General Elections 2014: Highest Ever Voter Turn-Out


General Election 2014 has seen the highest ever voter-turnout in India with 66.4 % of the electorate casting vote. The previous highest was 64.01%, recorded in 1984. In the previous General Elections held in 2009, voter turnout was 58.19%. In absolute numbers, out of the total 834,101,479 electors, 553,801,801 people cast their vote in General Election 2014. Out of this, 65.3% were female voters and 67.09 % were male.

Table 1. Voting Percentage in General Elections 1951-52   ̶  2014


General Elections
Year
Male %
Female %
Total %
First
1951 - '52
NB: Gender-wise break-up of electors of General Elections conducted before 1971 is not available.
61.16
Second
1957
63.73
Third
1962
63. 31
46.63
55.42
Fourth
1967
66.73
55.48
61.33
Fifth
1971
60.09
49.11
55.27
Sixth
1977
65.63
54.91
60.49
Seventh
1980
62.16
51.22
56.92
Eighth
1984 -'85
61.2
58.6
64.01
Ninth
1989
66.13
57.32
61.95
Tenth
1991 -'92
61.58
51.35
55.88
Eleventh
1996
62.06
53.41
57.94
Twelfth
1998
65.72
57.88
61.97
Thirteenth
1999
63.97
55.64
59.99
Fourteenth
2004
61.66
53.3
58.07
Fifteenth
2009
50.97
65.96
58.19
Sixteenth
2014
67.09
65.30
66.40
Source: Election Commission of India

Internal Security issues in India in 2013

Union Home Minister Shri Sushilkumar Shinde:

India is facing multifarious challenges on the internal security front in the form of militancy in J&K, insurgency in some parts of the North East, the threat of Left Wing Extremism and terrorism in hinterland of the country. Indian Mujahiddeen, which draws its motivation and sustenance from inimical forces operating from across the Western border has been responsible for 3 out of 4 major terrorist attacks in our hinterland this year. These include Hyderabad twin blasts and the series of blasts at Bodhgaya and Patna. Another blast that took place in Bangalore was the handiwork of some misguided fundamentalist youth and remnants of Al-Ummah. However, I am happy to inform you that all these cases have been successfully worked out. I compliment officers of Intelligence agencies and Police Forces for having made critical breakthroughs in this regard. Here, I would like to make a special mention of the apprehension of Yasin Bhatkal who was wanted in a large number of cases of bomb blasts in different parts of the country. Our security agencies have also arrested Abdul Karim also known as Tunda, a wanted terrorist in different bomb blast cases. These arrests constitute a major breakthrough in our fight against the terrorism and demonstrate the resolve of the Goverenment of India to bring to justice all those who commit crimes of terrorism in our country. It is important that the leads emanating from the investigations are vigorously pursued to apprehend all those associated with this network. Our security forces have to remain constantly alert and act in a cohesive manner to deal with these challenges. 

In our fight against terrorism, the Multi Agency Centre has emerged as an effective platform for proper coordination between Central and State agencies. The scope of MAC is now being extended to more than 450 districts across the country. I believe there is a dire need for upward flow of intelligence into MAC for dissemination to stakeholders, which can be achieved by upgrading the capability of Special Branches of State Police. This is only possible if States upgrade their Special Branches for which Government of India is prepared to extend all possible help. 

Left Wing extremism remains another major threat to our national security. Despite reduction in violence levels, naxals have continued to target Security Forces and those reposing faith in our democratic polity. The attack on political leaders in Chhattisgarh and the killing of an SP in Dumka district of Jharkhand are instances of Naxal brutality. Central and State Security Forces, however, have achieved notable successes in restricting their areas of influence, denying them fresh recruits and eroding their top leadership. There has also been a drop in the casualty figure of Security Forces from 111 last year to 97 this year. On the other hand, the number of Naxals killed has gone up to 97 from 71 last year for the same period. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Security Forces for their outstanding role in ensuring peaceful polling in the recently held Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh. The high voter turnout has sent the right message to the Naxalites that common people of the area have reposed faith in our democratic polity. 

The Union Government remains committed to root out this menace. It will continue to help the affected States by placing at their disposal CAPFs and support various security as well as development related interventions in Naxal areas. However, the driving force to deal with this problem must come from local initiatives led by the States. The institution of Police Stations must be strengthened to play a focal role in this fight. It is also imperative to recruit personnel for special forces from local marginalised sections of the society. They would need to be trained and equipped for jungle warfare and put under command of the inspiring police leadership. 

