Efforts are on to ensure all VVPAT units are procured by September 2018.
New Delhi: In a major electoral reform before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Union Cabinet Wednesday cleared a proposal to introduce paper trail machines for voting, which apart from being innovative will also bring transparency into the system.
Official sources said Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the proposal to purchase 16,15,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units, covering all voting stations in the country, at a cost of Rs 3,174 crores across two fiscal years.
Efforts are on to ensure all VVPAT units are procured by September 2018. These machines will allow voters to confirm his/her vote has actually gone to the party against which the button was pressed, as a paper trail (receipt) will come out.
The decision comes as several political parties alleged EVMs can be tampered, especially after the Bharatiya Janata Party received a landslide mandate in both Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand polls. Many parties mainly the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had petitioned the Election Commission, urging it to return to the paper ballot system, to ensure there is no tampering.
In its reaction, the Election Commission said that it will ensure total compliance of the orders of the Supreme Court (on use of VVPATs) and its commitment to use VVPATs with every EVM at all polling stations in the country in 2019 elections.
Official sources further said that the idea of an additional layer of transparency for the satisfaction of voters in the form of VVPAT was suggested by the political parties in October, 2010.
Accordingly, introduction of the VVPAT was facilitated by amending the Conduct of Election Rules in August, 2013.
Thereafter, 20,300 VVPAT units were purchased by the EC in 2013. Since then, these units are being deployed in elections in select Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies, said an official statement.