New Delhi: A ten member delegation of MPs of the Committee on the Constitution in Riksdag, the Parliament of Sweden, visited the Election Commission of India (ECI) today. The delegation was led by Karin Enstrom, MP and Chair of the Committee on the Constitution in Riksdag, accompanied by two Parliamentary officials and two diplomats from the Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi. The delegation met India’s Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and the Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra.
CEC Sunil Arora welcomed the Swedish delegation and, in his address, stated that the Commission is committed to hold free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive, accessible, ethical, and participative elections. He gave an overview of the last national elections held in India.
Arora added that using modern tools of information and communication technology, several innovative measures were taken up during the last Lok Sabha elections and recently held state elections to make electoral processes hassle free and voter-friendly. He said that special attention was paid to make elections accessible for persons with disabilities and senior citizens.
Arora also briefed the visiting parliamentarians and officials about the international cooperation programme of the ECI, including setting up of India A-WEB (Association of World Election Bodies) Centre in New Delhi for documentation, research, and training with the objective of sharing best practices and building capacity of the 115-member Association. He mentioned that ECI is looking forward to working with the Swedish Election Authority in future.
Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa mentioned that the ECI has taken several steps to spread the progress of democracy, remarking that the gender gap in the voting population, which was 16% in the past, had almost been eliminated in the General Election 2019. Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra briefed the delegates about the steps taken by ECI to curb the use of money power in elections.
Karin Enstrom, MP and Chair of the Committee on the Constitution in Riksdag, thanked the Commission for the warm welcome accorded to the Swedish delegation. She gave an overview of the Swedish electoral system wherein simultaneous elections are held for municipal, county, and national elections for Riksdag. Enstrom further stated that the delegation was impressed with the magnitude of Indian elections and the way this work is done by the ECI.
Umesh Sinha, Secretary General, ECI, made a presentation about the structure and functioning of the ECI in managing the largest election exercise in the world. A short film on Parliamentary Election 2019 was also screened for the Swedish delegation. This was followed by a question and answer session where queries from the delegates relating to secrecy of voting, voting by overseas electors, facilities for voting by differently-abled persons, inclusive electoral participation, curbing money power etc. were answered.
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