SVEEP Action Plan in Cachar

A.Objectives

     To target an increase in voter turnout in the identified low turnout polling stations and an
overall increase in voter turnout over 2014 Lok Sabha and 2011 Bidhan Sabha election. To remove gender gap, if any, in registration and voting.

B.Situation analysis

The total electorate in the district is 1096974.(Male- 573134, Female- 523840).The Elector population ratio is 57.39% and the sex ratio 958. The District of Cachar had constantly maintained a high voter turnout in the last two General Elections. The average voter turnout remained around 72% during the last two General elections.The district has a very high literacy rate. The people are highly politically conscious. The penetration ofPrint and Electronic media is also very high when compared with other district. There are more than 10 no. of Newspapers and Periodicals and more than 02  TV Channels.
The district has 98.58% Photo Roll and 95.06% EPIC coverage. The elections in the district have been more or less peaceful.

The only weakness identified in the election scenario was the apathy among the rich and young professionals and the general slackness in the urban areas in voting. This is evidenced by the fact that average voter turnout district wise during 2014 is the lowest in the  district of Silchar (72.22% as against a district average of 75.86%). As far as registration for enrolment is concerned no slackness is observed anywhere in the state.

The district has almost achieved optimum level enrolment during the last revisions. 100% BLO coverage, the enrollment process and other Roll related services to the public were made totally hassle free. Taking into consideration the difficulties being faced by the people who live in remote village areas, in availing the registration facility, the facility of enrollment was provided at the door step of citizens.
 
Gender gap
The district gender ratio is 958 and Electors sex ratio is 914.

Voter turnout
The average voter turnout remained around 75% during the last two General Election . The VT percentage in the general election to last Legislative Assembly was 74.75% and the last General Election 2014 was 75.86%.
Excluded groups
As far as Cachar is concerned there are no excluded groups.

 

B1.1.Electoral profile

Cachar profile
Population (projected to 2016)- 1911514
Electors
Male-573134, Female --523840, Total -1096974
EP Ratio -57.39%
EPIC coverage- 95.06%
Districts -1
Sub Division-1
Revenue Circle-5
Block Development Offices-
Legislative Assembly Constituencies-7
Parliamentary Constituencies -1
Polling Stations -1281
B2. Identification of Gaps

The only weakness identified in the election scenario was the apathy among the rich and young groups and professionals and the general slackness in the urban areas in voting. This is evidenced by the fact that average voter turnout district wise during 2014 is the lowest in the  district of Silchar (72.22% as against a district average of 75.86%).
.
Polling Station wise

10% of Polling Stations in each LACs with the lowest voter turnout percentage were identified and focused campaign will be organized in these polling station areas. The BLOs concerned will be trained for the purpose. Voter awareness pamphlets will be distributed to all households in these PS areas.

 

C. Building strategy

C1. Common strategy
The political awareness level in Cachar is much high when compared to other district of Assam.. The high level of media penetration with more than 5 nos. of Local  Newspapers, 2 Local TV Channels, the people are more or less well informed of all minor developments in the political sphere. The only strategy to be adopted is to address the slackness among young professionals and urban elite towards voting in elections.

D.Implementation
C1. Common Strategy (Overall Voter education and awareness)
· To ensure cent-percent registration of all eligible citizens and cent percent EPIC making and its distribution to the concerned elector.
· To ensure that all persons whose names are in the electoral roll come to the polling station and exercise their right of franchise on the day of Poll.
· To emphasize that greater participation is essential for stronger democracy .
· To generate awareness towards the value of casting votes particularly the value of each and every vote.
·  To emphasize that every citizen has the equal right of one vote and this right should be exercised by everybody.
· To ensure proper distribution of voter slip among the electorate.
· Popularize the alternative documents to vote.
· To give stress on Ethical voting free and fair voting without any inducement or fear.
· Special attention will be given on those polling stations where there was relatively low turnout in the previous elections.

C1.1. Information and Motivation

· EVM demonstration and hands-on training particularly in the rural and remote areas.
· Spreading the messages through school going children to their parents/family for participation in the election.
· Voter education and making them aware of their right to vote through village haat, GramSabha, Songs, Street Drama  etc.
· Women and youth centric awareness programmes to emphasize upon the need for Ethical  Voting.
· Training for NOTA button in EVM.
· Special awareness campaign in areas of weaker sections.
· Mass awareness, information & motivation through advertising in News Paper, contacts with the brand ambassador, through banner, hoarding, pamphlets, stickers etc.

