Political News, National, New Delhi, June 16:-Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Tuesday underlined the importance of an updated and error-free electoral roll and said state chief electoral officers should make sustained year-round efforts to engage with new voters for registration, and other services like correction, change of address with existing voters.
Addressing a virtual conference of chief electoral officers of all states and union territories, he stressed the importance of such periodic review meetings for revamping back-end systems so that voter centric services can be delivered swiftly and efficiently on priority.
According to an official statement, Chandra said such CEO review meetings would be institutionalised and organised more frequently.
The conference primarily focused on key thematic issues such as smooth, efficient and voter friendly services, update and purity of the electoral roll, integration of IT applications, extensive voter outreach program, media and communication strategy, expenditure monitoring, legal issues, EVM and VVPAT storage related infrastructure, and training and capacity building.
Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said the CEOs of the states which recently went to polls should suggest ways of scaling up and integrating their successful best practices such as mobile apps for absentee voters, criminal antecedents and randomisation of polling and police personnel.
He emphasised that protocols of SOPs for storage and movement of EVMs should be strictly adhered to and monitored by CEOs. He added that CEOs should ensure periodic physical inspection of EVM storage warehouses.
Kumar also said that CEOs should send their suggestions and ideas for new reforms to be taken up in the identified verticals being examined by the core committee set up recently to learn from recent experiences.
Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey said the non-election period should be utilised by CEOs to consolidate and fill up gaps of manpower resources and Infrastructure, plan for communication and awareness activities and step up training and capacity building according to their state specific needs.
EC Secretary General Umesh Sinha reminded the CEOs that during the non-election period, the core work of purifying electoral rolls, redressal of grievances of voters, outreach activities for engaging with young and future voters should be taken up on priority so that CEO offices remain in full readiness for future elections.
During the conference, chief electoral officers of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal shared their experiences and lessons from conducting elections during the pandemic. The CEOs of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh particularly briefed the Commission about various challenges, innovations and suggestions for upcoming assembly elections in their respective states.
Elections in these five states are expected to be held sometime early next year.
-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)