In a bid to strengthen democracy and increase youth participation in the electoral process, Dr Rajesh Deshmukh addressed the College Councillers of the Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELC) during their annual meeting at the Collectorate. Deshmukh emphasized the need for 100% voter registration among eligible students aged 18 to 29 years, as voter registration in this age group is currently lacking by 12 to 1.5 lakh in the district. Deputy District Election Officer Meenal Kalaskar, Deputy Collector Archana Tambe, and representatives from various organizations were also present.
An Electoral Literacy Club is a platform to engage school students through interesting activities and hands-on experience to sensitise them on their electoral rights and familiarise them with the electoral process of registration and voting. ELCs are also present in colleges and rural communities. At ELCs, learning meets fun. Activities and Games are designed to stimulate and motivate students provoking them to think and ask questions. Through ELC, Election Commission of India, aims at strengthening the culture of electoral participation among young and future voters.
Dr Deshmukh highlighted the efforts made by the district election administration to engage youth in the election process. Last year, Electoral Literacy Clubs were established in 38 colleges, contributing to increased voter registration in the district. With the upcoming Lok Sabha, Assembly, and local self-government elections next year, the focus on voter registration and participation becomes more crucial. The Election Commission of India's adoption of technology has made the voter list accessible on mobile phones, encouraging a more inclusive and participative election environment.
During the meeting, Kalaskar provided detailed information on voter registration, corrections, and the application process. Deputy Collector Tambe shared plans for Electoral Literacy Clubs activities and discussed the upcoming signing of a memorandum of understanding with colleges. Tejas Gujarathi from Worship Earth Foundation presented information on the establishment of ELC, internships for students, voter awareness contests, and an app for election literacy.
The meeting brought together 52 colleges, representatives fromElectoral Literacy Clubs, coordinating officers, and six college student representatives, fostering collaboration in boosting voter awareness and participation among the youth.