The government is considering encouraging start ups to produce electronic voting machines and paper trail equipment using latest technology provided the security aspect is cleared by the Election Commission.
“There is a considered view in the government to encourage start ups to produce EVMs and VVPATs using the latest technology… the Election Commission will of course have to clear the security aspect,” a senior government functionary said today, a day after the Union Cabinet approved the first tranche of Rs 920 crore for the poll panel to buy 5.50 lakh new ballot units and 5.45 lakh control units during 2016-17.
The issue was discussed in the Cabinet meeting held yesterday evening.
While the Cabinet approved purchase of first batch of EVMs, it decided that the procurement plan for ballot units and control units for 2017-18 and 2018-19 would be considered subsequently.
Similarly, the procurement plan for Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail Units (VVPAT) for 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 would be considered subsequently after price negotiations.
At present, the two government undertakings — Bharat Electronics Ltd, Bengaluru and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd, Hyderabad produce EVMs and VVPATs.
The EC plans to buy nearly 14 lakh new EVMs at a cost of over Rs 5200 crore before 2019 when the next Lok Sabha polls are due.