Cabinet allows EC to buy VVPAT machines

"Therefore the voting pattern is related to electronic machine", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley briefed the media after the Cabinet meeting over this.

The government will disburse Rs 1,600 crore in the current financial year 2016-17, while the balance amount will be funded in 2018-19, he added.

Voter-verifiable paper audit trail is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system.

"With this the Commission will ensure the total compliance of the orders of Supreme Court and its commitment to use VVPATs with every EVM at all polling stations in the country in General Elections 2019", the EC said in a statement on Wednesday. Dismissing the allegations of EVM tampering as "needless and manufactured controversy", Jaitley on Wednesday said the machines were "tried and tested".

Jaitley said EVMs were introduced by the Congress in 1992.

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Last week, the Supreme Court asked the Election Commission and the centre to explain the delay in switching to VVPATs.

EC is right now using only Generation 2 and 3 EVMs. In deference to the plea of the petitioner in the aforesaid CA, the Election Commission submitted that it has no objection to the introduction of VVPAT Units for conduct of free, fair and transparent elections.

September 2013: For the first time, VVPAT with EVMs was used for the Noksen Assembly seat in Tuensang district of Nagaland.

VVPAT will prove as an additional layer of transparency for the satisfaction of voters and allay any apprehension in the minds of voters regarding non-temperability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). They received support from many other Opposition parties, including the Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP), which demanded that VVPATs should be used in all future elections.

"Commission stands fully committed to deploy VVPATs alongwith EVMs in all future elections so that transparency of electoral process is enhanced, integrity of the voting is preserved and voter's confidence in the process is further strengthened.It is felt that the process of procurement of VVPATs can not be delayed any longer given prevailing environment", Zaidi argued in his letter. Prasad cited logistical problems in procuring the machines.

  • Desiree Holland