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  1. ECI appoints Special Central Police Observer for States of West Bengal and Jharkhand

    No. ECI/PN/41/2019     Dated : 26th March 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    ECI appoints Special Central Police Observer for States of West Bengal and Jharkhand
    Election Commission of India has appointed Sh K K Sharma (IPS 1982 Retd DG Border Security Force) as Special Central Police Observer for the States of West Bengal and Jharkhand. Sh Sharma would oversee the deployment and other security related issues in the said States.

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  2. ECI appoints Special Expenditure Observers for States of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Nagaland and Telangana 

    No. ECI/PN/40/2019     Dated : 26th March 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    ECI appoints Special Expenditure Observers for States of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Nagaland and Telangana 
    Election Commission of India has appointed two eminent former Civil Servants Sh. Gopal Mukherjee and Sh. D.D. Goel as Special Expenditure Observers for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. While Sh. Gopal Mukherjee ex-IRS (1980), former Member of CBDT has been deployed in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and Sh.D.D.Goel ex-IRS (1982), former DGIT(Inv.) been deployed in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.  Both these officers have extensive knowledge of search and seizure operations conducted by the I.T Department.
    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.
    Further, the Commission has decided to give additional charge of Gujarat and Karnataka to Sh. Shailendra Handa and Ms. Madhu Mahajan, respectively. It may be recalled that Commission had appointed these officers as Special Expenditure Observers on 19th March 2019. Sh Handa would thus be Special Expenditure Observer for Maharashtra and Gujarat while Ms Mahajan will be deployed in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
     

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  3. ECI conducts briefing sessions for 2nd batch of General, Police and Expenditure Observers for the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assembly Elections - 2019

    No. ECI/PN/39/2019    Dated: 26th March, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    ECI conducts briefing sessions for 2nd batch of General, Police and Expenditure Observers for the Lok Sabha and State Legislative 
    Assembly Elections - 2019 
    In continuation of the briefing held for the first batch of General, Police and Expenditure Observers held on 14th March, the Commission today conducted day long sessions for over a thousand more officers drawn from IAS, IPS, Indian Revenue Service and few other Central Services. These officers are being deployed as Observers in the ongoing Elections to the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies of four States. 

    Addressing the participants, Chief Election Commissioner Shri Arora said that while all Observers are essentially the eyes and ears of the Commission, Senior Expenditure Observers are assuming an enormous role given the quantum of money power vitiating the election process. He added that the Commission has already appointed two Special Expenditure Observers for the States of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka.  To further identify the role of  illegitimate resources in the elections, the Commission is considering appointing few more Special Expenditure Observers in more Expenditure Sensitive States. Shri Arora reminded the Observers of their enormous responsibility to ensure fair, ethical and transparent election process in the field. He asked them to be vigilant, impartial and accessible to all stakeholders to reinforce the faith in the minds of the citizen towards the electoral process. While elucidating the myriad responsibilities of  Observers, the CEC mentioned that Electoral Rolls are the bed rock of election process and Observers need to ensure the integrity of the Electoral Rolls.

    Reminding the Observers of their crucial role , Shri Arora said that The Commission reposes complete trust in the senior officers being deputed to the field and would like the Observers & CEOs to be the first and last point of contact. However, he also cautioned them that even a trace of proven malafide or partisanship, would lead to ruthless action from the Commission. He further added that, keeping pace with the changing times, the Commission has been proactive in making the electoral process participative by involving & empowering citizens particularly through cVigil App. He said that the cVigil App initiative which started as a pilot project in the Karnataka State elections and then implemented in the five State elections held last year, has now been extended pan India for the ongoing General Elections. 
    Shri Ashok Lavasa, Election Commissioner in his address stated that the Observers have been a critical part of the election process and machinery. He advised Observers to be alert, accessible and responsive and effective in the field to ensure fairness and transparency of the election process. He urged the Observers to be familiar with all the instructions & guidelines to ensure clarity in execution in the field. He said the senior Observers need to play dual roles of monitoring and mentoring. While addressing the Expenditure Observers, Shri Lavasa stressed that only the seizure figures may not be taken as a measure of the efficacy of enforcement machinery, but the money trail and actual perpetrators behind the consignment should be investigated. 
    Welcoming the participants, Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra noted that Observers play an important role for the Election Commission for robust monitoring of the complete process in the field. He asked the Observers to ensure better co-ordination amongst all the Stakeholders in the field. Elaborating the diverse challenges for the Observers in the current scenario, he urged them to be vigilant and accessible. He mentioned that developing real time intelligence and monitoring of accounts of the candidates would be crucial to downplay the role of illegitimate resources adversely influencing the election process. Comprehensive Expenditure Monitoring Handbook, Observers Manual and National Election Planner were provided to the Observers to facilitate their work. 
    During the day long sessions, 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 to apprise the Observers. 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. Detailed presentations were made about ‘Observer App’, cVIGIL App and other initiatives

