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14,April, 2014 Warsaw,Poland. Dr S.Y. Quraishi Former Chief Election Commissioner of India India's General Elections 2014: An Overview.

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Presentation on theme: "14,April, 2014 Warsaw,Poland. Dr S.Y. Quraishi Former Chief Election Commissioner of India India's General Elections 2014: An Overview."— Presentation transcript:

1 14,April, 2014 Warsaw,Poland. Dr S.Y. Quraishi Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, India's General Elections 2014: An Overview

2 India’s Giant Leap India chose Democracy in 1950 G ranted universal adult suffrage in the very first election despite: a 16% literacy rate. and a caste-based hierarchical social system. oppressed masses of India had voted in many elections before Switzerland allowed its women and Australia its aborigines to vote. 4

3 63 Years of Indian Elections India has conducted 15 General Elections to Parliament and more than 340 General Elections to State Assemblies. More than 3 million elected representatives – National, State and Local bodies. Indian elections never missed the deadline, credibility never challenged. Barak Obama hailed Indian Elections as “historic” and an “example for us all.”. Hilary Clinton described it as "global gold standard". 5

4 Concerns of Diversity Inclusivity of all sections None to be marginalised Constitutional Safeguards for minorities : Religious / Linguistic / Ethnic / Cultural No intimidation allowed 6

5 Inclusiveness : Provisions for Women Equal Voting Rights from day 1 Separate queues for women at polling stations Separate polling stations for women in some areas Women Officers at polling stations for identity check of women voters at Polling Stations Use of Women Police 9

6 Inclusiveness : Provisions for Disabled Ramps in all Polling Stations Use of Braille on EVMs and Ballot papers Allowing a companion for the infirm and disabled 10

7 Inclusiveness : Others Use of Symbols on the ballot for illiterate Use of Multi-language Electoral Roll Use of Multi-language Ballot Paper Transgender given the option to describe themselves as “Others” in electoral rolls 11

8 The Largest Election in World History! The size of 16th General Election to Lok Sabha  814.5 million voters  18-19 years 2.88% ( 0.75% in 2009)  Service Voters 13,28,621  930,000 Polling Stations  1.9 million Electronic Voting Machines  11-12 m poll personnel to be deployed  Recognized National Parties - 6 (7)  Recognized State Parties -47 (44)  Registered Parties -1670 (1035)  Candidates contested (2009). - ? (8070) 12

9 More Voters than every Continent! 13 Population Electorate E ntire Europe (50 Countries) - 731m 449 m E ntire Africa (54 Countries) - 922 m566 m N orth America (41 Countries) - 528 m324 m S outh America (15 Countries) - 382 m235 m N &S. America (56 Countries) - 910 m560 m I ndia - 1163 m714 m C ommonwealth (52 Countries ex India) - 900 m approx.

10 15 The Complexities It’s not just size and magnitude. It is about: Dealing with Regional, Religious, Ethnic, Cultural and Linguistic Diversities Democracy even at the remotest locations Separate polling station for a lone voter Trekking 45 km in snow to reach 37 voters Using elephants, camels, boats, cycles, helicopters, trains to ferry polling teams Countrywide ‘vulnerability mapping’ Tracking information from each polling station

11 16 Election Commission of India – created by the Indian Constitution. Fiercely independent. CEC and 2 ECs. Right to vote to all above 18 years of age. Conducting Elections of President, VP, Parliament and State Legislatures. Delimitation of constituencies after each census. Electoral Administration Framework

12 18 Election Machinery in States Chief Electoral Officers ( permanent). - 35 District Election Officers - 601 Returning Officers (Parliament) - 543 Returning Officers (Assembly) - 4120 Asstt. Returning Officers (Parliament) - 4600 Asstt. Returning Officers (Assembly) - 10,000 Electoral Registration Officers - 4120 Asstt. Electoral Registration Officers - 4800

13 19 Electoral Roll - the Foundation Health of ER ensured Gender, Age cohorts, Elector- population ratio Photo Electoral Rolls introduced. Good deterrence against impersonation Booth Level Officer (BLO) System introduced to ensure fidelity of ERs at doorsteps.

