The Election Commission on 8 October 2013 appointed 42 awareness observers for assembly polls to be conducted in five states- Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Rajasthan. These awareness observers will oversee the management of electoral process as well as help in increasing the voter turnout. In the meanwhile, the awareness observers will also keep an eye on the paid news.
Highlights of the appointment of awareness observers
• Majority of the awareness observers have been posted in Madhya Pradesh followed by 11 in Rajasthan.
• Nine of these have been posted in Chhattisgarh, while Delhi has three and Mizoram two.
• The awareness observers comprise of public relations and information service.
• All these awareness observers were given the training on their roles and functions on 8 October 2013.
The Election Commission, for the first time, also decided to appoint the central awareness observers during the upcoming assembly elections. Each of the central awareness observers will have to take care of the three districts. These central awareness observers will see the level of information, motivation and facilitation of voters by the Election Commission.
Role and Responsibilities of the awareness observers
• The awareness observers will be deployed in the five states in two phases of seven days each.
• They will also observe the interventions undertaken by the poll machinery in order to overcome the gap of people's participation in the electoral process, primarily in the area of voters’ turnout.
• Their purpose will also be to monitor the media-related aspects of the Representation of People Act 1951, while at the same time, also observing the mechanism directed by the Commission at district levels on the area of Paid News.
• All these observers will also have the responsibility of interacting with the district electoral officers as well as bringing the problems to their notice.
• They will also interact with SVEEP nodal officers and district SVEEP committees.
• Their role will also be to oversee the effective functioning of Medical Certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMCs) which are formed in each district for checking the media-related violations as well as paid news.