Transaction of money through banking channels will be monitored and fool-proof arrangements would be made to monitor suspicious banking transactions. The Media Certification and Monitoring Committees set up will look out for instances of Paid News also.
    Commission has directed that at least one all women managed polling station be set up wherever possible. The Commission has revamped the Electronically Transferred Postal Ballot System to facilitate Service Voters whereby their ballot is electronically transmitted one way saving time and on return the Service voters can send their vote by speed post
    After Special summary revision 2019  following status of electoral roll has emerged: 
    Total No. of Electors: 78,50,671 Male Electors: 40,37,993 Female Electors: 37,39,951 Service Voters: 72,727 18-19 Age group: 1,82,182 EP Ratio: 0.58% Gender Ratio: 926 PER %: 98.61 EPIC%: 92.93 Total PwD Electors flaged on ERO Net: 29,305 Total marked Electors: 916 Net increase of electors: 3.16% over Draft Roll  After SSR 2019 the total number of Polling Stations in the state is 11,316. The commission emphasized to ensure 100% AMF in all of them.The State Government has been directed to provide the AMF facilities for all the voters, specially to facilitate the PwD voters on all the polling station at the earliest.
    Commission has directed to organize a participative, inclusive and people-friendly Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) campaign through all modes of communication for ensuring ethical and informed voting.
    Commission is aware of the increasing concern about emerging role of social media in spread of information. The Commission has issued orders for partial modification in earlier guidelines that the Media Certification & Monitoring Committees at District and State level will need to be reconstituted with the inclusion of an Intermediary expert (intermediary as defined in section  2(w) of IT Act, 2000)/social media expert.  For the purpose of the certification of advertisements as per the Supreme Court order dated 13.04.2004, Returning Officer of the parliamentary constituency/District Election Officer, an ARO (not below SDM) and an Intermediary Expert/Social Media Expert shall be the members of the MCMC.             
    The Commission considers media as its invaluable ally for election management and for implementation of election related laws, instructions and for monitoring the orders. The Commission has directed that regular press briefings must be held by the CEO and the DEOs and all crucial information be passed on to all the stakeholders through the media.

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  8. ECI appoints Special Expenditure Observers for Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu

    ECI/PN/32/2019     Dated : 19th March 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Sub : ECI appoints Special Expenditure Observers for Maharashtra and    Tamil Nadu 
    Election Commission of India has appointed two eminent former Civil Servants Sh. Shailendra Handa & Ms. Madhu Mahajan as Special Expenditure Observers for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. While Sh. Shailendra Handa ex-IRS (1980) has been deployed in Maharashtra, Ms. Madhu Mahajan ex-IRS (1982) has been deployed in Tamil Nadu.  Both these officers have rich experience of working in Investigation Wing of I.T Department and have supervised many successful search and seizure actions unearthing tax evasion in complicated cases.
    The Special Observers will be supervising and monitoring the work being done by the electoral machinery and ensure that stringent and effective enforcement action is undertaken based on intelligence inputs and complaints received through C-VIGIL and Voter Helpline 1950 against all persons/entities  trying to induce voters by distributing cash, liquor & freebies etc.  in order to vitiate the poll process.

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  9. ECI conducts day long sessions to brief the General, Police and Expenditure Observers for the forthcoming Elections

    No. ECI/PN/27/2019    Dated: 14th March, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Sub. : ECI conducts day long sessions to brief the General, Police and Expenditure Observers for the forthcoming Elections 
    As a run up to the forthcoming Elections to the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies of four States, the Election Commission of India today organized the 1st briefing for Observers to be deployed in the Poll going States. Over 1800 senior officers drawn from IAS, IPS officers as also from Indian Revenue Service and few other Central Services attended the briefing meeting. These officers are being deployed as General, Police and Expenditure Observers.

     
    Reminding the Observers of their crucial role, the Chief Election Commissioner Sh Sunil Arora pointed out that the officers need to be earnest and have no choice but to ensure that no mistakes are committed. Sh Arora recalled that in the recent State elections held, it took all of miniscule percentages of instances of slippages in following the laid down protocol for EVM-VVPAT procedures or missing out of few names from Electoral Roll, or delay in Counting of votes, rendering all other good work done in the background. He reminded the officers that ECI, set up as a unique institution since 1950 to function as the very bedrock of democratic process, associates officers from varied fields to help conduct the elections as per well defined duties. CEC emphasised that while discharging the onerous duties as Observers while officers observe the electoral process, the ECI observes these officers to ensure that they sincerely discharge the assigned duties. Sh Arora noted that with changed times, concerns about abuse of money power and also social media are posing newer challenges.  He said the endeavour of ECI is not only to conduct free and fair elections but also transparent, clean and ethical elections. 
    Election Commissioner Sh Ashok Lavasa reminded the group that as Observers, they need to ensure implementation of all instructions of the ECI in letter and spirit. Sh Lavasa mentioned that the recently launched cVIGIL App has helped empower every citizen also to help the Commission keep a vigilant eye out for violations Model Code of Conduct. But availability of this App has itself put more responsibility on officers managing and overseeing the electoral system. He reiterated that the Observers need to be accessible and available to all stakeholders on the ground as the officers are literally the extended arms of ECI in the field.

     
    Addressing the officers, Election Commissioner Sh Sushil Chandra drew the attention of the Officers that as Observers their role is to be eyes and ears of the Commission in keeping a watchful eye and to take all preventive measures to ensure free and fair elections. He pointed out that the role of Expenditure Observers becomes crucial when methods of inducements to voters are becoming very innovative too.
    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 process in the field. The Observers were provided 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, non-tamperable and credible. 

     
    Comprehensive publications unveiled by the Commission, namely compilation of all thematic presentations on different subjects of Election Management, State/UT profiles and National Election Planner and Compendium of Instructions on Election Expenditure Monitoring were provided to the Observers to facilitate their work. 
    ECI for the first time has also started a  new mobile app called ‘Observer App’. Using this App, General, Police and Expenditure observers can submit their Observer's report securely to ECI  to upload the relevant document from the mobile app. The Observers will get all important notifications, alerts, and urgent messages on this App while they are on duty. It will also facilitate observers to get their deployment status, download the ID card and update their profile. Since the observers will be closely involved in real-time disposal of Model Code of Conduct and expenditure violation cases, cVIGIL App will help them see all these cases under their jurisdiction. The Observers can make a written observation after the flying squads have investigated the matter. Observers are put on deputation with ECI for the entire duration of the election process. 
     

