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National Voters Day 2021: Electoral Literacy Among Indian Voters

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January 25th is observed as National Voters Day in India since 2011 to mark the foundation day of the Election Commission of India (ECI). The aim of the day is to encourage more young voters to take part in the polling process. In order to do this, the government of India announces and conducts various exercises to spread awareness about the importance of voting in a democracy and educate people about their voting rights.

National Voters Day 2021

On 25th Jan 2021 the Election Commission of India is celebrating 11th National Voters Day. The theme for the year is ‘Making Our Voters Empowered, Vigilant, Safe and Informed’ which envisages active and participative voters during elections conducted amid COVID-19 pandemic. It also focuses on the ECI’s commitment towards conducting elections safely amid the pandemic.
On this day, let us look at some notable initiatives by the Election Commission of India to spread electoral literacy amid the Indian voters.

Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation

Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program, better known as SVEEP, is the flagship program of the Election Commission of India for voter education, spreading voter awareness and promoting voter literacy in India. The goal of the program is to build a truly participative democracy in India by encouraging all eligible citizens to vote and make an informed decision during the elections. It is based on multiple general as well as targeted interventions which are designed according to the socio-economic, cultural and demographic profile of the state as well as the history of electoral participation in previous rounds of elections and learning thereof. Some of the initiatives under SVEEP include:

Hello Voters Web Radio

In the age of digitalisation, the ECI is tapping into a new platform to spread electoral literacy among the voters. It has introduced an online digital radio service called ‘Hello Voters’ which will stream voter awareness programmes. The web radio will be accessible through a link on the Election Commission of India website.
ECI has claimed that the programming style of Radio Hello Voters has been envisaged to match that of popular FM radio services. It will provide information and education on electoral processes through songs, drama, discussions, stories of elections etc. in Hindi, English and regional languages from all over the country.

Electoral Literacy Clubs

An Electoral Literacy Club is a platform to engage school students through interesting activities and hands-on experience to sensitise them on their electoral rights and familiarise them with the electoral process of registration and voting. ELCs are also present in colleges and rural communities. At ELCs activities and games are designed to stimulate and motivate students to provoke them to think and ask questions. Through this initiative, the ECI aims at strengthening the culture of electoral participation among young and future voters.
Under ELC initiative, in 2019, the Voter Awareness Forums were set up in Ministries, Government Departments, Non-Government Departments and other Institutions to promote electoral awareness. Voter Awareness Forums are informal Forums for generating awareness around the electoral process through activities like discussions, quizzes, competitions and other engaging activities.
In addition to these initiatives, the ECI releases messages in form of short films, graphical creatives as well as texts on various media platforms before elections. In order to make these messages more impactful, it uses regional characters which are relatable and languages for different regions.