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19 Apr, 2014

India’s first “Election Tourism” programme for world’s biggest democratic poll

New Delhi, 15-April-2014, Government of India Election Commission – Seven senior officials from the Electoral Commission of Namibia began their participation today in ECI’s 2014 Election Visitors Programme. A special briefing was organized for them, at the ECI Headquarters, on India’s electoral system and the General Elections, 2014, with particular reference to the electoral scene in Karnataka. The delegations later left for Bengaluru for a first hand experience of the Lok Sabha Elections on 17th April.

The 2014 Election Visitors Programme is part of the South-South Cooperation initiative of the Election Commission of India. The programme is for countries interested in witnessing the Lok Sabha elections and is being run in partnership with UNDP who are extending some funding support to needy countries. This is the first time that ECI is facilitating election visits from other countries on such a scale and under a structured programme.

Under the Programme, ECI and UNDP are facilitating visits of about 50 delegates from Election Management Bodies of approx. 20 countries. The countries are Namibia, Nigeria, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Uganda, Kenya, Bhutan and some member-countries of League of Arab States (Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, Somalia, Palestine, Iraq and Oman).

The delegates have been divided into four groups depending on their arrival schedule. The Programme includes a briefing at ECI, followed by field visits to an elections location, followed by another interaction at ECI.  The four election locations are in Karnataka (17th April), Uttar Pradesh (24th April), West Bengal (30th April) and Himachal Pradesh (7th May).

Separately, 30 election officials, who are currently attending a training programme at ECI’s training institute, IIIIDEM, under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme, will be taken on a field visit to Agra to see preparations for elections and to Gwalior for a field-level exposure to elections. They also had an opportunity to witness polling in the NCT of Delhi on 10th April.