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  10. ECI convenes a meeting of Multi-Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence

    No. ECI/PN/30/2019    Dated: 15th March, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Sub : ECI convenes a meeting of Multi-Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence 
    Chief Election Commissioner  Shri Sunil Arora along with Election Commissioners  Shri Ashok Lavasa and Shri Sushil Chandra today held a meeting of Multi Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence.  Heads of Tax Boards, Law enforcement agencies, Central Paramilitary Forces and representatives of Financial Institutions attended the meeting.

    Addressing the meeting, CEC  Shri Arora said it is the constitutional mandate of the Election Commission of India to conduct free and fair elections. Conducting clean elections is now one of the biggest challenges in our democracy given the prevalent abuse of money power, particularly when it manifests in inducement of voters.  He said Commission is determined to curb this menace and has issued  detailed guidelines to monitor election expenditure incurred by candidates and political parties.  The expenditure monitoring mechanism has got stronger over a period of time and larger seizures have been made by our enforcement teams in successive elections. He said individually and collectively the agencies participating in the meeting are the bulwarks of clean elections. The outcome of synergised action should exceed the commitments made.  
    Election Commissioner Shri Lavasa pointed out that implementation of ECI’s instructions on field requires co-ordination among the various expenditure monitoring teams and the agencies tasked with enforcement.  Sharing of Intelligence amongst the agencies should ensure that there is concerted attack on problems faced. He noted that multidimensional, multi-fanged crime needs to be tackled with coordinated action. He reminded the agencies that due follow-up action on seizures done in previous MCC phase should see demonstrative action against antisocial elements enough to feel deterred next time. He emphasised that mischief mongers are ever devising more ingenious ways to beat the system. 

    Election Commissioner Shri Chandra highlighted that election expenditure monitoring mechanism with its two thrust areas of  keeping track of the legal expenditure incurred by candidates and political parties for election campaigns, and more importantly, ensuring that there is no illegal use of money and other items for buying of votes, is vital to ensure clean elections. Use of money during the elections has increased by leaps and bounds in recent times and therefore there is greater need to have synergy amongst various enforcement agencies so that a collective strategy is developed to fight this menace.  The Commission desires that all enforcement agencies should have proper sharing of information for taken coordinated action rather than working in silos.
    The issues discussed at the meeting included ways of Curbing of covert expenditure by candidates and political parties; sensitisation of the law enforcement agencies about their role during elections; co-operation and sharing of intelligence of economic offences amongst law enforcement agencies for effective action; preparation of road map for action during the elections; mapping of constituencies by concerned agencies to check transportation of smuggled goods, drugs, liquor and cash, including fake currency, through seaports, inter-state borders and international borders and pro-active and preventive action by each law enforcement agency. The Heads of Tax Boards, Law enforcement agencies, Central Paramilitary Forces and representatives of Financial Institutions assured the Commission of prompt 24X7 expenditure monitoring and surveillance action and implementation of instructions to ensure curbing of abuse of money power in elections.
    The senior Officers who attended the meeting included Shri P.C. Mody, Chairperson & Member (Inv.), CBDT; Shri Pranab Kumar Das, Chairman, CBIC; Shri Sanjay Kumar Mishra, IRS, Director, Enforcement  Directorate; Smt. Mitali Madhusmita, IRS, DG, CEIB;  Shri Pankaj Kumar Mishra, IRS, Director, Financial Intelligence Unit-IND; Sh. Rajesh Ranjan, IPS,DG, CISF;  Shri Rajni Kant Mishra, IPS, DG, BSF;  Shri Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, IPS, DG, CRPF;  Shri Kumar Rajesh Chandra, IPS, DG, SSB;  Shri Abhay, IPS, DG, NCB; Shri Arun Kumar, IPS, DG, RPF; Shri Sunil Mehta, Chairman, Indian Bank Association; Shri Rakesh Asthana, IPS, DG, BCAS;  Sr. Level  Functionary from the RBI.

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  11. ECI convenes meeting with Social Media Platforms; IAMAI and Social Media Intermediaries Willingly Agree to come up with a Code of Ethics for the Industry Laying Down Operational Details

    No. ECI/PN/31/2019   Dated: 19th March, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Sub : ECI convenes meeting with Social Media Platforms; IAMAI and Social Media Intermediaries Willingly Agree to come up with a Code of Ethics for the Industry Laying Down Operational Details   
    Election Commission of India today had in-depth interactive session with representatives of various Social Media Platforms and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on the usage of Social Media ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
    In his opening remarks, Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora cited Model Code of Conduct as a unique and historic document which is followed by all political parties /entities from the date of declaration of schedule of elections till the election process is concluded. This Code is the outcome of consensus evolved amongst the different Political Parties and ECI. Infact, more often than not, this Code has obviated the need for application of more stringent provisions of law, he said. Shri Arora exhorted the Social Media Organizations, who are formidable force-multipliers, to come up with a similar Code for the ongoing election process in the immediate context and a lasting document in the long run. 
    Election Commissioner Shri Ashok Lavasa pointed out that today's has been a momentous meeting for evolution of ‘behaviour’ of Social Media platforms on Social Media. He said that voluntary restraint is a hallmark of civilized society and works as effectively as any regulation. He suggested that a clear clause on users' voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for election or political purposes should be considered by the management.
    Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra reminded the representatives that Election Commission of India is committed to ethical, free & fair elections. He reiterated that role of social media in helping spread information as well as curbing misinformation cannot be underestimated. He added that deterrents like some punitive action against users misusing the platform should be considered pro-actively. Shri Chandra said that a participative approach from the social media platforms would greatly help ECI meet its objectives. 
    The meeting was centered on discussing issues like appointment of dedicated grievance channel for expeditious action by the organizations, pre- certification and transparency in expenditure of political advertisements. The meeting also focused on evolving a notification mechanism by social media platforms for acting upon the violations of Section 126 of R.P. Act, 1951 and preventing misuse of these platforms. 
    Today's meeting was attended by the industry head Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and representatives from social media organizations such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat, TikTok and BigoTV.
    IAMAI and Social Media intermediaries willingly agreed to come up with a ‘Code of Ethics’ for the Industry laying down operational details by tomorrow evening. 
     