The situation in Jammu & Kashmir continues to be a challenge for us. This year, there has been an increase in targeted attacks on Security Forces resulting in nearly 50 personnel losing their lives. These attacks indicate a nefarious game plan hatched across the border to demoralise our Security Forces and demonstrate to the people of J&K that the capabilities of militants remain undiminished. There have also been violent actions and ceasefire violations along the border, particularly in Poonch district of Jammu region. Our Security Forces have responded in right measure and succeeded in neutralising several militant commanders and eliminating 35 terrorists on the LoC this year. Security Forces, however, cannot afford to lower their guard, particularly in view of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections next year. A fine balance needs to be maintained by them between firm handling of terrorism and adequate restraint in public order situations. This is important to limit civilian casualties and to deny space to separatist elements for fomenting further disburbances. 

The people of J&K remain undeterred by such threats from across the border and the huge voter turnout in the recent Panchayat elections bears adequate testimony to this. Peace in the last few years has paid huge dividends in terms of increased economic activities and record arrival of domestic and international tourists. The Government of India is committed to the development of J&K by focusing on infrastructure projects such as laying of a new rail line across the Pir Panjal range. Various employment generation schemes such as Udaan and Himayat are also being vigorously pursued. 

In the North East, there has been an improvement in the general security scenario. Mizoram and Sikkim have remained peaceful while Tripura has shown significant improvement. Pursuant to the policy of the Government, a number of insurgent outfits in Assam like ULFA/pro-talk and NDFB of Ranjan Daimary have come forward for peace talks. Some others, such as the anti-talk faction of ULFA have spurned the overtures of the Government and their leaders have taken refuge in neighbouring countries, particularly Myanmar. An effective border management is, therefore, needed to prevent trans-border movements of such outfits. The lower Assam and Karbi Anglong areas of the State remain vulnerable to ethnic and communal tensions because of demands of separate states by various groups. Special efforts are required to check the growing mistrust, particularly between Bodos and non - Bodos in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District and its adjoining areas. 

In Meghalaya, the Garo insurgency remains a concern. In Manipur, the increased targeting of non Manipuris is an alarming trend. In Nagaland and in 3 districts of Arunachal Pradesh, namely, Tirap, Changlang and Longding, inter factional clashes and extortion activities of NSCN/IM and NSCN/K continue to cause considerable hardship to the people. 

Agreements for ceasefire and suspension of operations have been struck with several insurgent groups in the North East. However, many of these agreements are being flouted by militants who are indulging in extortions affecting the lives of common people. Recently, there have been public protests in certain areas against such extortion activities. The State Police Forces need to enforce these agreements so that relief could be provided to the people. 

Now, I would like to draw your attention to attempts being made to vitiate communal harmony, especially in the States of Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. While all these States have witnessed a rising trend in the number of communal incidents this year, the most disturbing communal clashes took place in Muzaffarnagar and its adjoining areas in Western UP. More than 50 people lost their lives and nearly 50,000 people were displaced as a result of violence. In most of these States, the triggering factors for communal incidents were trivial in nature and could have been nipped in the bud by effective, prompt and unbiased administrative action. It is essential for all District Administrations to put in place an early warning system for immediate detection of communal issues. For this, local administrations should maintain constant engagement with all communities, particularly in disturbance prone areas. I am happy to learn that this Conference would devote considerable time to evolve a strategy in this regard. 

India is an emerging economic power and therefore, security of our industrial infrastructure and coastal areas remains high on our agenda. Government of India has initiated multiple schemes to strengthen coastal security and also the capabilities of the CISF for protecting our industrial assets. However, States have to do much more to strengthen coastal security by upgrading coastal police infrastructure. Disaster Management is another area where Police has an important role as early responders. I am told that this is another area which is going to be examined by this Conference for improving Police response to tackle natural calamities. 

As we move along the path of modernisation, newer challenges emerge. Government has succeeded in increasing the density and spread of internet connectivity right down to village level. This has made us prone to sophisticated cyber crimes and cyber attacks. Extensive networking of computer systems, particularly in sensitive areas has increased our vulnerability to such attempts from hostile elements. Security Agencies and Police forces would need to develop expertise for a coordinated response to counteract these problems. 

A related issue is that of misuse of social media. While Government favours freedom of expression, mischievous use of this medium to foment trouble needs to be checked. Last year, social media was exploited by vested interests to generate fear amongst the people of the North East in Bangalore, which resulted in their exodus in large numbers. More recently, the Muzaffarnagar riots were fanned by similar misuse. Once again, I am glad that this Conference has taken up these issues as part of its agenda, to discuss in detail and find a way forward. 