C1.2. Facilitation
·  Ensuring the facilities of water, shade, toilet etc. on the polling stations.
·  Ensuring the facility of ramp on all polling stations.
·  Proper distribution of voter slips to all electors ahead of polls.
·  Providing the people information about their polling station through GIS/Google Maps..
·  Website based facilities like browsing through candidate’s affidavits, name search, electoral roll, polling station information,online application for voter list and submission of complaints,
alternative documents, motivational audio-video messages etc. through CEO Assam website.
· The name search, the online application links are being provided on other Government websites as well apart from the CEO Assam.

Gender Gap

The population gender ratio of the district is 958.
Survey findings regarding reasons for non-participation (salient findings of thesurvey reports of past election/registration survey )
(a) Absence of good candidates
(b) Apathy and Anger with the system
(c) Migration for jobs
(d) Lack of awareness about the importance of each vote.
(e) Lack of information.
(f) Inconvenience (in going to the polling stations & casting of votes, long queues
etc.)
(g) Non-existence of name in roll/non-availability of EPICC.

Building Stategy
(incluces IMF-information, Motivation and Facilitation)

D5.3. Content Development
The content of various voter awareness materials will be prepared well in advance. Those prepared at the district levels will be got vetted by the CEO.

 D6. Physical events and activities
The NVD was celebrated with due importance in the District. A number of youth competitions like quiz, painting etc was organised as part of NVD celebrations. Seminars on election related matters was also organised for college students in University  and at the District HQ.

D6.1. Overall approach
The overall approach will be to increase participation in election.

D6.2
C2. Targeted approach (targeted interventions for specific identified gaps)

A number of youth competitions like quiz, painting etc was organized as part of NVD celebrations.

  • Seminars on election related matters will be organized for college students in the district.

B. (I) Sankalp Patras / pledge letters is distributed to schools.
(II) Request letter for electoral participation and on ethical voting to each and every household will be distributed through BLO.

C.Voter facilitation
Distribution of voter’s slips through BLOs etc.

D. Voter facilitation centres
Voter Registration and Education Centres have been opened in all Electoral Registration offices  and Circle Offices. In addition to these the services of 163 plus VFC  have also been roped in for providing all election related services to the public. Hands on familiarisation on voting on EVMs will also be provided in these centres for the public.

E.  Help line numbers /Name search on internet and SMS etc PS search, location search on Google map etc Toll free help line numbers will be provided in all districts for electors. Facility for Roll search/Booth search have already provided on the website of the CEO. SMS and Touch Screen Roll and Booth search facilities have also been provided to the public. Google mapping of all the 21424 Polling stations have also been done.


F.  PS specific facilitation initiatives planned Display of Voters list, proper lighting, ramps etc will be made in all Polling stations as was done in all previous general elections in the District.

F.Voter slip

Voter’s slips will be distributed to electors through BLOs before the date of poll from 01-04-2014. Special counters manned by BLOs will be opened in all PSs to distribute voter’s slips to those electors who were not issued slips before the poll day.

G. Monitoring Mechanism
Monitoring mechanism for the implementation of various SVEEP activities in connection with the
general election to Lok sabha will be made at the district levels.

H. Evaluation and documentation
All arrangements will be made for documentation and evaluation of the interventions made under
SVEEP in connection with the election.

· The polling stations with lowest percentage of voting in the last elections have been identified and focused efforts of awareness and motivation are being carried on with the help of the self help group under the DRDA are also being targeted to spread the awareness about voting/ethical voting in their vicinity.
· Weaker sections, vulnerable section and excluded groups/areas are being identified and targeted awareness campaign are to be launch for them by the field authorities.
· Campus ambassadors are to spread awareness among the college students.
· Awareness, motivation through contact programmes particularly women college students is being held with the help Campus Ambassador.
· Effective mass communication is aimed through the use of Hoardings, Banners, Pamphlets, Stickers, Electronic media like radio and television.
· Effective use of software technology such as Bulk SMS, SMS based information, website based information would be provided to the citizens during Election time.
· With the help of the Railways, through the poster/banner display on the railway platforms, passengers would also be made aware of the importance of voting.
· Ensuring effective work by sector officer and close monitoring of sector management.
· Angawadi Sewikas also being involved in voter awareness.

C1.1. Information and Motivation
· Street drma based on election theme with stress on Ethical
voting.
· Motivating through the display of video messages in cinema halls
· House to house awareness, contact building and mass mobilization.
· Rallies and Prabhat pheries.
· Panchayat level meetings in rural areas. .
· Ideas for greater participation would also be invited from the partner agencies, students and also from various sections of the society through media discussions.