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  12. ECI meeting with Political Party representatives

    ECI/PN/15/2019           Dated: 4th February, 2019
    Press Note
    Subject: ECI meeting with Political Party representatives
     A delegation of Representatives of some National and State level recognised Political Parties met the Election Commission of India at Nirvachan Sadan today.
    The Commission heard the concerns of the Representatives regarding the demands related to the counting of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machine (VVPAT) slips.
    The Commission assured the Political Parties that issues raised by them would be deliberated and examined. While considering the averments made by the Political Parties, the Commission shall also keep in view the pronouncements made by the different Hon'ble Courts as well as the report expected shortly from the Indian Statistical Institute on the subject besides the overall administrative and operational feasibility on the ground, before firming up any response.   
     
     

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  13. ECI organises a Workshop for Radio Jockeys on Voter Awareness.

    ECI/PN/9/2019    Dated: 21st January, 2019
    Press Note
    Subject: ECI organises a Workshop for Radio Jockeys on Voter Awareness.
    Election Commission of India organized a workshop for Radio Jockeys (RJs) of leading FM channels including All India Radio and various private FM channels. Total 19 Radio jockeys from major FM channels viz. Big FM, Red FM, Fever 104 FM, Radio Nasha, Ishq FM and Radio City attended 2 hours interactive session, where they participated in activities for dissemination of voter education.
    The workshop is a part of the engagement taken up by the commission with the major stakeholders. FM radio is one of the important medium, which connects the voters with the election machinery. The workshop was organized to familiarize the Radio Jockeys with the election process so that they can help in wide and accurate dissemination of information to their listeners.

    The session began with introduction to the workshop by Sh. A. K. Pathak, Secretary, Election Commission of India, thereafter, the participants were provided information on the various initiatives of Voter education taken by the Commission with special focus on  EVM VVPAT awareness and ‘Verify your details on Electoral Roll’ Campaign ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2019.  The participants then built a dummy ballot paper as part of an activity ‘Build Your Ballot’ of Voter Awareness Forum/ Electoral Literacy Clubs.  

    Director, Ms. Padma Angmo interacted with the participants wherein they discussed their queries and assured to take forward the association with ECI on voter awareness in an organic manner. Her interaction was followed by a quiz, which conveyed basic information on voter awareness through interesting questions. The session adjourned with vote of thanks by Sh. Sujeet Kumar Mishra, Under Secretary, Election Commission of India.
                                           

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  14. ECI to organize Two-Day Chief Electoral Officers’ Conference to review Poll Preparedness for the Lok Sabha Election 2019

    ECI/PN/4/2019 Dated: 10th January, 2019 
    Press Note
    Subject: ECI to organize Two-Day Chief Electoral Officers’ Conference to review Poll Preparedness for the Lok Sabha Election 2019
    The Election Commission of India is holding a two-day Conference on 11th & 12th January, 2019 of the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) to review poll preparedness of the forthcoming General Elections to the Lok Sabha, 2019.  During the Conference, the Commission will discuss key issues related to poll preparedness such as Electoral Rolls, ERO Net, Polling Station arrangements, EVM-VVPAT  preparations, Security Management, Accessibility to Persons with Disabilities, Voter Education, use of IT applications, provision for Budget, manpower and other resources and so on.  Apart from reviewing the poll preparedness, the Commission will also discuss the takeaways and learnings from the recent poll gone States of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana.
    During the Conference, these CEOs will make their comprehensive presentations of their poll preparedness on all important parameters.  The Commission desires from the CEOs that elections are made totally voter-friendly and accessible for Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens and Gender.  The Commission has already directed the CEOs to build a campaign on various media platforms to register eligible citizens and voters; provide every facility for search of their names through website, SMS gateway and through Voter Facilitation Centre at every ERO level.  The Commission has also directed all States to activate the voter helpline centre 1950 so that the grievances of the voters are promptly redressed. During this Conference, the Commission would review the status of facilitation provided to voters by both online and offline methods.  The Commission has already given a checklist to all CEOs on each important parameter and detailed report has been sought from them on each point of checklist.  The Commission will also review the status of vulnerability mapping, security planning, availability of police forces and their requirement during forthcoming Lok Sabha Election.

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  15. Election Commission of India Firmly Stands by fool proof nature of ECI EVMs.

    ECI/PN/8/2019       Dated: 21st  January, 2019
     
    Press Note
    Subject: Election Commission of India Firmly Stands by fool proof nature of ECI EVMs.
    It has come to the notice of Election Commission of India that an event claiming to demonstrate EVMs used by ECI can be tampered with, has been organised in London. 
    Whereas, ECI has been wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest, ECI firmly stands by the empirical facts about fool proof nature of ECI EVMs deployed in elections in India. 
    It needs to be reiterated that these EVMs are manufactured in Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) under very strict supervisory and security conditions and there are rigorous Standard Operating Procedures meticulously observed at all stages under the supervision of a Committee of eminent technical experts constituted way back in 2010.
    It is being separately examined as to what legal action can and should be taken in the matter.
     
     

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  16. ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA HOSTS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ‘MAKING OUR ELECTIONS INCLUSIVE AND ACCESSIBLE’ AND RENEWS MoU ON ELECTORAL COOPERATION WITH BHUTAN

    ECI/PN/12 /2019         24th January, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA HOSTS
     INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON 
     ‘MAKING OUR ELECTIONS INCLUSIVE AND ACCESSIBLE’   
    AND RENEWS
    MoU ON ELECTORAL COOPERATION WITH  BHUTAN
    The Chief Election Commissioner of India, Shri Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Shri Ashok Lavasa today inaugurated an International Conference on ‘Making our Elections Inclusive and Accessible’. ECI is hosting the International Conference on the occasion of 9th National Voters Day which is observed on 25th January every year. Chairpersons/Chief Election Commissioners / Commissioner and Senior Officials from Election Management Bodies (EMBs) viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Maldives,  Russia & Sri Lanka and Heads/Senior Representatives of International Organisations viz. Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre, U.K.; International Centre for Parliamentary Studies, U.K. and International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) have gathered in New Delhi to participate in the event. 

