Centre Clears 3,000 Crores for All-New VVPAT Machines for use in 2019 elections

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As per the announcement made by the Finanace Minister, Mr.Arun Jaitley, Central Government shall be releasing approx. Rs.3174 Crores for purchase of 16 Lac+ VVPAT machines to Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. (ECIL). The machines are expected to be ready by September 2018. As per the information submitted to the Apex Court, considering the current manufacturing capacity of the two companies – BEL and BCIL, the VVPATS can be made ready in about 30 months from the date of release of funds.

Bringing in the issue to the notice of the Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi, Mr.Nasim Zaidi, the Chief Election Commissioner had sent a detailed letter to him last year. Supreme Court had also asked the Election Commission for a tentative date for availability of VVPAT machines. It is still not clear if the entire amount for purchase of these VVPAT machines would be released by the Central Government in one go or in installments.

Another reasons for the above decision taken by the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi today could be the pressure from the Opposition parties who have been insisting that the machines being used currently are vulnerable to rigging. However, the charges have been denied by the Government and the Poll Panel who insist that the EVMs are completely safe. The VVPAT machines shall be used for the 2019 general elections along with EVMs.

The VVPAT, Paper trail machines, allow voters to see the name and symbol of the candidate they voted for.These details are visible on a paper slip for about 7 seconds which are then recorded in the machines. The slip gets dropped in a box and cannot be taken home. In case of a dispute, these can be later used to verify EVM results.

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