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Innovating Democracy: IIT Guwahati’s Voter Engagement Breakthrough

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In an impactful collaboration between the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation Cell (SVEEP) of Kamrup Election District and the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati), a groundbreaking initiative has been unveiled – an innovative 3D printed dummy ballot unit. This pioneering endeavour, launched at the IIT Guwahati campus, signifies a significant step forward in enhancing voter awareness and engagement in democratic processes.

Image credits: IIT Guwahati

The inauguration of the dummy ballot unit saw the presence of distinguished dignitaries, including Smt. Keerthi Jalli, District Commissioner of Kamrup, Guwahati, Assam; Shri. Susanta Kumar Dutta, Additional District Commissioner, Kamrup; and various other officials. Designed with the primary aim of acquainting citizens, especially new and senior voters, with the nuances of the voting process, the 3D-printed dummy ballot unit seeks to alleviate any apprehensions or uncertainties associated with voting.

This innovative tool, developed within a short span of 48 hours utilising cutting-edge 3D printing technology, is fabricated from PLA (polylactic acid), a biodegradable and eco-friendly material derived from corn starch. Its design incorporates interactive features such as sound and light indicators to simulate the voting experience, providing users with a hands-on opportunity to familiarise themselves with the voting process. The use of PLA ensures not only environmental sustainability but also reusability, aligning with sustainable practices in voter education initiatives.

Expressing admiration for IIT Guwahati’s pioneering initiative, Smt. Keerthi Jalli, Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup, Guwahati, Assam, commended the collaboration and swift design and manufacturing of the practical tool. She emphasised its potential to enhance citizen confidence and encourage greater participation in democratic practices.

Prof. Ajeet Kumar, Assistant Professor at IIT Guwahati, highlighted the significance of the dummy ballot unit, stating that its interactive features and biodegradable material make it a valuable resource for educating citizens about the voting process. He expressed pride in the institute’s role in designing a solution that empowers people to participate in democracy with confidence.

The collaboration between the SVEEP cell of Kamrup district and IIT Guwahati underscores a significant milestone in voter education efforts. SVEEP, an initiative initiated by the Election Commission of India (ECI), aims to educate voters about the electoral process and enhance voter participation. This partnership represents a concerted effort to leverage technology and innovation to achieve these objectives.

Prof. Parameswar K. Iyer, Dean PRBR, IIT Guwahati, emphasised the institute’s commitment to easing anxiety and empowering citizens with a deeper understanding of the voting process. He lauded the rapid design and manufacture of the portable ballot units using biodegradable polymer materials, highlighting the innovative spirit of the institute’s design department.

Prof. Rajeev Ahuja, Director of IIT Guwahati, expressed optimism about the project’s potential to enhance understanding and engagement with electoral systems, ultimately contributing to a more informed and participative electorate.

The collaboration between the SVEEP cell of Kamrup district and IIT Guwahati represents a significant stride towards enhancing voter education and engagement. By leveraging technology and innovation, this initiative aims to empower citizens with the knowledge and confidence to actively participate in democratic processes, thereby strengthening the foundation of democracy in India.

IIT Guwahati is the epitome of innovation, pioneering cutting-edge technology and digital solutions across diverse sectors and fields. With a steadfast commitment to advancing knowledge and addressing real-world challenges, the institute harnesses the power of technology to drive transformative change.

OpenGov Asia reported that IIT Guwahati introduced the Unique Brain Network Identification Number algorithm, poised to transform the analysis of brain connectivity patterns and deepen understanding of neurological disorders. IIT Guwahati is also poised to establish a Centre of Excellence in Advanced Communication, following a proposal submitted to the Minister of State for Communications.

Such initiatives underscore the institute’s commitment to pioneering next-generation solutions and fostering better services in all fields.

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