The Election Commission of India organized a 3-day Training and Certification Programme for State Level Master Trainers (SLMTs) from April 19-21, 2018 at New Delhi. About 280 SLMTs from across the country attended the training, who in turn would deliver cascaded training to various functionaries in the States/UTs and would also conduct certification course for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers (AEROs).
The Chief Election Commissioner of India Shri O. P. Rawat recalled the time when India got its first electoral roll after independence. He said that the preparation of India’s first electoral roll was a humungous and complex task. However, the election machinery, with their efforts, made it possible to hold the first election during 1951-52. Shri Rawat urged the participants to continue the tradition of working diligently in conduct of elections. He added that elections could further be improved with better electoral roll management. Shri Rawat urged the participants to create an atmosphere of motivation and increased participation in training of EROs and AEROs and other officers in the field.
Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora said that in election management, electoral roll is akin to foundation of an institution. Shri Arora made special mention on motivating field-level officers to achieve greater participation and deeper understanding of the subjects and procedures. Talking about use of technology in elections, Shri Arora said that ethical issues are of concern in Information Technology, and asked the participants to keep a check on the malpractice. Shri Arora hoped that the 3-day training programme would be an immense learning experience for all participants.
Election Commissioner Shri Ashok Lavasa said that importance should be given to procedures and systems, which are two of the most important factors in making elections a success. Shri Lavasa said that preparing for elections is as difficult a task as conducting elections, thus equal importance should be given to non-election period as well in election management. Referring to concerns over ethics in use of technology, he said that morals of human beings cannot be substituted.
Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Mr. Umesh Sinha called electoral roll management as the foundation to poll management. Thus, it is necessary that electoral roll is clean and healthy. Given the dynamic population of India, Mr. Sinha said that electoral roll management should be a continuous process. Citing IT as a big enabler, Mr. Sinha urged the participants to use the ERO-NET platform gainfully.
Deputy Election Commissioner Mr. Sandeep Saxena explained the different methodologies to the participants to make electoral roll more transparent and credible. He presented a number of facts and figures that could help in improving electoral rolls. Mr. Saxena expressed his gratitude to the Commission for their constant guidance and to senior ECI officers for bringing in technology in electoral roll management.
Deputy Election Commissioner Mr. Sudeep Jain said that there was a felt need to train election officers since they perform election duties in addition to their primary work. Realizing the need for a structured training, ECI started with a certification programme for returning officers in 2016 which received a positive feedback. He expressed his pleasure to see the programme being extended for EROs and AEROs.
The programme also saw the launch of ‘Handbook for ERO and AERO Certification’ by the Commission. The participants were handed out Certificates for successful completion of the threeday training workshop. The interactive sessions at the workshop were much appreciated by the EROs and AEROs. Suggestions have been invited from the participants to make ERO Net more effective. Two best entries would be awarded at the next National Voters Day function held every year on the 25th of January.