    In his Keynote Address, Sh. Sunil Arora, Chief Election Commissioner of India,  stated that  free, fair, transparent, credible and ethical elections are critical to the legitimacy of a democratic government. It is imperative that the voice of all categories of voters is included in democratic representation. Inclusive elections coupled with characteristics such as transparency, accountability and competitiveness add to the strength of democratic polity.  Speaking specifically of the Indian context, he strongly affirmed that ECI is always open to all kinds of feedback in all forms from all stakeholders particularly the political parties who are the most significant stakeholders after the voters.  He  stated that ECI is not going to be intimidated, coerced or pressurized into going back to ballot papers days. The position has been consistently maintained by successive Commissions and the same will be maintained in the future.   In ballot paper era there used to be innumerable complaints about impersonation and booth capturing by anti-social elements and musclemen etc. besides the inordinate delays in declaring results which sometimes spread from three to four days. We have kept a robust technical and administrative mechanism to safeguard the integrity of EVM. VVPATs have further enhanced the transparency of votes for the voters. 
    In context of the recent aspersions cast on EVMs used in elections, Shri Arora denounced the targeting of the machines, which unnecessarily are being dragged into motivated slugfest. “EVMs have been in use for the last two decades. Even in several elections since 2014, the machines have given different results in different elections.” Shri Arora mentioned that even in the recent elections in the five States, out of a total of 176,000 Polling Booths where EVMs were used, there were six incidents of violation of Standard Operating Procedure, that too in reserved EVMs not used in the actual elections. “Although the ratio is negligible but even in these cases stringent disciplinary action was taken and ECI has and always will have zero tolerance to any kind of errors in the election process” he reiterated. 
    Shri Arora also referred to the relevant UN Treaties viz; Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948 and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966 etc. which have guided and provided strength and support to democracies across the world  in shaping up their constitutional, legislative, and legal framework for ‘Inclusive and Accessible Elections’.
    While addressing the participants, Election Commissioner, Sh. Ashok Lavasa mentioned that  Election Commission of India has played a pioneering role in organizing free, fair and credible elections in a transparent manner in the largest democracy in the world and leads the way in sharing best practices and knowledge skills with fellow EMBs.  He referred to the active role played by ECI in international arena in the field of Election Management through its close association with regional and world bodies like  FEMBoSA, AAEA, A-WEB and International IDEA. In this regard ECI has provided technical assistance to several countries like Jordan, Maldives, Namibia, Egypt, Bhutan and Nepal; undertaken Study/Observation Missions for Elections to a number of countries abroad and exchange visits for sharing of experiences and skills as also helped with capacity building programmes.
    Sh. Lavasa said “it is a tribute to Indian people, our democracy and the election machinery that what started as a voter base of 176 million people in 1951 is now a vast vocal electorate of almost 880 million with a voting percentage of about 66.4 % in 2014” 
    He noted that the better thing of the course is that the increase is across the spectrum, more women , more first time voters, more PwDs , more transgenders and more service voters.  The next milestone is to improve it further and work towards ethical voting, he emphasised.
    In his welcome address, Mr. Umesh Sinha, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner briefed the delegates about the contours of the International Conference on ‘Making our Elections Inclusive and Accessible’. He mentioned that ECI has led the way in the path to democracy during the last 68 years by conducting 16 General Elections to the Lok Sabha and more than 388 elections to the State Legislative Assemblies. ECI is globally recognised today as an institution of repute in imparting knowledge and sharing of best practices and skills with other EMBs through its robust International Cooperation Programme. He highlighted various initiatives taken by the ECI under its flagship programme Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) for enhancing Inclusion among various categories of voters to encourage their electoral participation.   He expressed the hope that the ideas and experiences shared at this Conference would provide useful takeaways for all stakeholders in this endeavour.
    During the one-day Conference, there were sessions with Heads and senior delegates from EMBs and International Organisations, giving their presentations and sharing of their experiences, best practices and initiatives aimed at electoral engagement, enrolment and active participation aiming towards inclusive and accessible ballot exercise   in their respective countries.

    On the sidelines of the Conference ECI today also renewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the field of election management with the Election Commission of Bhutan. To mark the occasion, ECI also released the January 2019 issue of its Quarterly Magazine ‘VOICE International’.  The  magazine carries rich experiences for knowledge sharing on Inclusive and Accessible Elections across the democracies around the world.

    The international delegates have also been invited to attend the National Voters Day Celebrations in New Delhi on 25th January 2019 besides visiting the upcoming campus of the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) at Dwarka, New Delhi. Some of the delegates will also witness the celebration of the Republic Day on 26th January 2019.

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  17. Election Commission of India launches Voter Awareness Forums(VAFs) across the country

    ECI/PN/7/2019     Dated: 16th January, 2019
    Press Note
    Subject: Election Commission of India launches Voter Awareness Forums(VAFs) across the country
    Voter Awareness Forum(VAF) was launched by Election Commission of India in New Delhi, by the Chief Electoral Officers in the State capital and by District Election Officers in the Districts today. 
    Addressing the Nodal Officers from 44 Ministries, Government of India, and representatives from Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) at Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra, New Delhi today, the Commission exhorted them to immediately set up VAFs and facilitate enrolment of all employees and officials on the electoral roll.
    Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora said that the founding fathers of the Constitution had an instinctive faith in the citizenry of country and therefore gifted Universal Adult Franchise to the Indian populace while other democracies took years before extending this right to all its citizens. It is therefore our collective responsibility to value and preserve this right and in this endeavour Voter Awareness Forums have a crucial role to play. He asked the Nodal Officers to commit themselves to the aims of the VAFs which is to promote informed and ethical electoral participation, first step of which is registration.