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  4. GENERAL ELECTIONS TO THE LOK SABHA, 2019 - PROGRESSIVE SEIZURE

    No. ECI/PN/38/2019 Dated: 26th March, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    GENERAL ELECTIONS TO THE LOK SABHA, 2019 - PROGRESSIVE SEIZURE
    A total seizure of nearly Rs 540 crores has been made by various enforcement agencies across the country as on March 25, 2019. A break up of seizure of cash, liquor, drugs/narcotics, precious metals & freebies is given below.
    Summary:
    Total Cash Seizure : Rs. 143.47 Cr.
    Total Liquor Seizure : Worth Rs. 89.64 Cr.
    Total Drugs/Narcotics seizure : Worth Rs. 131.75 Cr.
    Total Precious Metals (Gold etc.) seizure : Worth Rs. 162.93 Cr
    Total Freebies/other items seizure : Worth Rs. 12.202 Cr.
    Download the file to view details

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  5. SCHEDULE FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS, 2019-CORRIGENDUM

    SCHEDULE FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS, 2019-CORRIGENDUM 

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  6. 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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  7. 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.

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  8. 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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  9. Social Media Platforms present " Voluntary Code of Ethics for the 2019 General Election" to Election Commission of India

    Social Media Platforms present " Voluntary Code of Ethics for the 2019 General Election" to Election Commission of India

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  10. 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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  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 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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  13. Registration of political parties under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 – Public Notice Period – regarding.

    No. ECI/PN/29/2019          Dated:  15th  March , 2019 
    PRESS NOTE
    Subject :  Registration of political parties under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 – Public Notice Period – regarding.
    Registration of Political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. A party seeking registration under the said Section with the Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation  as per guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Commission of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. As per existing guidelines, the applicant association  is  inter-alia asked to publish proposed Name of the party in two national daily news papers and two local daily newspapers, on two days in same news papers, for inviting objections, if any, with regard to the proposed registration of the party before the Commission within  a 30 days from such publication. 
    3. The commission has announced the elections for the Lok Sabha and Assemblies to Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh on 10th March, 2019.  Therefore, in view of the current elections, the Commission has given one time relaxation  and has reduced the notice period  from 30 days to 7 days for  the parties who have published their public notice by 10th March, 2019 i.e. date of announcement of election.   
    4. Now, therefore, if any body has any objection with regard to the registration of any political party who have published their public notice by 10th march, 2019 may file their objection against that party by 17th March, 2019.  

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  14. Schedule for bye-election to fill casual vacancy in the State Legislative Assembly of Gujarat– Regarding.

    No. ECI/PN/28/2018   Dated:   14h March, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Subject : Schedule for bye-election to fill casual vacancy in the State Legislative Assembly of Gujarat– Regarding.
     There is one clear vacancy in the State Legislative Assembly of Gujarat, which needs to be filled up:
    Sl. No.
    State
    Number & Name of Assembly Constituency
    1
    Gujarat
    77 -  Jamnagar Rural Assembly Constituency
     
    After taking into consideration various factors like local festivals, electoral rolls, weather conditions etc., the Commission has decided to hold bye-election to fill this vacancy  as per the programme mentioned as under: -
    Poll Events
    Schedule
    Date of Issue of Gazette Notification
    28.03.2019 (THU)
    Last Date of Nominations
    04.04.2019 (THU)
    Date for Scrutiny of Nominations
    05.04.2019 (FRI)
    Last Date for Withdrawal of candidatures
    08.04.2019 (MON)
    Date of Poll
    23.04.2019 (TUE)
    Date of Counting
    23.05.2019 (THU)
    Date before which election shall be completed
    27.05.2019 (MON)
     
