New Delhi, April 20: Election Commission (EC) will get 30,000 new paper trail machines in July, increasing its present stock to deploy these units in all polling stations during the polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The poll body will make a formal announcement that Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machines will be used in all polling stations in the two States.
A Commission official said, it has 53,500 VVPAT machines. The official said, nearly 84,000 units are sufficient for use in all polling stations in these two States. ECIL and BEL manufacture EVMs and VVPATS for EC.
Meanwhile, the term of the 182-member Gujarat Assembly is ending on January 2, 2018, the term of the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly will end on January 7. Going by the precedents, the elections could be held in December this year.
The poll panel had ordered for 67,000 additional paper trail units in 2015, out of which 33,500 have been supplied, according to the Law Ministry. For the Commission to allow the use of VVPATs in all polling stations in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it needs 16,15,000 more such machines.
Yesterday, The Union Cabinet has given its nod to Election Commission's proposal for procurement of new paper trail 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 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.