    Election Commissioner Shri. Ashok Lavasa said thousands of unnamed and faceless Government officials undertake the task of preserving the electoral process, in different capacities and roles. Hailing the Officers as “Ambassadors of Democracy”, Shri Lavasa said that as Nodal Officers, now they are invested with the additional responsibility of educating colleagues and staff in their work place and ensuring that all the members of their Ministry and Departments are familiar with the electoral procedure right from enrolment to the casting of ballot. 
    Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner, briefed all present about the ‘Voter Verification and Information’ drive that the Commission is taking up and asked VAF to facilitate members to check their names and details on Electoral Roll through online NVSP portal of ECI and the Voter Helpline No 1950.
    The half-day briefing was conducted to familarise the Officers from various Ministries and Federations with the concept of Voter Awareness Forum and to brief them about their role as Nodal Officers of the VAFs. Similar briefing sessions are being held across the country by the Chief Electoral Officers and District Election Officers across the country where nodal officers of Departments, Non-Govt Departments, CSOs, Corporate and Media Houses in the State and District were briefed respectively.
    Voter Awareness Forums are informal Forums for generating awareness around electoral process through activities like discussions, quizzes, competitions and other engaging activities. All employees of the Organisation are expected to become members of the VAF with the Head of the Organisation acting as the Chair. 
    VAF is part of the Electoral Literacy Club programme of ECI. Launched on the 8th National Voters Day, 25th January 2018, the ELC programme envisages setting up of Electoral Literacy Club in every educational institution and Chunav Pathshala at every booth to cover those outside the formal education system.  Around 2.11 Lakh ELCs have already been established across the country in the first year of the launch of the programme.
     
     

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  18. Election Commission of India launches Voter Verification and Information Programme (VVIP) for upcoming General Elections 2019

    ECI/PN/16/2019     Dated: 08.02.2019
    PRESS NOTE
     Subject: Election Commission of India launches Voter Verification and Information Programme (VVIP) for upcoming General Elections 2019
    The Election Commission of India has launched a Voter Verification and Information Programme (VVIP) for citizens for verifications of their names, new registrations, changes in the voter details and corrections in the Voter Id Cards for the upcoming General Elections 2019.  ECI has enabled various channels for this VVIP programme. ECI has also set up Contact centers in all districts across India. The Voter Helpline number is 1950 . The Contact Centres are equipped with latest information and telecom infrastructure to help the callers. 

    The VVIP Programme was launched during the 2-day intensive Training-cum-Workshop on the use of Information & Communication Technology for the conduct of General Elections 2019. The Training-cum-Workshop was attended by Additional Chief Electoral Officers, Incharge of IT, Nodal Officers, State Level Master Trainers and technical resource persons from all States and Union Territories.
    Speaking on the occasion Election Commissioner, Sh. Ashok Lavasa said that the strength of technology is to make it easy for use by all. He exhorted those attending the workshop to imbibe and in turn explain extensively to all. Sh. Lavasa reminded the participants that the central theme of ECI's endeavours are to make Elections more inclusive. With the use of Apps,  prompt responses should be ensured as citizens demand a better quality of services.  
    Chief Election Commissioner, Sh. Sunil Arora said that technology is indeed a major game changer. The purpose at training workshops should be to listen, learn, absorb and apply. He pointed out that little time is now left before elections and intense consolidation of all learning should be ensured to actually facilitate the voter.  
    One of the important applications for which training was imparted to all States and UTs was cVIGIL . cVIGIL App provides time-stamped, evidence based proof of the Model Code of Conduct / Expenditure Violation, having live photo/video with auto location data. Any citizen can lodge a complaint through the Mobile App. Flying Squads then investigate the matter and the Returning Officer takes the decision. The status of cVIGIL can be shared with the cVIGIL complainant within a specified time limit.
    A CVigil User Manual and the EVM Management System User Manual was released on the occasion. A new Android-based mobile app called ‘Voter Helpline ’ was also launched today. This App provides convenience to all citizens for finding their names in the electoral roll, submitting online forms, checking the status of the application, filing complaints and receiving the reply on their mobile app. All forms, results, candidate affidavits, press notes, voter awareness and important instructions are available through the mobile app.
    A ‘PwD App’ to enable Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) to request for new registration, change in address, change in particulars and mark themselves as PwD through the use of the mobile application was also launched. By simply entering their contact details, the Booth Level Officer is assigned to provide doorstep facility. PwDs can also request for a wheelchair during polling.
    Use of the latest technologies by ECI has led to the spread of novel election activities, in addition to enhancing the existing election system.  For effective conduct of elections, the ECI has found a way of integrating the use of Smart Technology in the day-to-day processes of elections.

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  19. Election Commission of India organised a two day conference of Chief Electoral officers to review the poll preparedness.

    ECI/PN/5/2019    Dated: 12th January, 2019
    Press Note
     Subject: Election Commission of India organised a two day conference of Chief Electoral officers to review the poll preparedness.
    A two day conference of the Chief Electoral Officers of all the States and UTs was organized by the Election commission on 11th and 12th of January. A comprehensive review of poll preparedness of the states prior to the General elections 2019 was conducted through these two days.

    The primary focus of the Election commission was on the integrity of the electoral roll, meticulous planning for elections, EVM and VVPAT assessment and training and extensive voter outreach.
    Addressing the CEOs, the Chief Election Commissioner of India Sh. Sunil Arora emphasized the fact that the electoral roll that is currently under the process of revision and finalization will be used in the forthcoming General elections. Hence, this particular revision assumes additional importance and care must be taken to ensure the purity of the Roll. He also said that every effort must be made so that all voters are registered well in time. He reaffirmed the significance of the 1950 Helpline for the voters and its role as the First point of Care for the voter in finding her name in the Role, EPIC status and in connecting to the Election machinery and exercising her democratic right. He directed all the state CEOs to set in place support systems for the 1950 Helpline as early as possible.
    Sh. Arora reiterated the commitment of the Election commission of India to provide assured minimum facilities in all polling stations. He also directed the CEOs to have their Booth level, District level and state level Plans ready and conduct a meticulous assessment of all resources required for the conduct of elections. The States and the UTs must assess their EVM/ VVPAT requirements and also ensure adherence to the timelines specified for completion of their First Level checking. He laid stress upon extensive Hands on experience of the EVM and VVPAT among the voters as well as during the training of polling officials as it helps to minimize the glitches and also boosts confidence among the stakeholders.
    The Election Commissioner Sh. Ashok Lavasa, in his address to the CEOs reiterated the immense significance of the integrity of the electoral roll at this crucial juncture. He said that the entire election machinery must now be geared up in order to deliver yet another flawless election to the country. In order to accomplish this herculean task, a detailed planning process and a leadership role has to be assumed by the CEO at the state and the DEOs in the districts. He suggested to each state to reach out to each and every voter and develop innovative mechanisms to facilitate People with disability. He also emphasized upon coordination with bordering states as well as with other agencies in order to give more teeth to the expenditure Monitoring mechanisms operative in the states.
    Through the two day conference, each and every aspect of conduct of election including availability of sufficient budget, manpower, resources, SVEEP, planning, polling station arrangements and IT applications including Suvidha, Sugam and C-Vigil were discussed in detail and the preparedness of  States/UTs on each of these parameters was assessed.
    The five states which had recently undergone Assembly elections – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Telangana and Rajasthan gave a presentation on the take aways and the learnings from their experiences. Chhattisgarh had developed an app to track their polling personnel which streamlined the process. Madhya Pradesh developed an app to ensure queue less voting experience for people with disabilities, pregnant women and women with infants. These five states demonstrated how technology can be leveraged to enhance voter experience and also provide crucial data in an instant to the election officers.
    Mizoram highlighted its successful conduct of elections despite initial problems. The Mizoram experience was on of building bridges with the civil society organizations, opening dialogue and also the setting up of polling stations for the Bru community in coordination with the state of Tripura was a notable achievement.
    Both Rajasthan and Telangana cited several instances of innovative sveep campaigns incorporating local cultural practices which led to a good turn out in these states.
    All the other CEOs of states and UTs made comprehensive presentations to the Commission on the key areas of their preparations for the forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019.

