EC places order for 16.15 lakh VVPAT machines for 2019 LS polls

EC to ensure machines ready for 2019 Lok Sabha elections

EC places order for 16.15 lakh VVPAT machines for 2019 LS polls
The Election Commission has placed an order to purchase 16.15 lakh voter verifiable paper audit trail machines, which could be used during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The commission said this was done to impart a greater degree of transparency to the poll process.

On Friday, the poll panel issued letters of intent to two public sector undertakings – Electronic Corporation of India Limited and Bharat Electronics Limited – for the purchase of 8.075 lakh paper trail units each by September 2018.

The commission’s action came two days after the Narendra Modi government sanctioned Rs 3,173.47 crore for the purchase of voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, amid a controversy over electronic voting machines possibly being used to favour one particular party.

“This will enhance transparency and uphold the voters’ right to know which party he or she has voted for, thereby increasing voters’ confidence in the free and fair electoral process,” Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said in a statement here.

The VVPAT machines will be manufactured by the PSUs only according to the design approved by the poll panel. The design will be based on recommendations from the technical experts committee on EVMs constituted by the commission.

“The commission shall closely monitor the production of VVPATs for timely delivery well before the general elections in 2019,” a statement by the poll authority read. Recently, 16 parties had petitioned the EC to revert to the paper ballot system for greater transparency.

The BSP, AAP and Congress had attacked the poll panel over the reported tampering of EVMs.
The VVPAT machines leave a paper trail, which helps an elector confirm whether the EVM has successfully registered the vote given to a particular candidate.

Between September 2013 and March this year, the commission has written to the government 38 times on the procurement of VVPATs, according to an affidavit filed by the poll panel in the Supreme Court.

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