    ELECTORAL ROLL
    The Electoral Rolls for the aforesaid Assembly Constituencies w.r.t 01.01.2019 as the qualifying date has been finally published.          
    ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES (EVMs) and VVPATs
    The Commission has decided to use EVMs and VVPATs in the bye-election in all the polling stations. Adequate numbers of EVMs and VVPATs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the polls are conducted smoothly with the help of these machines.
     IDENTIFICATION OF VOTERS
    In consonance with the past practice, the Commission has decided that the voter’s identification shall be mandatory in the aforementioned bye- election at the time of poll. Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) shall be the main document of identification of a voter. However, in order to ensure that no voter is deprived of his/her franchise, if his/her name figures in the Electoral Rolls, separate instructions will be issued to allow additional documents for identification of voters at the time of poll in the said bye-elections.
     MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT
    The Model Code of Conduct shall come into force with immediate effect in the district(s) in which the whole or any part of the Assembly Constituency going for bye-election is included, subject to partial modification as issued vide Commission’s instruction No. 437/6/INST2016-CCS, dated 29th June, 2017 (available on the Commission’s website). The Model Code of Conduct shall be applicable to all candidates, political parties and the State Government concerned. The Model Code of Conduct shall also be applicable to the Union Government for the district of the State concerned.

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  15. 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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  16. Schedule for bye-elections to fill casual vacancies from 64 – Dhrangadhra AC and 85 – Manavadar AC in the State Legislative Assembly of Gujarat

    No. ECI/PN / 26 /2019           Dated:  13th March, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Subject :              Schedule for bye-elections to fill casual vacancies from 64 – Dhrangadhra AC and 85 – Manavadar AC in the State Legislative Assembly of Gujarat – Regarding.
     There are two clear vacancies in State Legislative Assembly of Gujarat, which need to be filled up:
     
    Sl. No.
    Number and Name of Assembly Constituency
     
     
     
    1.
     
    64 – Dhrangadhra
    2.
    85 – Manavadar
    After taking into consideration various factors like, festivals, electoral rolls, etc., the Commission has decided to hold the bye-elections to these 2 Assembly Constituencies following the same schedule as for the relevant Parliamentary Constituency as per the programme mentioned as under: - 
    Sl No.
    Event
    Date
    1
    Issue of Notification
    28.03.2019
    2
    Last date of making Nominations
    04.04.2019
    3
    Scrutiny of Nominations
    05.04.2019
    4
    Last date for withdrawal of Candidatures
    08.04.2019
    5
    Date of Poll
    23.04.2019
    6
    Counting of Votes
    23.05.2019
    7
    Date before which election shall  be completed
    27.05.2019
     ELECTORAL ROLL
    The electoral rolls of the Assembly Constituencies where bye-elections are being held have been revised with reference to 01.01.2019 as the qualifying date.
    ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES (EVMs) & VVPATs
    The Commission has decided to use EVMs & VVPATs in the bye-elections in all the polling stations. Adequate numbers of EVMs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the polls are conducted smoothly with the help of these machines.
    IDENTIFICATION OF VOTERS
    In consonance with the past practice, the Commission has decided that the voter’s identification shall be mandatory in the aforementioned bye- elections at the time of poll. Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) shall be the main document of identification of a voter. However, in order to ensure that no voter is deprived of his/her franchise, if his/her name figures in the Electoral Rolls, separate instructions will be issued to allow additional documents for identification of voters at the time of poll in the said bye-elections.
    MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT
    The Model Code of Conduct shall come into force with immediate effect in the district(s) in which the whole or any part of the Assembly Constituencies going for bye-elections is included, subject to partial modification as issued vide Commission’s instruction No. 437/6/INST/2016/CCS, dated 29th June, 2017 (available on the Commission’s website). The Model Code of Conduct shall be applicable to all candidates, political parties and the State Government concerned. The Model Code of Conduct shall also be applicable to the Union Government for the State concerned.

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  17. Meeting with the Commission of the three Special Observers appointed for Jammu & Kashmir.

    No. ECI/PN/25/2019     Dated: 12th March,2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Subject: Meeting with the Commission of the three Special Observers appointed for Jammu & Kashmir.
    The Special Central Observers Dr. Noor Mohammad, IAS (1977, retd) , Sh Vinod Zutshi , IAS (1982, retd) and Sh. A.S.Gill, IPS (1972, retd), appointed by the Election Commission of India for assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, met with the Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora, Election Commissioners Shri Ashok Lavasa and Shri Sushil Chandra at ECI Headquarters in New Delhi today.

