Yes to paper trail EVMs, to cost Rs 3,173 cr

New Delhi, April 19

The Union Government today accorded approval to the Election Commission’s proposal of procuring 16,15,000 new electronic voting machines (EVMs) with voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT), which would give voters the evidence of their vote cast. The move is important in view of allegations by several parties that EVMs can be tampered with. The Opposition had alleged that EVMs were manipulated during elections. The EC had recently written to the Law Commission for the procurement of VVPAT machines. PM Modi had been critical of the allegations levelled by political parties and the move apparently came in a bid to silence them. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the machines, if ordered this month, could be supplied by manufacturers by September 2018. Through this, the voter would come to know whether his or her vote had been registered correctly or not, he said. The total estimated cost would be Rs 3,173.47 crore (excluding taxes and freight). The decision would enable use of VVPAT units at all polling booths during General Election in 2019. In October 2013, the Supreme Court had said every voter had a right to know whether his vote had been registered correctly