On the subject of misuse of cyber space, I would also like to draw your attention to the attempts being made to revive militancy in certain States by unleashing distorted narrative about emotive events and issues on the internet to mislead and misguide the youth. One such sinister attempt was nipped in the bud by an alert Punjab Police. It had come to notice recently that in Punjab some self-radicalised groups had made attempts to vitiate the atmosphere by targeting some important leaders. We need to closely monitor such situations arising out of the pernicious propaganda circulating on certain websites. 

Finally, I would like to remind you that it is your duty to ensure the safety and security of all our people, particularly the weakest amongst them, including senior citizens, women, minorities and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, both in the cities as well as in rural areas. As leaders of Police Forces in India it is your responsibility to formulate a roadmap for creating a sensitive, well trained and effective police infrastructure which is capable of dealing with the diverse security related issues that our country faces. Police stations remain central to all security related activities. It is extremely important to strengthen this vital institution. While States are responsible for maintaining law and order, I can assure you that Government of India is always prepared to help them in building a better and efficient police machinery. (Edited)

Diamond Jubilee (75 Years) of CRPF



Speech by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at the release of theme song of the Central Reserve Police Force on the occasion of its Diamond Jubilee Year (75 Years).


Ladies and Gentlemen:
1. I am indeed happy to be a part of this ceremony of the Central Reserve Police Force to release its Theme Song on the occasion of its Diamond Jubilee Year. 

2. I congratulate the Central Reserve Police Force, which is an important central security agency, on its 75th year of service to this great nation. Raised as Crown Representative’s Police on 27th July, 1939 and rechristened as Central Reserve Police Force on 28th December, 1949, the Force has since grown by leaps and bounds. This largest para-military force in the world has confronted and resolved numerous key challenges to internal security. With its resolute commitment and battle worthiness, it has assuaged the aggrieved regions of the country from disturbances. 

3. I compliment Shri Javed Akhtar, the most distinguished lyricist of our times, for his creative effort at capturing through his lyrics and with such splendour the sentiments of this security force; and, for gifting this song to inspire and arouse each Jawan and officer of CRPF. This initiative will also instill a sense of identity and camaraderie amongst the CRPF personnel. 


4. The CRPF is the sentinel of our internal security. At the edifice of our country’s unity and integrity, lie the toil, sweat and blood of the brave personnel of this Force. I congratulate all its members for rendering their services to the nation. 


5. Some of the members of the Forces have been awarded gallantry medals and many other distinctions including the Kirti Chakra and Gallantry Medals on the Republic Day. The history of CRPF is thick with acts of bravery and valour. CRPF has produced many a chivalrous sons who have done their utmost in securing our country. I take this opportunity to also salute the brave hearts from this security force, who have sacrificed their lives at the call of duty. 

6. The existence of peace and security is a true facilitator of development. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the architect of modern India once observed and I quote: “Without peace, all others dreams vanish and are reduced to ashes” (unquote). Our institutions entrusted with the maintenance of peace and security have an arduous task. They have to be proactive as law enforcers and effective as partners in growth and development. 

7. The ‘Rule of Law’, which is a cardinal principle on which a modern state rests, has to be enforced with due firmness. The frequent challenges to the rule of law have to be confronted by implementing the law in letter and spirit. In this context, I want to mention that whatever the situation or provocation, there is no room in a liberal democracy for use of violence aimed at intimidation and delivering extra judicial justice. This belief must be firmly inculcated in the minds of all the personnel who are taking on security challenges at the ground level. 

8. Para-military forces like the CRPF are called upon to perform multiple functions. They are drafted for law and order situations and to control riots. In handling various challenging tasks, the personnel of these law enforcing agencies have to be responsive to the humane side of policing. They have to be always sensitive to the vulnerable sections like women, children and the aged. 

9. This year, we will witness the 16th General Election to the Lok Sabha. The Indian electorate is one-seventh of the global population. The election of a government at the Centre by the people every five years is an exercise of gigantic proportions and poses enormous challenge to all those involved in its conduct. The security forces, particularly the CRPF, have to give their best in ensuring that free and fair elections are held under a peaceful atmosphere. 