14 22 Mobilization of the Staff Drawn from various Central and State Government departments - no private individual associated. Staff on deputation with the Commission. Staff subject to Commission’ disciplinary control. Staff mobilized & deployed by the CEO under Commission’s instructions. Neutrality non negotiable. Preparation for Elections -

15 23 Preparation for Elections - Training and Deployment of Staff Staff of various districts and states mixed/ randomised to ensure fairness. Staff given nominal honorarium. Deployment of Government employees keeps expenditure under check, enhances control. Training : Different Layers Tainted and aligned not associated.

16 24 Preparation for Elections - Procurement of Materials Procurement of EVMs by the Commission. Other materials by the CEOs and DEOs. Standard procurement procedures followed. Specifications of materials decided by the Commission in case of non standard items. Advance planning by the Commission, CEOs and DEOs for procurement at their levels. Safety margins.

17 Scheduling of Elections C onsiderations in scheduling: Weather Agricultural cycles Festivals Exam schedules Public holidays Logistical requirements Law & order Movement of Central police forces Why PHASES ? 21 Preparation for Elections -

18 25 Checking Intimidation, violence & fraud Vulnerability Mapping : a response to threat and intimidation of voters. 86,782 villages / hamlets identified as vulnerable. 373,886 persons identified as potential trouble makers. Preventive measures taken. Video-graphers (74,729) Digital cameras (40,599) deployed: a great deterrent Hardly any complaint of threat and intimidation. Preparation for Elections -

19 28 COMET (Communication for Election Tracking) Timely information is critical Direct connectivity with all PSs (landline telephones, mobile phones, HF, VHF wireless networks, Satellite phones and even runners) established and pre tested Proved an effective tool for tracking poll day events. Deterrent for trouble makers.

20 Pilot -1982; all VS elections since 1998, full LS 2004 More than 1.4 million EVMs deployed in various locations across the country. EVMs now used universally in all Elections. Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) introduced. 30 EVMs – The Wonder Machine of Indian Democracy

21 32 Model Code of Conduct Minimum standards of behaviour Conduct of political parties / candidates Public meetings, Processions, Campaigning, Media Special checks on govt in power Conduct on poll day Handling of complaints Just added: Code about Manifestos

22 Issues of Concern Role of Money Power Expenditure monitoring complex and tough “Paid News” and surrogate advertisements Criminalization of electoral politics Dependence on Central Police Force Lack of faith in State Police Urban and Youth Apathy Measures to ensure enhanced participation Blaming the Pitch and the Umpire Rumours / social media 35

23 36 Use of Technology 1.Greater use of Technology A National Electoral Database for: Better Citizen services and accessibility Avoidance of duplicates in the database Online registration GIS for creation of polling stations GPS for tracking of polling teams Internet and mobile phones for Voter Education

24 37 Voter Education / SVEEP National, State & district plans for electoral participation Research on voters’ behaviour Special focus on urban, young and women voters National Voters Day Partnership with schools/ colleges/ Civil Society and Election Watch bodies Documentation/ Inventory of voter education activities/ materials Voter Education: The Game Changer

25 39 The Times of India 15.05.09 Indian Express 16.05.09 Hindustan Times 19.5.09 Hindustan Times 19.05.09 Asian Age 14.05.09 Some Media Reflections : 2009

26 40 Some Media Reflections (2) “It is truly the greatest show on Earth, an ode to a diverse and democratic ethos….an inspiration to all the World” - V Mitchell, New York Times, May 22, 2009 Indian voters show the way forward Financial Times, London, May 17, 2009

27 India Elections 2009 - Glimpses …

28 Photo Gallery - Elections 2009 43 Officials checking EVMs and polling materials Officials carrying EVMs and polling materials A group of Villagers with EPI cards Officials carrying EVMs and polling materials Electors going to exercise their Franchise An Elector familiarizing himself regarding functioning of EVM

29 Photo Gallery - Elections 2009 44 An elder on way to cast her vote Electors waiting in Q Indelible ink being marked on elector’s finger Physically challenged casting her vote Prime Minister of India after casting his vote

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