Union Cabinet approved the purchase of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines to usher in a new era of electoral transparency. The call for VVPAT machines increased from opposition parties after the recently held assembly elections. However, in a recent update the Election Commission of India has decided to hold a live demonstration of the EVMs and VVPAT machines on May 20, in Delhi. The demonstrative session will be followed by a press conference on the ‘EVM Challenge.’
Earlier this week, the poll panel had stated that it would offer an open opportunity to all the political parties to prove that EVMs used in the recently conducted Assembly polls were tempered with or can be tampered. ECs recent communication came days after almost 16 political parties had urged the polling body to resume elections to the paper ballot system saying that the EVM process is not trustworthy.
However, the EC had said that it will now use VVPAT machines for future elections. Here are the 10 points you need to know:
1) VVPAT unit provides feedback to voters using EVMs to cast their ballots. VVPAT functions as an independent verification system for EVMs, allowing voters to verify that their votes were cast as intended.
2) VVPAT is like a normal EVM machine, but with a printer attached to it. After a vote is cast a slip is printed with the candidate’s details. The voter will only be able to see the paper behind a screen and won’t be able to access it
3) Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a proposal to buy 16,15,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units for use in the General Elections 2019.
4) Each VVPAT unit would cost around Rs 19,650 and the total cost of the procurement would be around Rs 3173.47 crore.
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5) On the recommendation of a Technical Experts Committee, a field trial was conducted in Thiruvananthapuram, Delhi, Jaisalmer, Cherapunjee and Leh in the presence and participation of all stakeholders including general voters, national and state political parties, civil society organisations, and media.
6) VVPAT machines were used with EVMs for the first time in Noksen Assembly seat in Tuensang district of Nagaland.
7) VVPAT units will be sourced from Bharat Electronics Ltd, Bangalore and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, Hyderabad
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We will demonstrate and prove before the panel how EVMs can tamper with the help of its ROM: AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj says ahead of meeting pic.twitter.com/sU8ayTLhXQ
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) May 12, 2017
8) According to a Cabinet release, the Election Commission would place the order to two manufacturers, depending upon their production capacity so that all the VVPAT units can be procured by September 2018
9) The VVPAT system was part of the up gradation of the EVM system and to usher in a new level of electoral transparency and not as a replacement of EVMs.
10) Political parties suggested the use of VVPAT to the Election Commission, in order to provide an additional layer of transparency to the satisfaction of voters.