The Election Commission has issued a letter of intent for purchase of 16,15,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail ( VVPAT) machines in the next two years to be used in all polling stations in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The Commission issued letter of intent to ECIL and BEL — both PSUs — on Friday, two days after the Union Cabinet cleared its proposal to buy 16,15000 voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units at an estimated cost of Rs 3,173.47 crore. The poll panel has informed them that the machines would be bought during 2017-18 and 2018-19. The Commission will buy 8,07,500 VVPAT units each from the two manufacturers by September, 2018.
Explaining the importance of the step, the Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said today that “this will enhance transparency and uphold the voters’ right to know which party he or she has voted, thereby increasing voters’ confidence in the free and fair electoral process.”
The poll watchdog said in a statement that these machines be manufactured by both the PSUs only as per the design approved by the Commission based on recommendation of the Technical Experts Committee on EVMs constituted by it.
“The Commission shall closely monitor the production of VVPATs for timely delivery well before General Elections 2019,” it said.