Every year in India, 25th January has been officially recognized as "National Voters' Day!" - a practice that was initiated in 2011 and has since encouraged voters to participate in democracy. Special focus has been given to encourage the youth to make use of their voting rights and to make universal adult suffrage a reality.
On this day, we bring to you some interesting facts about voting in India!
1. Our country now has 83 crore voters, almost two crore more than the participating voters in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The number of total voters is beyond the population of the whole of Europe put together.
2. Newly enrolled voters will now have to take a proud pledge that goes as follows: "We, the citizens of India, having abiding faith in democracy, hereby pledge to uphold the democratic traditions of our country and the dignity of free, fair and peaceful elections, and to vote in every election fearlessly and without being influenced by considerations of religion, race, caste, community, language or any inducement."
3. They're also given a badge and a motivating slogan at the felicitation ceremony along with their EPIC- "Proud to be a voter – Ready to vote". By doing this, the youth are expected to derive a sense of citizenship, empowerment, pride and participation, inspiring them to exercise their franchise, when the occasion comes. Special campaigns are also being run to involve as many women as possible in the democratic mechanism.
4. 52 lakh young voters who had attained majority at the age of 18 in the year 2014, had registered as first time voters. This turned out to be the biggest empowerment of youth on a single day anywhere in the world. As of now in 2015, this number has more than doubled.
5. For the first time in India, the transgender community is being recognized and can vote under the categories - 'third sex' and 'others'. This comes as a feature that didn't exist previously. So far, 28,314 voters have registered as transgender.
6. 1952 sees India's first general election and lasted over two months. Instead of a voting on a ballot paper for each candidate, different colored ballot boxes were used.
7. 1957 saw the highest voting percentage in any general elections - a whopping 62.2%! In contrast, 1967 saw the lowest with only 33% casting their votes.
8. In the last 60 years of its existence, the Election Commission of India has conducted 15 General Elections to the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and 331 general elections to State Legislative Assemblies.
Source: Compiled from the Press Information Bureau and Reuters News Network.
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