New Delhi- The Election Commission of India Wednesday released a new digital publication ‘BLO e-Patrika’ at an interactive session held with BLOs spread across the States in India.
Over 350 BLOs joined via video-conferencing from the office of Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) in States/UTs and 50 BLOs from the nearby states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi joined the launch event physically at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The event was also live streamed on the ECI YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNI2qtQD5VA ) and was shared with over 10 lakh BLOs for facilitating their participation. During the event, ECI YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/eci) gained over 25,000 subscribers today and over 2.4 lakh views were received.
The BLOs participated enthusiastically during the interaction with the Commission sharing their experiences, challenges they come across while performing their duties and success stories. Today’s event was a first-of-its-kind direct interaction by the Commission with the BLOs across the country. Senior officials from the Election Commission and CEOs of all States (via video conferencing) were present during the event.
Addressing the gathering, CEC Rajiv Kumar acknowledged that BLOs perform a monumental role as fundamental blocks of the ECI system being the most effective field level institution, the direct link of the Commission with the people and facilitating their participation in strengthening democracy. In an impromptu poetic description, Kumar said “BLOs Nirvachan Aayog ke swaroop ke roop mein saakar hain, Commission ka Vyavahar hain, drishti aur swar bhi, is liye aap sabka atyant aabhar hai. (निर्वाचन आयोग के स्वरुप के रूप में साकार हैं, आयोग का व्यवहार है, आयोग की दृष्टि और स्वर भी हैं, इसीलिए आप सब का अत्यंत आभार है)”. Kumar assured the BLOs that the Commission recognises the strengths of BLO institution which with its multifaceted presence ensures door step delivery of services to voters. BLOs are the primary source of information for every voter across the length and breadth of the country. CEC added that the intent behind introducing BLO E-Patrika is to ensure a cascading information model for a better informed and motivated Booth Level Officer.
EC Anup Chandra Pandey during the launch event said that the idea behind introducing this bi-monthly e-magazine is a novel initiative of the Commission. Pandey said the Patrika in fact provides a platform for three way communication – A platform for ECI to share instructions till ground level, for sharing feedback and success stories and facilitating learning of interstate best practices. While highlighting the genesis of the institution of BLO, he mentioned how a voters list made every five year in the past got transformed to the computerised Electoral database and subsequently to Photo Electoral Roll with yearly updation. He urged Chief Electoral Officers to constantly be in contact with the BLOs and work towards their capacity building, digital literacy and also resolving the challenges faced by them for an efficient and motivated field work force.
Senior Deputy Election Commissioner, Dharmendra Sharma and Nitesh Vyas, incharge of Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) division in their address highlighted that the institution of BLO was devised by the Commission in 2006 to primarily ensure an inclusive, updated and error free electoral roll which is the first step for free, fair and participative elections. Vyas added that over the years, BLOs have adapted themselves to newer technologically upgraded methods of working in the ECI system.
The themes of the bimonthly e-Patrika will include subjects like EVM-VVPAT training, IT applications, Special Summary Revision, Minimum SVEEP Activities at polling booths, Postal Ballot facility, accessible elections, Electoral Literacy Clubs, unique voter awareness initiatives and National Voters’ Day. It will also include informal conversations with BLOs, their success stories and best practices across the country. The language will be simple, communicative and illustrative. The magazine will be available in English, Hindi and regional languages. English and Hindi versions of the BLO e-Patrika can be read through the links below on ECI website or ECI Twitter handle (@ECISVEEP), and are also uploaded via Garuda app.
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