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  20. Election Commission of India reaffirms Non-Tamperability of EVMs

    ECI/PN/10/2019   Dated: 22nd January, 2019                                                                          
    Press Note
    Subject: Election Commission of India reaffirms Non-Tamperability of EVMs
    In the wake of the motivated controversy about ECI EVMs, attempted to be created by one so called ‘cyber expert’ Mr Syed Shuja, the Technical Experts Committee (TEC) members - Prof D T Shahani, Prof Emeritus IIT Delhi and Prof Rajat Moona, Director IIT Bhilai and Prof D K Sharma, Prof Emeritus IIT Bombay (Mumbai), have reconfirmed to the ECI today that :
    The ECI-EVMs are stand-alone machines designed to connect only amongst ECI-EVM units (Ballot Unit, Control Unit and VVPAT) through cables that remain in full public view.There is no mechanism in ECI-EVMs to communicate with any device through wireless communication on any Radio Frequency.All versions of ECI-EVMs are regularly and rigorously tested against low to high wireless frequencies. These tests include and go beyond the standard tests specified for electronic equipments ECI-EVMs are regularly tested for proper functioning under all kind of operating conditions.  ECI-EVMs are also regularly tested for code authentication and verification. In the context of Sh Syed Shuja alleging about the two side printing of VVPAT paper which allegedly retains lower tampered print while the front side print as verified by the voter, getting erased, the TEC clarified that VVPATs use thermal printers which can print only on one side of thermal paper. The print is fully visible through the viewing window. The paper rolls used in VVPATs have only one-sided thermal coating and hence can be printed only on one side. The VVPAT paper print lasts atleast for five years. 
    CMDs of Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited, who are the sole manufacturers of EVMs and now also VVPATs, also reaffirmed that all the TEC prescribed Standard Operating Procedures are scrupulously adhered to and observed. 
    It is however reiterated that while ECI-EVMs might malfunction sometimes like any other machine due to component failures and stop working, but even such a malfunctioning ECI-EVM would not record any vote incorrectly. It is reaffirmed that ECI-EVMs are not tamperable. 
    ECI has also lodged an FIR u/s 505(1)(b) of IPC against Mr Shuja with DCP, New Delhi district.

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  21. Election Commission of India to host International Conference on ‘Making Our Elections Inclusive and Accessible’

    ECI/PN/11/2018     Dated 23rd January, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Sub: Election Commission of India to host International Conference on ‘Making Our Elections Inclusive and Accessible’ 
    In consonance with the 9th National Voters’ Day to be held on 25th January 2019, Election Commission of India (ECI) is going to host an International Conference on ‘Making Our Elections Inclusive and Accessible’ on 24th January 2019. Besides Chief Election Commissioner Sh. Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Sh. Ashok Lavasa, Heads and dignitaries from six Election Management Bodies (EMBs) viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Russia & Sri Lanka and three International Organisations viz. Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre, U.K and International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and International Centre for parliamentary Studies (ICPS) will participate in the event. 
    There will be two sessions during the Conference where representatives from the EMBs and International Organisations will participate and share their experiences, best practices and initiatives aimed at electoral engagement, enrolment and active participation in inclusive and accessible voting exercise in various countries. 
    During the Conference another issue of ECI’s quarterly magazine “Voice International” will be released which will carry the theme of “Making polling stations accessible and voter friendly”. On the sidelines of the Conference, ECI will also renew Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the field of election management with the Election Commission of Bhutan.
    The MoUs provide for an institutional framework and aim for promotion of exchanges of knowledge and experience in the field of organizational and technical development, with a view to strengthen the administration of electoral processes; exchange of information, material, expertise and technical know-how relating to electoral processes and systems; training of personnel and organizational development and capacity building.
    Election Commission of India has, so far, signed MOUs with twenty-five Election Management Bodies and International Organizations (viz. Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Fiji, Georgia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Libya, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, South Africa, Suriname, Yemen and United Nations, Intl. IDEA & IFES). 
    The International Conference is being organised with the purpose of sharing the experience of different EMB’s, International Institutions and Experts with regard to analysis of barriers, policy interventions, strategies, programmes, good practices and technological innovation for inclusive and accessible election. The international delegates will also attend the National Voters’ Day Celebrations in New Delhi besides visiting the new campus of the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) at Dwarka, New Delhi on 25th January 2019. 

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  22. General election to 17th Lok Sabha, 2019 and State Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim 2019 - Media Coverage during the period referred to in Section 126 of RP Act, 1951.

