Dated: 2nd November, 2019
ECI organizes briefing meeting of General, Police and Expenditure Observers for the Assembly Elections in the State of Jharkhand 2019
The Election Commission of India today organized a Briefing Meeting for Observers to be deployed for the forthcoming Jharkhand Legislative Assembly Elections, for which schedule has been announced on 1st November 2019. Jharkhand is to go for polls in five phases on the poll dates of 30th November, 7th December, 12th December, 16th December and 20th December, 2019. Nearly 300 officers drawn from IAS, IPS as also from Indian Revenue Service and few other Central Services are being deployed as General, Police and Expenditure Observers.
Addressing the Observers, Chief Election Commissioner Sh. Sunil Arora emphasized that the role of Observers is very crucial for smooth, fair and impartial conduct of elections. He said, the Observers are particularly empowered by the Commission to take necessary decisions as per assessment of on-ground situation. He assured the Officers that the Commission would always back up bonafide actions taken on field duty. Shri Arora directed the Observers to be visible, accessible and available in the field and particularly directed the Observers to be empathetic in their dealings with people and facilitate all stakeholders. The Chief Election Commissioner said the ECI team would shortly be visiting the State and the Commission would also be holding reviews with the Observers through video conferencing to assess the actions being taken.
Speaking to the group, Election Commissioner Sh Sushil Chandra drew the attention of the Officers that as Observers they have a statutory duty to perform on behalf of Election Commission of India. He said while the Observer duty in Jharkhand will have its specific challenges, the Officers so deputed, need to be neutral and impartial in discharge of their duties and “be the actual face of ECI on the ground”. Since all local machinery looks upto the Observers as friend, philosopher and guide, the Observers need to be vigilant and accessible to all stakeholders. He stated that the Observers should ensure strict compliance of ECI's rules and Standard Operating Procedures like amenities at the polling booths, vulnerability mapping or compliance of Non-Bailable Warrants, deposition of licensed arms and strict compliance of expenditure management norms.
The half-day long briefing sessions held today had comprehensive briefing by the Secretary General ECI Shri Umesh Sinha on Election Planning, Security Management & SVEEP aspects; by the Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Shri Sandeep Saxena, on Electoral Roll issues and IT applications; session on EVM VVPAT Management System by Deputy Election Commissioner Shri Sudeep Jain and on legal issues by Deputy Election Commissioner Shri Chandra Bhushan Kumar. Sh Sudeep Jain DEC, being in-charge of Jharkhand State, also briefed the Observers on the preparedness of Elections by the State machinery. Director General Expenditure Shri Dilip Sharma gave an overview of Expenditure Management issues and DG Communications Shri Dhirendra Ojha briefed the Officers on aspects of Paid News, Media Certification and Monitoring Committees as also Social Media.
It was particularly pointed out to the Observers that for the first time ECI will be introducing Postal Ballot Facilitation for the octogenarians and PwD voters, after the recent amendments by Law Ministry in the Conduct of Election Rules 1961. Such identified voters will have the option of voting through Postal Ballot if they want to exercise this option. Else they can vote at the Polling stations. IT applications like the Enabling Communication in Real-time Environment (ENCORE), an integrated portal to be used by Election Officers for overall management of aspects such as Candidate nominations, uploading of affidavits, Assigning symbol, Scrutiny of candidates nominations, Scrutiny of Candidate Permissions, Counting of Votes and Results dissemination etc. will be utilised for efficient and faster functioning. Other Apps to facilitate Queue-less Voting System, QR Code reading of Photo Voter Slips etc. would also be put in use to ensure free, fair, peaceful, inclusive, accessible, ethical and participative election.