900 million voters.
10,35,918 polling stations.
And 5 million polling staff make voting happen in three months.
It is the story of the Silent Army – India’s 5 million polling staff who work in 10,35,918 polling stations through the length and breadth of the country to make every phase of election happen in three months.
Every time that India goes to polls, be it the Lok Sabha elections or the Assembly elections, the polling staff consisting of government teachers, clerks, engineers, accountants and the police forces who work to get all of us vote for the nation.
The number speaks volumes
According to the Election Commission of India’s 2016 annual report, the staff deployed at the polling booths alone during the 2014 general election numbered 37,31,897. This was excluding the security and other personnel deployed for election duty. Further, the report states, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has around 400 officials which is a drop in the ocean. Besides the addition of a few employees at the State level, their total number is minuscule compared to the personnel required for elections.
To make up for the deficit, the ECI temporarily recruits government personnel for polling duty. It includes personnel from virtually every government branch – teachers, engineers, clerks, accountants, admin staff, police personnel, bus drivers, railway staff, Anganwadi workers including primary healthcare workers.
Government personnel are deployed explicitly for election duty as they come under the control and discipline of the government. Besides, people from the private sector are deliberately not deployed for election duty as the government will be unable to exercise control over them.
Lok Sabha elections 2019
As India votes during its 17th Lok Sabha elections, the faceless army of government workers has their job cut-out – to make India vote.