The over 17 lakh paper trail machines required for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls will be supplied by the two public sector undertakings (PSUs) by the end of November, the Election Commission (EC) said on Wednesday.
The EC said it is committed to 100 percent deployment of paper trail machines at all polling stations in future Lok Sabha and legislative Assembly elections.
In a statement issued in New Delhi, it said in order to meet the requirement of 100 percent Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines for all polling stations for the Lok Sabha election, it had placed an order of 17.45 lakh units to Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore, and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad.
“Till date, 9.45 lakh units have been produced by the PSUs. Both PSUs have assured the Commission that the remaining VVPAT units (8 lakh) will be manufactured and supplied to the various states/Union Territories comfortably before end of November, 2018,” the statement said.
The statement said the poll panel would like to allay any “unfounded apprehensions” regarding the supply of VVPATs for the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
The statement is apparently in response to certain media reports reportedly questioning the availability of the machines ordered for the LS polls.
The commission, the statement said, has been consistently and periodically reviewing the status of production and supply of VVPATs with the heads of the two PSUs, as well as the Technical Expert Committee (TEC), to ensure that the design, production and supply activities of all the units of EVMs and VVPATs is streamlined and completed in a time-bound manner.
The commission has enhanced the requirement of additional VVPATs from 125 percent to 135 percent considering the trend of failure rate of the machines in past elections.
“The commission has estimated 171 percent Ballot Units, 125 percent Control Units and 135 percent VVPATs requirements for upcoming Lok Sabha elections… in case of any error in VVPAT, only VVPAT is replaced… in case of any error in Ballot Unit or Control Unit of the EVM, entire set of Ballot Unit, Control Unit and VVPAT is changed, resulting in an increase in requirement of VVPATs than the requirement of Control Units of EVMs,” the poll watchdog said.
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 (VVPAT) slip for seven seconds, which would be an acknowledgement receipt for the party they voted for in the election.
The Supreme Court has supported the EC endeavour to use VVPATs in a phased manner to usher in more transparency in voting.