C1.2. Facilitation

· Special campaign for enrolment was done on 09-03-2014.
· Helpline.
· Film showing on voter awareness at Cinema Halls.
· Mobilization of women.
· Confidence building measures to be carried out among the areas of weaker sections, vulnerable communities though sector magistrates, local police officers and also by senior officers. The officials to visit the identified areas frequently and report about the probable trouble makers. The identified trouble maker to be listed and suitable legal action to be taken to prevent any undue activities to pressurize or induce fear among the voters so as to prevent them from casting their vote or influence their vote.
Effective all round measures including those from law and order point of view will be undertaken, so that the voters can go to vote with a sense of security.

D. Implementation

(Systematic planning and roll out of plans to achieve objectives given at A)

D1. Team formation at District and State Hqs
· At district level a nodal officer in-charge SVEEP has been appointed.
· At  SVEEP core committee has been formed headed by Chief
Executive Officer of Jila Parishad-cum-DDC, District SVEEP nodal officer,
Addl.Deputy Commissioner Officer and other officials are related to SVEEP activities.
· Campus ambassadors have been appointed in the University, NIT and Assam Medical College.
· Inter departmental and inter institutional co-ordination is being done at the CEO
level to facilitate working in the district.

D2. Training & Capacity Building of SVEEP Teams

· SVEEP nodal officer, and other senior official at district level have already been imparted training about the activities to be undertaken under SVEEP. A refresher course in being planned in the month.
· The campus ambassadors have been selected and trained through organizing Orientation camps and meetings.
· The district has been allotted funds received from ECI under SVEEP.
· The promotional materials like  audio jingles, poster/banners etc.developed at the district level are shared with all. Similarly the educational material received from ECI, is also sent to the Circles. The district has also been informed about the SVEEP materials available at the ECI website, which they can make use of.
· Clear cut instructions received from ECI (e.g. various frame works ) as well as from the CEO level have been communicated to all the districts.

D3. Building Partnership
(Partners at State level and partners at district level)
.
· Information and Public Relations Department, Education Department, AIR, Doordarshan have been requested to become partners in this endeavour.
· Letters of request have also been sent to DRDA for engaging their self help groups in election awareness campaign..
· At district level various civil non-political organization like- cultural group and youth organization are being engaged.
· Senior citizen participation in the campaign also being aimed at.
· Campus ambassadors to motivate young college going students particularly Girls student.
· Art and Culture department of the state and the Government of India, Media Units
like AIR, Doordarshan and private media units (print and electronic) are being
involved.
· State Information and Public Relation Department support to be fully obtained for
SVEEP activities particularly in preparation of advertisement display of hoardings, banner, audio-visual, involving their song and drama division, spread of messages through Street drama, Geet etc.

D4. Resource Mobilization

· The Information and Public Relation Department is being roped in to spread the messages, organize cultural troupes through their Drama and Songs Division, perform Street Nataks at the field level. Through PNRD promotional activities like playing of videos messages,  songs through FLS.
· Letter of request has been sent to Doordarshan and All India Radio to spread the election related information and motivate the citizens through their programme and news wings. Uptill now All India Radio has responded.

· The Railways, East-Central Railways has been approached and the use of Railway platform for displaying the messages to motivate for voting is being undertaken.
· District authorities have been sent all the frame works related to PSU/ Corporates, Media houses etc. and have also been asked to make use of the services of Bank and Post Offices in this regard.
· State level meet of the media representative is also planned to ensure print space, air time, development of contents/messages, effective discussion on Ethical voting etc.
· Airport, Banks, IPRD (hoarding space) etc. to provide infrastructure for information dissemination and display. Private media houses to provide print space, air time, content etc.

 

D5. Media & Communication Plan

(insertions in Media like Electronic, Print, outdoor, internet-based, IVR, SMS,
callertunes etc)
· Frequent media insertions in print media, visual and audio insertion in electronic media including local cable channels will be released for general information to voters.
· Posters, pamphlet distribution at public places like railways stations, Bank, Post Office, Bus Stand, Market Centers will be carried out to motivate the electors for voting .
· The mobile based technologies like, Bulk SMS, Push/Pull SMS etc. are being explored and will be utilized.
· Internet based informational and motivational activities through facebook and other web pages will be undertaken.
· At district level regular media releases to be ensured for information dissemination (about the activities being undertaken, the steps to be initiated and the instructions of the Commission.)

D5.1. Overall approach

· The overall approach as mentioned above is to reach out to each and every voter through media, communication, resource mobilization, effective steering of partnerships, law and order, confidence building measures, information, motivation and facilitation works in order to motivate every voter to use his/her right to vote on the day of poll.