Banks, Post offices to help ECI step-up voter education, outreach ahead of Lok Sabha polls


New Delhi, February 26: In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and the Department of Posts (DoP) to amplify its voter outreach and awareness efforts ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The MoU was signed today in the presence of Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Arun Goel.

Vineet Pandey Secretary, Department of Posts Sunil Mehta, Chief Executive, IBA, and other officials from the Department of Posts, IBA, and ECI were also present on the occasion.

According to an ECI release, the initiative is in continuation of ECI’s untiring efforts to enhance electoral awareness in the country.

As part of the MoU, IBA and DoP with its members and affiliated institutions/units will extend support in promoting voter education through their extensive network on a probono basis, employing various interventions to empower citizens with knowledge about their electoral rights, processes, and steps for registration and voting.

Members and affiliated institutions/units will display voter education messages prominently on their websites, directing visitors to learn more about the electoral process, the release said.

Voter education content will be disseminated through various promotional channels such as social media and customer outreach platforms of member institutions, ensuring widespread awareness among stakeholders and the public.

Voter education messages will be displayed in the form of posters, flex, and hoardings at office infrastructure/premises at major locations, reaching customers at key touchpoints.

According to the release, all member institutions under IBA and DoP will establish Voter Awareness Fora to engage employees and customers in discussions and initiatives related to voter education.

Sensitize about training module on SVEEP in the regular orientation Programmes of employees of IBA and DoP.

The Department of Posts will affix a special cancellation stamp (bearing voter education messages) on the postal articles.

Despite successfully managing and conducting elections by the Election Commission over the years in fair and peaceful way along with a significant increase in participation of the electors, there is also a concern that around 30 crore electors (out of 91 crore), did not cast their votes in General Election to Lok Sabha 2019. The voting percentage was 67.4 per cent, which the Commission has taken as a challenge to improve upon.

Through concerted efforts, both organizations are committed to fostering a culture of informed and active participation in the electoral process, the release stated.

ECI had recently signed an MoU with the Ministry of Education to formally integrate electoral literacy into the educational curriculum of schools and colleges.–(ANI)


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