V.S. Sampath appreciated the contribution of each SAARC country in sharing their experiences of election management
INVC, Delhi, A Regional Experience Sharing Workshop of Election management bodies of South Asian on Democracy and Election Management was held in New Delhi on 20th October, which was inaugurated by Chief Election Commissioner, Mr. V.S. Sampath. In his Key Note Address, the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr. V.S. Sampath appreciated the contribution of each SAARC country in sharing their experiences of election management and appreciated UNDP’s unstinted support in organizing the workshop. He also referred to the immense challenge involved in using technology for accurate counting of votes and prompt dissemination of results. Ms Lise Grande, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative paid glowing tributes to Election Commission of India’s success in delivering free and fair, credible and transparent elections. She also referred to UNDP’s partnerships with the SAARC EMBs, and spoke of the importance of inclusion, particularly of women, youth and other disadvantaged sections, both in enrolment and voting. The delegates participated from each Election Commission of South Asian countries made a presentation on a topical theme, such as Role of Election Management Bodies in enhancing credibility of Elections, Freedom of Expression and the role of Media and Civil Society Organisations in Elections. The Indian presentation on Participation of Women, Youth and inclusive voter participation chaired by Dr. Nasim Zaidi, Election Commissioner of India was much appreciated. The Workshop also discussed common election management challenges such as paid news, use of technology and ways to achieve a pure electoral roll. In his valedictory address, Election Commissioner Mr. H. S. Brahma referred to the common challenges before the SAARC EMBs, and emphasized the importance of technology in enhancing credibility, acceptability and transparency of the election process. The Workshop was organised in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-India) in which 13 Election Commissions and senior officials from the 7 SAARC countries (Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) participated. Earlier, the delegates visited Pune on 19 October, 2014 and witnessed counting and familiarized themselves with counting technology being used in the State Assembly elections in Maharashtra. The delegates showed considerable interest and were impressed by the accuracy and speed of the counting and results process.