10. The menace of terrorism afflicts many countries in the world today. India, in particular, is a target of various terrorist groups operating in the region. The security forces and the intelligence mechanism have to be alert every second to avert any event that can strike terror or disrupt peace. The pernicious designs of the terrorists have to be defeated at all levels. The fangs of their vicious and divisive blueprint have to be countered with a multi-pronged approach. To my mind, using information technology, harnessing better intelligence, and drawing greater cooperation from the people would be the key. 

11. Left wing extremism is a major thrust area for CRPF operation. The operational engagement has to be all-encompassing. A greater understanding and a sensitive handling has to be the core of the strategy in dealing with the affected areas. I would like to make a special mention of the role played by the security forces in such difficult areas where they have created space; wherein developmental activity has begun; economy has picked-up and democratic process stands strengthened. I appreciate the wonderful contribution of officers and Jawans of CRPF in the peaceful conduct of Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh recently. The next few years will be critical. Having reached a threshold, CRPF has to win over the hearts and minds of the people and restore complete normalcy in the disturbed areas. 

12. There is a worrying increase in communal violence in some parts of our country. To control its spread, the communication system - both external and internal – has to be strengthened. The social media, which enables reaching out quickly to large number of people, has to be incessantly monitored for any incendiary messages. Early warning systems have to be put to effective use in potentially troublesome situations. 

13. CRPF has secured and woven the internal security fabric by demonstrating its operational prowess along with a humane approach. This pan-India Force has taken pioneering steps towards modernization and enhanced combativeness. But more needs to be done. Ground level tactics have to be made more innovative by the adoption of state-of-the-art planning strategies. To give confidence to the troops, they have to be equipped with modern gadgetry and weaponry. To develop their morale further, the welfare issues have to be addressed promptly. 


14. CRPF is an important pillar of our country’s internal security apparatus. The diversity of its role and its unique adaptability to situational requirements, and its capacity to deliver operational dividends in difficult circumstances has distinguished itself as a very valuable organization. I commend the Union Home Ministry for giving every possible support to this crucial security unit. I also appreciate the Director General of CRPFfor providing a firm leadership to this Force. I congratulate all the CRPF personnel who, by their dedication and commitment, have brought name and pride to the Force. As it marches through its Diamond Jubilee year, I wish CRPF great success in all its endeavours. 

Thank you. 

Jai Hind. 

GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC SERVICE


 

SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE ON THE OCCASION OF FOURTH UPSC FOUNDATION DAY LECTURE ON “GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC SERVICE” Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi: 29-11-2013 

1. It is indeed privilege for me to be present amidst this very distinguished gathering to deliver the Foundation Day Lecture of the Union Public Service Commission. I am glad to have this opportunity to share some of my perceptions about governance and public service on this occasion.


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2. A professionally managed public service is the edifice for good governance and responsive public service delivery. The need for an autonomous body to create merit-based civil services was felt even long before the Independence. The first Public Service Commission was set up in 1926 under the chairmanship of Sir Ross Barker. This Commission had limited advisory function. Subsequently, Federal Public Service Commission was set-up under the Government of India Act, 1935. It contained provision for formation of Public Service Commissions at the provincial levels. After India attained Independence, the Union Public Service Commission was set-up under Article 315 of the Constitution of India. The Constituent Assembly played a dominant and visionary role in granting Constitutional status to UPSC, as it realised the importance of having an autonomous body to provide for public administration based on professionally managed cadres of Civil Services. 

3. Speaking of the importance of this body, Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru had said and I quote: “Its object, as has been stated by several speakers is to secure for the State efficient public servants who will serve all people equally and will always watch over the interests of all communities and the State as a whole” (unquote). 

4. The UPSC is the nursery of administrative ethics. It is the alma mater for selection of men and women of excellence, as officers in the service of the nation. Its role in human resource management of the Government is crucial as it has to recommend the best candidates from amongst the millions of aspirants. Over the years, UPSC has helped create a civil service which is diverse and representative, reflecting the pluralistic ethos of our country. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 
5. The civil services play the vital role of reinforcing our democratic values. It also functions as an instrument of economic growth and social change. It assists the government in formulating and implementing policies for national development. The tasks and challenges of nation building require close interaction and cooperation between the civil servants and the people. It underlines the need for civil services to be foremost in their commitment towards the people. 

6. In the past six and a half decades since Independence, this nation has made rapid progress. Today, India stands at the threshold of global leadership in terms of political and economic evolution. The expectations of the nation have grown immensely as a result of economic success. Integration with the global trends and opening up of the economy has resulted in diversified challenges for the civil services. 