    No. ECI/PN/ 36/2019            Date:   23rd March, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Sub: General election to 17th Lok Sabha, 2019 and State Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim 2019 - Media Coverage during the period referred to in Section 126 of RP Act, 1951.
    The Schedule for holding general election to the 17th Lok Sabha 2019 and Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim 2019 has been announced on 10th March, 2019.  Poll is scheduled to be held in multiple phases. Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency. The relevant portions of the said Section 126 are re-produced below:
    (126. Prohibition of public meeting during period of forty-eight hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion ofpoll-
    (1) No person shall-
    (a).....................
    (b) Display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus;
    (c)........................
    In any polling area during the period of forty-eight hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of the poll for any election in the polling area.
    (2) Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
    (3) In this Section, the expression “election mater” means any.matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election)
    2. During elections, there are sometimes allegations of violation of the provisions of the above Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 by TV channels in the telecast of their panel discussions/debates and other news and current affairs programmes. The Commission has clarified in the past that the said Section 126 prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency. "Election matter" has been defined in that Section as any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election. Violation of the aforesaid provisions of Section 126 is punishable with imprisonment upto a period of two years, or with fine or both.
    3. The Commission once again reiterates that the TV/Radio channels and cable networks/internet website/social media platforms should ensure that the contents of the programmes telecast/broadcast/ displayed by them during the period of 48 hours referred to in Section 126 do not contain any material, including views/appeals by panelists/participants that may be construed as promoting/ prejudicing the prospect of any particular party or candidate(s) or influencing/ affecting the result of the election. This shall, among other things include display of any opinion poll and of standard debates, analysis, visuals and sound-bytes.
    4. In this connection, attention is also invited to Section 126A of the R.P. Act 1951, which prohibits conduct of Exit poll and dissemination of its results during the period mentioned therein, i.e. the hour fixed for commencement of poll in the first phase and half an hour after the time fixed for close of poll for the last phase in all the States.
    5. During the period not covered by Section 126, concerned TV/Radio/Cable/FM channels/internet websites/Social Media platforms are free to approach the state/ district/ local authorities for necessary permission for conducting any broadcast/Telecast related events (other than exit polls) which must also conform to the provisions of the model code of conduct, the programme code laid down by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting under the Cable Network  (Regulation)  Act  with  regard to decency,  maintenance  of communal  harmony,  etc.  All Internet websites and Social Media platforms must also comply with the provisions of The Information      Technology      Act,      2000     and      ECI     guidelines No-491/SM/2013/Communication, dt 25thOctober,2013, for all political content on their platform. As regards political advertisement, the same needs pre-certification by the Committees set up at State/District level as per the Commission's order  No. 509/75/2004/JS-I, dt 15th April,2004.
    6. Attention of all print media is also drawn to the following guidelines issued    by Press Council of India to follow for observance during the election:
    i. It will be the duty of the Press to give objective reports about elections and the candidates.  The newspapers are not expected to indulge in unhealthy election campaigns, exaggerated reports about any candidate/party or incident during the elections.  In practice, two or three closely contesting candidates attract all the media attention. While reporting on the actual campaign, a newspaper may not leave out any important point raised by a candidate and make an attack on his or her opponent. ii. Election campaign along communal or caste lines is banned under the election rules. Hence, the Press should eschew reports, which tend to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between people on the ground of religion, race, caste, community orlanguage. iii. The Press should refrain from publishing false or critical statements in regard to the personal character and conduct of any candidate or in relation to the candidature or withdrawal of any candidate or his candidature, to prejudice the prospects of that candidate in the elections. The Press shall not publish unverified allegations against any candidate/party. iv. The Press shall not accept any kind of inducement, financial or otherwise, to project a candidate/party. It shall not accept hospitality or other facilities offered to them by or on behalf of any candidate/party.
    v. The Press is not expected to indulge in canvassing of a particular candidate/party. If it does, it shall allow the right of reply to the other candidate/party.
    vi. The Press shall not accept/publish any advertisement at the cost of public exchequer regarding achievements of a party/ governmentin power.
    vii. The Press shall observe all the directions/ orders/instructions of the Election Commission/Returning Officers or Chief Electoral Officer issued from time to time.
     
    7. Attention of the electronic media is invited to the "Guidelines for Election Broadcasts" issued by NBSA dt 3rd March, 2014.
    i. News broadcasters should endeavour to inform the public in an objective manner, about relevant electoral matters, political parties, candidates, campaign issues and voting processes as per rules and regulations laid down under The Representation of the People Act 1951 and by the Election Commission of India. ii. News channels shall disclose any political affiliations, either towards a party or candidate. Unless they publicly endorse or support a particular party or candidate, news broadcasters have a duty to be balanced and impartial, especially in their election reporting.
    iii. News broadcasters must endeavour to avoid all forms of rumor, baseless speculation and disinformation, particularly when these concern specific political parties or candidates. Any candidate/political party, which has been defamed or is a victim of misrepresentation, misinformation or other similar injury by broadcast of information should be afforded prompt correction, and where appropriate granted an opportunity of reply.
    iv. News broadcasters must resist all political and financial pressures which may affect coverage of elections and election related matters.
    v. News broadcasters should maintain a clear distinction between editorial and expert opinion carried on their news channels.
    vi. News broadcasters that use video feed from political parties should disclose it and appropriately tagged.
    vii. Special care must be taken to ensure that every element of news/ programmes dealing with elections and election related matters is accurate on all facts relating to events, dates, places and quotes. If by mistake or inadvertence any inaccurate information is broadcast, the broadcaster must correct it as soon as it comes to the broadcaster's notice with the same prominence as was given to the original broadcast.
    viii. News broadcasters, their journalists and officials must not accept any money, or valuable gifts, or any favour that could influence or appear to influence, create a conflict of interest or damage the credibility of the broadcaster or their personnel.
    ix. News broadcasters must  not  broadcast  any  form  of  'hate  speech' or other obnoxious content  that may lead  to incitement  of violence or promote public unrest or disorder as election campaigning based  on communal or caste factors is prohibited under Election Rules. News broadcasters should strictly avoid reports which tend to promote feelings of enmity or hatred among people, on the ground of religion, race, caste, community, region or language.
    x. News broadcasters are required to scrupulously maintain a distinction between news and paid content.  All paid content should be clearly marked as "Paid Advertisement" or "Paid Content”: and paid content must be carried in compliance with the "Norms & Guidelines on Paid News" dated 24.11.2011 issued by NBA.
    xi Special care must be taken to report opinion polls accurately and fairly, by disclosing to viewers as to who commissioned, conducted and paid for the conduct of the opinion polls and the broadcast. If a news broadcaster carries the results of an opinion poll or other election projection, it must also explain the context, and the  scope and limits of such polls with their limitations. Broadcast of opinion polls should be accompanied by information to assist viewers to understand the poll's significance, such as  the methodology used, the sample size, the margin of error, the fieldwork dates, and data used. Broadcasters should also disclose how vote shares  are converted to seat shares.
    xii. The broadcasters shall not broadcast any "election matter" i.e. any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election, during the 48 hours ending with the hours fixed for the conclusion of poll in  violation of Section 126(1)(b) of  the Representation of the People Act1951.
    xiii. The Election Commission of India (ECI) will monitor the broadcasts made by news broadcasters from the time elections are announced until the conclusion and announcement of election results. Any violation by member broadcasters reported to the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) by the Election Commission will be dealt with by the NBSA under its regulations.
    xiv. Broadcasters should, to the extent possible, carry voter education programmes to effectively inform voters about the voting process,  the importance of voting, including how, when and where to vote, to register to vote and the secrecy of theballot.
    xv. News broadcasters must not air any final, formal and definite results until such results are formally announced by the Election Commission of India, unless such results are carried with clear disclaimer that they are unofficial or incomplete or partial results or projections which should not be taken as final results.
     
