Trust in elections remains fairly robust in India: DPIIT Secretary Singh

Describing India as an outlier in terms of trust levels in various institutions, DPIIT Secretary Rajesh Kumar Singh on Friday said trust in elections and other institutions continues to remain robust in the country.
DPIIT Secretary Rajesh Kumar Singh
DPIIT Secretary Rajesh Kumar Singh

Davos | Describing India as an outlier in terms of trust levels in various institutions, DPIIT Secretary Rajesh Kumar Singh on Friday said trust in elections and other institutions continues to remain robust in the country.

Speaking here at a session on '4.2 billion people at the ballot box' at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024, Singh said the election is a mammoth exercise in India and follows a very detailed procedure-based system.

"We have delivered credible elections for over 75 years, of which 25 years have been through electronic voting machines," he said, adding that he himself has been involved in the election process in various roles earlier in his career as a civil servant.

Asked about the issues before this year's election, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Secretary said bread and butter issues and development would be among key factors like any other country, while the performance of the present government in the last ten years would be a major draw.

"As a civil servant, I can't and should not predict the election, but the writing is there on the wall," he said.

Singh also dismissed misinformation and kickbacks having any impact on Indian elections, saying that secret voting allows voters to make their own free decisions.

On whether declining trust in institutions was a factor in India as well, the secretary said, "India is an outlier here, and trust has not gone down in institutions in India in any significant way. Election Commission, particularly, is a very robust institution, which is free of any political interference".

He said all local and law enforcement agencies start reporting to the election authorities the day polls are announced.

"Trust in elections is fairly robust in India even today, and that way, India is an outlier," he added.

Singh said the voting percentage in Indian elections has been very high in recent years, at times going to 70-80 per cent.

At the same time, there is also an option for voters to choose 'None of the above', in case they feel frustrated about the available candidates.

In addition to India, several other countries, including the US are scheduled to go to polls this year, which will see more people voting for their next leader or legislature than in any previous year.

The panellists discussed what is the electoral outlook for 2024 and how might some results reflect the strengths and weaknesses that democracy faces today.

They also talked about whether elections will lead to a smooth transition of power, or whether contentious results could damage citizens' trust in their government.

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