The India International Institute for Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) is conducting a training programme on ‘Capacity Development for Election Management’ under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India. The programme is being held from 5thto 16th March, 2018. As many as 29 senior and mid-level officials from EMBs of 21 ITEC countries are participating in the programme.
Inaugurating the programme, Deputy Election Commissioner Shri Sudeep Jain welcomed the participants. With each country bringing its best practices to the table, Mr. Jain hoped for an enriching experience which would help in improving our election management systems. Talking about IIIDEM, Shri Jain said that the institute has till date conducted 37 international programme with participants from 85 countries forming its alumni. He urged the participants to make use of the opportunity and maintain continuous interaction with each other even after the conclusion of the programme.
Shri Jain added that conduct of every Indian election throws up new challenges and experiences. “This leads us to further improve our processes and practices to ensure free, fair and credible elections. Even in the recently held elections to three poll-going states, we faced several new challenges to which we had to respond quickly and effectively” he said.
Shri S K Dudeja, Deputy Secretary (DPA-II), MEA, said that the Development Partnership Administration (DPA) was set up in the Ministry of External Affairs in January 2012. It aims to streamline and improve delivery of the various elements of India's development assistance. He told the participants that DPA-II is the nodal division at MEA for all capacity building programmes including the ITEC. Shri Dudeja added that the ITEC Programme is essentially bilateral in nature. However, in recent years, ITEC resources have also been used for cooperation programmes conceived in regional and inter-regional context.
Senior Advisor at IIIDEM Dr. Bhagbanprakash said that the programme has been designed with care to ensure that it addresses the key dimensions in any election management process. These dimensions pertain to the structure and functioning of an Election Commission, its autonomy and transparency, and professionalism of electoral services. Dr. Bhagbanprakash asked the participants to share their country practices so that they not only benefit from the programme but also from one another.
Electoral Expert at IIIDEM, Dr. Noor Mohammad told the participants that the training programme comprises of a basic course on electoral process. He pointed out that often errors witnessed in conduct of elections are observed at the field level. Therefore, training of election staff becomes extremely important, especially when technology is now being used in various stages of election management. Dr. Mohammad briefed the participants on the scheduled subjects of study and discussion in the 12-day training programme.
Addressing the gathering, Shri Vivek Khare, Director (Training), ECI, said that the training programme covers the entire cycle of electoral process and gives a glimpse of the Indian culture. He thanked the MEA for providing IIIDEM the opportunity to hold its sixth training programme in the ITEC series. He looked forward to a greater participation at the programme for a wider learning experience.