    8. Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has also developed a “Voluntary Code of Ethics” for all the participating social media platforms to ensure free, fair & ethical usage of their platforms to maintain integrity of electoral process during the general elections to the Lok Sabha 2019 and Legislative Assemblies of four states and the bye-elections being held simultaneously. Attention of all concerned Social Media platforms is invited to the following text of “Voluntary Code of Ethics” dt 20th March, 2019:   
    i. Participants will endeavour to, where appropriate and keeping in mind the principle of freedom of expression, deploy appropriate policies and processes to facilitate access to information regarding electoral matters on their products and/ or services.
    ii. Participants will endeavour to voluntarily undertake information, education and communication campaigns to build awareness including electoral laws and other related instructions. Participants will also endeavour to impart training to the nodal officer at ECI on their products/ services, including mechanism for sending requests as per procedure established by law.
    iii. Participants and the Election Commission of India (ECI) have developed a notification mechanism by which the ECI can notify the relevant platforms of potential violations of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and other applicable electoral laws in accordance with procedures established by law. These valid legal orders will be acknowledged and/ or processed within 3 hours for violations reported under Section 126 as per the Sinha Committee recommendations. All other valid legal requests will be acted upon expeditiously by the Participants, based on the nature of reported violation.
    iv. Participants are creating/opening a high priority dedicated reporting mechanism for the ECI and appoint dedicated person(s) / teams during the period of General Elections to interface with and to exchange feedback as may assist with taking expeditious action upon receipt of such a lawful request, following due legal process, from the ECI.
    v. Participants will provide a mechanism for relevant political advertisers, in accordance with their obligations under law, to submit pre-certificates issued by ECI and/ or Media Certification & Monitoring Committee (MCMC) of the ECI in relation to election advertisements that feature names of political parties, candidates for the 2019 General Elections. Further, Participants shall expeditiously process/action paid political advertisements lawfully notified to Participants by the ECI that do not feature such certification.
    vi. Participants will commit to facilitating transparency in paid political advertisements, including utilising their pre-existing labels/ disclosure technology for such advertisements.
    vii. Participants will, pursuant to a valid request received from the ECI, via Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) provide an update on the measures taken by them to prevent abuse of their respective platforms.
    viii. IAMAI will coordinate with the Participants on the steps carried out under this Code and IAMAI as well as Participants will be in constant communication with the ECI during the election period.
    The above guidelines should be duly observed for compliance by all the concerned media.

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  23. General Election to Lok Sabha 2019 and State Legislative Assemblies 2019 - Allotment of Broadcast/Telecast time to Recognized National/State Political Parties -regarding.

    General Election to Lok Sabha 2019 and State Legislative Assemblies 2019 - Allotment of Broadcast/Telecast time to Recognized National/State Political Parties -regarding.

    1,365 downloads

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  24. Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) presents its Report on Sample Size of VVPAT Counting to Election Commission of India

    No. ECI/PN/34/2019                                    Dated: 22nd March, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) presents its Report on Sample Size of VVPAT Counting to Election Commission of India
    Indian Statistical Institute(ISI) today presented its Report on the sample size of  Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slip counting to the Chief Election Commissioner Shri  Sunil Arora  and Election Commissioners Shri Ashok Lavasa and Shri Sushil Chandra.  The Report was presented by Prof. Abhay G. Bhatt, Head ISI, Delhi Centre.  It may be recalled that in view of the varying demands for enhanced percentage of VVPAT Slip count during elections in the country, the Commission had engaged the Indian Statistical Institute to systematically analyse and scientifically examine the issue of VVPAT Slip verification with electronic count of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

    ISI is one of the most prominent and reputed national institution devoted to research, teaching and application of statistics and sampling methodology in the country. Keeping in view their domain expertise and subject specialization, the Commission decided to engage the Institute in arriving at mathematically sound, statistically robust and practically cogent solutions to the issue of a number/percentage of VVPAT slip counts to done during the elections.
    Apart from Prof Abhay G. Bhatt, Head ISI, Delhi Centre, the Expert Committee also consisted of Prof Rajeeva L. Karandikar, Director, Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI) and Shri Onkar Prosad Ghosh, Dy. Director General (Social Statistics Division), Central Statistics Office, MOSPI, who was nominated by Director General, National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). Before finalizing its report, the Expert Committee had wide ranging consultations with other experts in the field of statistics and examined suggestions received from other groups. This Expert Committee has submitted its Report titled 'Random Sampling For Testing of EVMs via VVPAT Slip Verification' to the Commission today i.e. 22nd March 2019. 
    The Report submitted by the Expert Committee shall now be examined by the Commission and necessary action initiated.

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  25. INVITATION FOR PRESS CONFERENCE

    Dated: 10.03.2019                                                             INVITATION FOR PRESS CONFERENCE
    Dear Sir/Madam,
    You are invited to cover the following event:
    Media Event
    :
    Press Conference by Election Commission of India
    Day & Date
    :
    Sunday, 10th March, 2019 
    Time
    :
    1700 hours
    Venue
    :
    Plenary Hall, Vigyan Bhavan,  New Delhi
     IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS FOR MEDIA ENTRY
    Ø Entry of TV Camerapersons and Still Camera photographers will be on the basis of PIB Accreditation Card only from 3.30 PM onwards
     To,
    All Accredited Correspondents/Camera Persons
    DG (News), Doordarshan / DG (News), All India Radio
    Photo Division at CGO Complex
    Photo Publicity Unit in PIB
     

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ECI Main Website

ECI Main websiteThe Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya 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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