ASEAN students interact with Indian election chief

The Chief Election Commissioner of India, Om Prakash Rawat interacted with 250 students from ten member countries under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Brunei

May 7, 2018

The unique opportunity provided ASEAN students a strong platform to learn about the elaborate electoral process of the world’s largest democracy

This will help the youth to effectively participate in the full spectrum of democratic activities in future, including elections as well as good governance

The students are visiting India as part of an Indo-ASEAN students exchange programme under the aegis of the nation’s Ministry of External Affairs

India, a youth-heavy nation, has taken special care to broaden the avenues for young people to effectively participate in democratic activities

On May 7, the Chief Election Commissioner of India, Om Prakash Rawat interacted with 250 students from ten member countries under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The opportunity provided the students from Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Brunei a platform to learn about the elaborate electoral process of the world’s largest democracy. This will help the youth to meaningfully and effectively participate in the full spectrum of democratic activities in future. The students are visiting India as part of an Indo-ASEAN students exchange programme under the aegis of the nation’s Ministry of External Affairs. Terming the youth as the beacon of hope for future of democracy, Mr Rawat said that the Election Commission of India attaches great importance to the involvement of young people in all democratic processes.

The commissioner stressed that the youth can help resolve emerging challenges to electoral integrity such as fake news, corrupt practices targeting young voters, data harvesting for profiling and release of targeted messages to sway voting patterns as well as social media vulnerabilities including emergence of bots, among others. The young generation is better equipped for devising strategies to meet these challenges to preserve democracy. With an average age of 29 years, India is all set to become the world’s youngest country by 2020. In another four years, by 2024, India will be the world’s most populous country. The population currently stands at 1.3 billion, the world’s second highest. Government of India, along with a cross-section of stakeholders, has taken special care to broaden the avenues for young people to effectively participate in democratic activities, including elections as well as good governance.

India is setting up Electoral Literacy Clubs in schools and colleges to drive youngsters to proactively participate in electoral processes. The Election Commission has also established the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) to provide a platform for ‘capacity building’ of election managers across the democratic world as well as for sharing the best practices in the field. The visit of students from the ASEAN states come amid the bloc’s strengthening relationship with India. In January 2018, 10 heads of ASEAN States and Governments had attended India’s 69th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi as guests of honour. At the time, the dignitaries also attended a summit celebrating 25 years of India-ASEAN relations. The initiative came as part of India’s “Act East” policy, which is aimed at establishing stronger economic and diplomatic ties with the extended neighbourhood.

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