In this State of the Economy podcast, TE Raja Simhan speaks to R Satyanarayanan, Associate Professor of Marketing at IFMR Graduate School of Business – Krea University, about the indispensable role logistics plays in ensuring the smooth conduct of elections across India’s diverse landscape.

As the world’s largest democracy undertakes this monumental exercise, the significance of logistics becomes increasingly apparent. 

Sathyanarayanan talks about the foundational connection between democracy and logistics. With 543 parliamentary constituencies spanning diverse terrains, from plains to mountains, deserts, and islands, conducting elections emerges as a large logistical challenge. 

During the podcast, Sathyanarayanan looks at the historical evolution of India’s electoral process, tracing back to the ballot-based elections during the Chola dynasty and the transition to electronic voting machines (EVMs) in modern times. Satyanarayanan highlights the logistical complexities involved in deploying EVMs and election paraphernalia to over 10.5 lakh polling stations across the country, ensuring accessibility even in the remotest corners. 

The discussion reveals the multifaceted logistics of elections, encompassing the movement of election officials, security personnel, and campaign materials. Satyanarayanan details the meticulous planning required to navigate India’s diverse geography, employing various modes of transportation, from helicopters and trains to mules and boats, to reach every polling station. 

Satyanarayanan also reflects on India’s electoral journey, from ballot boxes to electronic voting machines, underscoring the pivotal role of a robust multimodal logistics system in sustaining the democratic process. 

Listen in. 

(Host: TE Raja Simhan, Producers: Rowan Barnett, Siddharth Mathew Cherian.)

About the State of the Economy podcast 

India’s economy has been hailed as a bright spot amid the general gloom that seems to have enveloped the rest of the world. But several sectors continue to stutter even as others seem set to fire on all cylinders. To help you make sense of the bundle of contradictions that the country is, businessline brings you podcasts with experts ranging from finance and marketing to technology and start-ups