7. The success of our development programme depends on the quality of public administration. People want transparent and professional administration to take care of their needs efficiently. They want immediate disposal of their grievances. They expect the benefits of welfare measures to seamlessly reach the poorest of the poor. This calls for improving service delivery by adopting good governance practices. Governance is crucial for economic development, equity and social participation of various sections of society. An impartial and apolitical bureaucracy strengthens governance and contributes towards economic development and social transformation. 

8. The term, Good Governance, appeared in the development lexicon about two decades back. However, the concept has been in vogue since ancient times. As emphasized by Kautiliya in the ancient treatise “Arthashastra”, and I quote: “The happiness of the people is the  happiness of the king; Their good alone is his, his personal good is not his true good; the only true good being that of his people: Therefore let the King be active in working for the prosperity and welfare of his people” (unquote). The essentials of Good Governance form the basis of Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of a strong and prosperous India or Purna Swaraj. 

9. Nations are according high importance to Good Governance because of its inseparable link to social welfare and inclusive development. Absence of good governance has been identified as the root cause of many of the deficiencies in society. It robs the citizenry of their social and economic rights. Good governance signifies basic parameters such as rule of law, participatory decision-making structure, transparency, accountability, responsiveness, equity and inclusiveness. The country’s public administration has to run on these principles. This necessitates a reorientation in the outlook of the civil services. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 
10. Improving the governance standards calls for proactive measures. Governance and administrative reforms have been an evolving process needing a continuous dialogue with the final recipients of services. The Administrative Reforms Commission has provided a blueprint for improved governance. 

11. Transparency and accountability are two basic elements of good governance. Transparency refers to the availability of information to the general public and clarity about the functioning of governmental institutions. Transparency enhances predictability as it helps government organizations to function more objectively. It also enables and encourages the common man to effectively participate in the governance process. The Right to Information Act has made the administrative machinery more responsive and efficient in meeting the needs of the masses. There has been a paradigm shift in the developmental approach. Citizens have been provided security for food, education and job by empowering them through entitlements backed by legal guarantees. Implementing these novel initiatives call for robust delivery mechanisms. The Direct Benefits Transfer Scheme, launched in January 2013, leverages the Aadhaar system to usher in greater transparency and improve targeting, eliminate wastage and enhance efficiency. The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011 envisages the citizens to receive time-bound services. This would help create a more responsive administration to improve service delivery. 

12. E-governance has helped to change the outlook of the masses towards administration. Automation of government services has facilitated information dissemination. It has been successful in areas like land records management, law and order administration, pension disbursement and public information systems, especially relating to health and railways. The greater usage of internet has helped to integrate all areas of our country into the mainstream. 

13. However, despite achieving success on several counts, there are still many challenges for the governance system in our country. Corruption is one of the biggest factors that hinder efficient performance of the economy. There is need to eliminate interface in the delivery of services. It is also necessary to adopt non-discretionary approach towards decision-making and initiate two-way communication with the users. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 
14. If we want our country to develop faster, we cannot afford to be slow in taking decisions. I am not saying that decisions have to be taken in a haste. But to prolong or avoid taking decisions is not aceptable. Informed decisions based on facts, figures and realistic assessment to the best of one’s ability are sine qua non for good governance. 

15. Public services have a lot to do for moving towards a globally competitive governance model for India. We have to develop our public administration into a dynamic and result oriented bureaucracy. I am happy at the introduction of objective targets for government departments and officers to monitor and improve performance. 

16. Governance is a holistic approach, involving all the pillars of the State, including provision of justice. The need for judicial reforms and initiation of measures like greater use of information technology to clear pending court cases is essential. Simplification of laws is also needed for better governance. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 
17. Over the years, challenges before civil services have grown manifolds and have acquired multi-dimensional facets. I am glad that UPSC has introduced reforms in the process of recruiting civil servants, as a measure to create more responsive and modern civil services. These reforms will also provide a level playing field to all the aspirants coming from diverse backgrounds. The focus is now on evaluating the aptitude of the candidates for dealing with newer challenges on the basis of their decision-making capacity on ethical and moral dimensions. 


18. UPSC has rendered yeoman service to the nation in providing the foundations of our public administration. I take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt wishes to this great Institution and those who have served it. However, there is always scope for systematic and continuous improvement in service delivery to meet the heightened needs and expectations of the people. The need to inculcate the spirit of public service in the civil services would be the most essential ingredient for better governance and growth of the nation. With these words, I conclude. I once again thank UPSC for inviting me to this forum. I wish you all the very best. 
Thank you. 
Jai Hind. 
**** 
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