New Delhi, April 19: The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its nod to Election Commission's proposal for procurement of new paper trail machines on Wednesday. Demand for VVPAT has been made vociferously by several opposition parties after recent Assembly polls. The opposition had alleged that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were manipulated in the elections.
The Election Commission had recently once again written to the Law Commission for procurement of VVPAT machines. The EC has sought Rs 3,174 crore in all for procuring over 16 lakh paper trail machines to cover all polling stations in the country. The Cabinet has so far cleared two tranches of Rs 1,009 crore and Rs 9,200 for the Commission to buy new electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The decision of the Government would enable the Election Commission of India to deploy VVPAT Units in all pooling booths in the General Elections, 2019, which will act as an additional layer of transparency for the satisfaction of voters, allaying any apprehension in the minds of the voters as to the fidelity and integrity of the EVMs. This would also result in compliance of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its Order dated 8thOctober, 2013.
The Supreme Court has asked the Commission to give a tentative time frame by which it can use VVPAT machines in all polling stations.The EC says two PSUs-ECIL and BEL need 30 months to produce the over 16 lakh VVPATs. Sixteen parties had recently petitioned the EC to revert to paper ballot system for greater transparency.
The VVPAT is a machine which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for. The slip drops in a box but the voter cannot take it home. The voters see voter-verifiable paper audit trail slip for seven seconds, which would be an acknowledgement receipt for the party they voted for in the election.