    Shri Sunil Arora, Chief Election Commissioner welcomed the Special Central Observers and thanked them for having accepted this onerous and delicate assignment, which entails assessing the situation of J&K on real time basis in the context of para 62 of the Press Statement given by CEC on 10th March, 2019 while making the announcement of the schedule of elections:-
    “62.The Commission will be regularly and on real time basis monitoring the situation in J & K and will also be taking inputs from all necessary quarters and decision regarding holding Legislative Assembly elections in J & K will be taken soon.”
    During the meeting it was requested to the Special Observers that they may kindly visit the State at the earliest, a suggestion which was accepted by them. Shri Ashok Lavasa and Shri Sushil Chandra, Election Commissioners also briefed them during the interactive session which lasted for almost 2 hours.
    DEC-in-charge of the State Mr. Sandeep Saxena briefed them about preparedness of election in J&K and gave other details regarding the State.  The Commission discussed with them about their roles and responsibilities. The three Central Observers would be required to visit the State and make a real time assessment of the situation by meeting Political Parties, district and state authorities and other stake holders.  

    Shri A S Gill has wide experience in field of security management in difficult areas.  He was IG:CRPF  in J &K between 1995-97 and subsequently superannuated as DG:CRPF.  Dr. Noor Mohammad, a former Secretary to Government of India has worked more than a decade in the fields of election management as Chief Electoral Officer of Uttar Pradesh, Deputy Election Commissioner in ECI, international expert and consultant on election in Afghanistan for many years.  Shri Vinod Zutshi, former Secretary in the Central Government also has wide experience for more than a decade in elections at the state level as CEO, Rajasthan and at the ECI level as Deputy Election Commissioner for more than five years.         

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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. Photo voter slips not to be valid as stand-alone identification document for voting

    No. ECI/PN/22/2019    Dated: 28th February, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
    Subject: Photo voter slips not to be valid as stand-alone identification   document for voting.
    Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) or one of the eleven specified photo identity documents, essential for casting vote.
    The Election Commission of India has directed that all electors in all constituencies who have been issued Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) have to produce the Electors Photo Identity Card for their identification at the polling station before casting their votes. Those electors who are not able to produce the EPIC shall produce one of the following alternative photo identity documents for establishing their identity. The list of eleven documents is: 
    Passport, Driving License, Service Identity Cards with photograph issued to employees by Central/State Govt./PSUs/Public Limited Companies, Passbooks with photograph issued by Bank/Post Office, PAN Card, Smart Card issued by RGI under NPR, MNREGA Job Card, Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour, Pension document with photograph, Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs, and Aadhaar Card.  Overseas electors shall have to produce their original passport only for identification. To assist the Voters, the Commission has further directed its officers that in the case of EPIC, minor discrepancies in the entries should be ignored, provided the identity of the elector can be established by the EPIC. If an elector produces an EPIC which has been issued by the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) of another Assembly Constituency, such card shall also be accepted for identification, provided the name of that elector finds place in the electoral roll pertaining to the polling station where the elector has turned up for voting.  If it is not possible to establish the identity of the elector on account of mismatch of photograph, etc. the elector shall have to produce one of the above mentioned alternative photo documents.
    Previously, the Commission had allowed Photo Voter Slip (PVS) as a document for identification. However, there have been representations against its use as a stand-alone identification document on the grounds of misuse since PVSs are printed after the finalization of the roll and distributed just close to the poll day through Booth Level Officers (BLO). The design of PVS does not incorporate any security feature. In fact, Photo Voter Slip was started as an alternative document, since the coverage of EPIC was not complete in earlier years. Currently, more than 99% electors possess EPIC, and more than 99% adults have been issued Aadhar Cards.
    Considering all the above listed facts, the Commission has now decided that PVS shall henceforth not be accepted as a stand-alone identification document for voting.  However, PVS will continue to be prepared and issued to electors as part of the awareness building exercise.  In order to make it clear to the electors that PVS shall not be accepted as a stand-alone identification document for voting, the words `THIS SLIP WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF IDENTIFICATION IN POLLING STATION. YOU ARE REQUIRED TO CARRY EPIC OR ONE OF THE 11 ALTERNATIVE DOCUMENTS SPECIFIED BY THE COMMISSION FOR VOTING” shall be printed on the Photo Voter Slip in bold letters.
    All Returning Officers and Presiding Officers are being informed of these instructions. A copy of the instructions translated in the vernacular language will be supplied to each Presiding Officer. The Commission has directed to publicize the order immediately through Gazette notifications and through print/electronic media at regular intervals till poll day for public awareness.

