Amit Paranjape’s Blog

Indian Electoral Process – An Anomaly In The Bureaucratic Quagmire

Posted in Current Affairs by Amit Paranjape on October 13, 2009

It is impressive to see the world’s biggest democracy participate in the complex electoral process. For all the inefficiencies,red-tape and corruption that the Indian Government Bureaucracy is riddled with, the Election Process seems (in comparison) to be refreshingly better and different. The statistics for the process themselves are mind-boggling. Millions of voters (even for a state election…), thousands of polling stations, thousands of candidates … and yet, the whole machinery seems to perform with near clock work precision. Yes, there are a few irregularities, but statistically, they are much smaller than any other process of a similar magnitude.

Just watching those part-time workers (many of them school teachers) systematically process voters at the polling booths make one wonder…if only you could see this efficiency at any other government office! Clearly, full-time government workers don’t even come close.

Maybe we should get the Election Commission to run some other Government Departments! At least for a few days. We might just be pleasantly surprised to see how quickly applications get processed, permits getting approved, refunds getting sorted out, licenses getting issued, etc.

Why does the Election Process run so much better? I wonder why. Maybe it’s because this is one process where the politicians stay away (Literally – they are supposed to be a few hundred feet away from the polling stations during the voting process)

Some years back, Election Commissioner Seshan showed how he could use the ‘real’ power of this office, provided to it by the constitution. That was probably an important event, and even today plays a role in shaping the role of the Election Commission.

Wonder what your thoughts are on this topic.

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