Imphal: Chief Electoral Officer, (CEO) Manipur, Rajesh Agrawal emphasizing the need of making SVEEP programme effective, asked all the concerned District Election Officials to understand the objectives and the importance of the SVEEP programme launched by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in 2009.
He was speaking at the State Level SVEEP Consultation Workshop organized by the Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur at Imperial Hall, Hotel Classic Grande, Chingmeirong, Thursday. During the workshop, short videos titled – Power of 18 Anthem, Short Explainer Videos on Voter Helpline App. and Voter Portal were launched by Shri Rajesh Agrawal, CEO, Manipur in the presence of Under Secretary, ECI, Smt. Guncha Batra Aneja and her team. ‘We The People’, a multi-lingual anthem by the DEO, Churachandpur too was launched.
Highlighting the three core objectives of SVEEP – Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation Program, Rajesh Agrawal said that the first and foremost objective of SVEEP is educating voters, the first-timers or delayed ones, about the importance of enrolment and participation in electoral practices. He stressed that to make voters proactive voters, they need to be made aware of the entire electoral process to achieve the goal of SVEEP – to build a truly participative democracy in India by encouraging all eligible citizens to vote and make an informed decision during the elections.
CEO, Manipur emphasizing the findings of the draft report on Baseline Survey of Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) of Citizens in Manipur, 2021 conducted under the leadership of Prof. Ch. Ibohal Meitei, Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship & Skill Development, Manipur University, said that there is still a need of creating mass awareness among people about Voter Centres/VCs (Matdata Sahayata Kendra); VVPAT and other necessary information about the electoral process. He said that Voter Education needs to be institutionalized to make a long-term impact on the election mechanisms. For this, early awareness and voter education amongst the young voters through ELCs at educational institutions is highly needed.
Shri Rajesh Agrawal, elaborating on the second objective of SVEEP and creating awareness of the electoral process, expressed the need to gain the trust of the people. He stressed the need to make people aware that their votes matter; the effort of casting their vote is valuable. He further highlighted the significance of awareness programmes on the electoral process such as awareness on EVM, VVPAT operation and other applications created for election purposes. The trust of people can only be gained by making them aware of how the election is conducted. Returning officers should disseminate information about the entire electoral process. If awareness is disseminated effectively, the doubts lurking in the minds of the people will be lessening, he added.
CEO, Manipur further mentioned that the third and one of the most important objectives of SVEEP is motivating the voters to come out and cast their valuable vote on the poll day. Giving adequate information about polling stations and adequate amenities such as good hygienic toilets, good buildings, creating awareness about the candidates as per the directions of ECI will enable the electors to decide to make the right choice. Giving adequate information to the voters about the details of polling stations and the provisions of AMF such as good hygienic atmosphere, toilets, proper infrastructure, complying with the instructions of ECI is also one of the important steps to be initiated by the election officials. He added that sincere effort from the election officials will impact the minds of the people. SVEEP will definitely contribute to a better voter turnout among various other factors leading to high voter turnout, he added positively.
The workshop was attended by Additional CEO, Manipur, N. Praveen, Joint CEOs, Ramananda Nongmeikapam, Md S Daulat Khan, District Election Officers, and Electoral Registration Officers among other invitees. During the workshop PowerPoint presentations on SVEEP and KAP Survey was also presented by 5 Core working groups on various electoral-related themes.
Discussion and thematic presentations were conducted in groups on the topics – The Usage of Social Media to amplify SVEEP, Focused Strategy on Faster Voter Registration, On-Boarding the PwDs, Transgender and Marginalized Section with Registration & Participation, Workable Strategy on Ethical Voting and Ensuing Higher Voter turnouts – during the workshop.
Director, Information & Public Relations, H Balkrisna and Assistant Director, Regional Outreach Bureau, Imphal, Aribam Ibomcha Sharma expressed their views on these topics in the workshop. The programme concluded with a cultural programme. (PMC)