New Delhi: The national function of second National Voters’ Day (NVD) was observed today at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, a practice that was initiated last year to coincide with the foundation day of the Election Commission of India and also to enhance the participation of the voters, especially the youth, in the democratic process. The Former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was the Chief Guest at the occasion. The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, the Election Commissioners Shri V.S. Sampath and Shri H.S. Brahma, and eminent foreign dignitaries and representatives from political parties were also present at the occasion. Dr. Kalam distributed Elector Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) to 20 newly eligible and enrolled voters of Delhi, belonging to different sections of society, along with a badge “Proud to be a Voter- Ready to Vote”. All present were also administered the NVD pledge. Dr. Kalam also gave away National Awards to four District Electoral Officers (DEO’s)/ Superintendents of Police (SP’s), namely, Shri Mayur Maheshwari, DEO, Ramabai Nagar (U.P.), Shri Prabhav Kumar, SP, Bankura (WB), Shri Amit Singla, DEO, North-west Delhi, and Smt. S. Sangeetha, RDO, Trichy West R.O. (TN) for adopting “Best Electoral Practices”.
The Chief Guest Dr. Kalam applauded the work of Election Commission of India in conducting free and fair elections across different levels. Dr. Kalam said that youth are the “vibrant partners” of democracy. He further said that in order for Election Commission to perform well in future it is required that Information and Communications technology is used in the electoral process. This will not only save cost but also make way for transparency. Dr. Kalam added that India requires a shift towards developmental politics to raise her poor from the clutches of poverty. He further added that correlation between wealth and politics needs to be removed and conscience needs to play a big role for that.
Dr. Quraishi in his address said that National Voters’ day function is being run on a “mission mode” and the motive is to enhance the voter enrolment level until all voters are registered across India. He also said that the National Voters’ Day is not just for the voters to take a pledge but also for the Commission to resolve how to make voters participation friendlier and attractive. He said that Election Commission launched vigorous campaigns, again as a part of the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme, to disseminate necessary information, motivate voters and facilitate participation.
In his Welcome address, Shri Sampath said that Election Commission of India was honored that its national brand ambassador as Chief Guest on the occasion of second National Voters’ Day. He said that NVD is now a flagship programme of the Election Commission of India for empowerment of citizens especially youth. Today, similar programmes are being held at 8.5 lakh polling stations across the country.
Shri Brahma gave an introduction of the National awards and stated the Commission, as part of NVD, should initiate the programme to educate the voters to enable them to choose better legislators. He further said that the Commission should, besides focussing on voters’ awareness, also focus on better and bigger participation of people in the political process.
Shri Akshay Rout, Director General, Election Commission of India, in his Vote of Thanks, said that the Commission was honoured to have Dr. Kalam as Chief Guest. He also thanked the foreign dignitaries, representatives from the political parties, media-persons, and other guests and dignitaries for their cooperation and participation.
The Election Commission’s objective behind National Voters’ Day is to increase enrolment of voters, especially of the newly eligible ones, by using this occasion to make universal adult suffrage a complete reality, and thereby enhance the quality of Indian democracy. The day is also utilized to spread awareness among voters regarding effective participation in the electoral process. As per the reports of Voters’ registration, approximately 3.83 crore new registrations have been done throughout the country, out of which 1.11 crore are in the age group 18-19 as on 01st January, 2012, which was the qualifying date. Last year 52 lakh young voters, who had attained the age of 18 years, had been enrolled which marked the biggest empowerment of youth on a single day anywhere in the world.