India – the World’s Largest Democracy – goes to polls in 5 phases…starting today!
Here is a quick glance at key statistics about Indian democracy and elections.
Indian elections at glance:
India’s Total Population: 1,147,995,904 (2008 est) i.e. 1.147 billion
Estimated electorate (people who are elible for voting i.e. 18 years or above) for 2009 elections: 714 million
(Note: The entire population of Europe is about 730 million…)
Increase in electoarate (eligible voters) over 2004 general elections – 43 million
(Note: This is more than 2 times population of Australia…Australia’s population according to 2008 estimates was roughly 21 million)
Total seats (constituencies) for which India will vote: 543
Total number of registered political parties: 1055
Prominent religions: 6
Prominent castes: Approx. 7000
Age structure of Indian voters:
0-14 years: 31.5% (male 189,238,487/female 172,168,306)(2008 estimaates)
15-64 years: 63.3% (male 374,157,581/female 352,868,003) (2008 est)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 28,285,796/female 31,277,725) (2008 est)
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total: 24.1 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 24.2 years (2002 est.)
Number of polling stations in entire India: 828,804 (Yes! close to to 1 million polling booths)
Number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used at these polling stations: 1,368,430
Police and administrative staff on duty: 6.1 million
Approximate cost of General Elections 2009: Rs. 1120 crores (or 225 million USD…much less that the US elections – considering the breadth and depth of the entire process)
The numbers are staggering and overwhelming…and so is the process of conducting elections.
That is why Election Commision (the independent agency that controls and conducts the entire election process in free and fair manner) prefered to conduct elections in 5 phases – on 5 different days…so that all the logistics (voting machines/ voting officers/ support staff/ security guards etc) could be moved and made available at 828,804 places (Yes! at almost a million voting stations…)
But since the Election Commission has begun use of electronic voting machine the process has sped up. This has also eased up pressure on administration, reduced bogus voting/ booth capturing and has enabled quick vote counting and declaration of results.
Truly, Indian election process (and the Election Commission) is somthing every Indian should be proud of!!!
Electronic voting machines