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  23. 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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  24. Substantial increase in number of Service Voters The Unregistered eligible Service Personnel can still file their applications for registration in the last part of Electoral Roll

    No. ECI/PN/20/2019    Dated: 22nd February, 2019
    Press Note
    Substantial increase in number of Service Voters
    The Unregistered eligible Service Personnel can still file their applications for registration in the last part of Electoral Roll
    The process of summary revision of last parts of electoral rolls with reference to 01.01.2019 as the qualifying date has concluded with the final publication of last parts today i.e. on 22.02.2019. A total of 16,62,993 service personnel have been enrolled as Service Electors in the Country in the final last part of electoral roll 2019. 
    In 2014 the corresponding figure was 13,27,627. Thus the 2019 ER has recorded a substantial increase on the total number of service voters of 2014. This increase in number of service voters has been due to the Commission’s all out efforts to maximise the registration of service electors during summary revision 2019 and active cooperation of the services/departments concerned and greater participation of service personnel. 
    As per the provisions of law and instructions of the Commission, all left out and un-registered eligible service personnel can still file their applications for registration in the last part of electoral roll during continuous updation till the last date of filing nominations of elections, and they can submit the Form 2, 2A or 3, as the case may be, through their Record officer/Commanding Officer/Authority concerned on the service voter portal i.e. servicevoter.nic.in. It is clarified that all the Forms received till 10 days before the last date of filing nominations shall be disposed of and the names of the applicants shall be included in last part of electoral rolls, if the Forms have been found complete in all respect by the ERO concerned.
    In order to ensure that maximum number of service personnel are enrolled in the last part and exercise their electoral right of franchise at elections, all the services/departments concerned have been requested to focus on bridging the gap in registration, if any, by motivating all unregistered eligible service personnel to get themselves enrolled in the electoral roll as service elector during continuous updation  so that they are not deprived of voting at impending election for want of registration in the electoral roll.

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  25. Voter Helpline: 1950

    No. ECI/PN/19/2019          Dated: 22nd February, 2019
    PRESS NOTE
     
    Subject: Voter Helpline: 1950
    In view of the impending General Elections, the Election Commission of India has strengthened its Voter Helpline to make it easy for the Voters to get authentic information pertaining to their voter registration.  The range of services provided by the Helpline Number 1950 have been refurbished and made easily accessible.
    The enrolled electors in the Electoral Roll can check the details of their personal information, the Polling Station planned for them to visit on the Poll Day and to know the contact details of Booth Level Officers, Electoral Registration Officers and District Election Officers, by using the Voter Helpline Mobile App or through www.nvsp.in  Portal or by calling 1950 Helpline Number.  In the same line, services through SMS can also be availed by citizens by sending SMS without any cost to 1950.  Formats in which such SMSs can be sent are:
    (i) ECI <EPIC Number>  <0 (for reply in English) or <1 (for reply in the regional language).   (ii) ECIPS <EPIC Number>    This will fetch the address of the Polling Station, where the said EPIC Number bearer needs to go to cast the vote.
    (iii) ECICONTACT <EPIC Number>   This will fetch the reply providing the sender with contact details of Booth Level Officers, Electoral Registration Officers and District Election Officers.
    Since mere possession of EPIC Card is not enough for the electors but their names should also be there in the electoral roll for enabling them to cast their vote on the poll day, it is necessary that the citizens/electors should check that their names figure in the electoral rolls.  If they are not enrolled, they can submit Form 6 online through www.nvsp.in or submit the form through Mobile APP or hard copy to the respective ERO Offices.  If there is any correction needed, they can submit Form 8 for necessary correction online through NVSP or through Mobile App or hard copy to respective ERO offices.  Also if their addresses are changed within the part, they need to submit Form 8A on the same lines as above.
    It is also clarified that all these services can be obtained directly or by approaching the concerned officials appointed by the Election Commission of India.  ECI has not authorized any intermediaries to provide these services.
     

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