The Election Commission would need over 16 lakh paper trail machines, which dispel doubts about votes cast using EVMs, to cover all polling stations in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Quoting the Commission, Minister of State for Law P P Chaudhary said in the Rajya Sabha, a total of 16,15,000 voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units are required for deployment in all polling stations in the Lok Sabha polls.
“The proposal of the Election Commission is under consideration of the government,” he said in response to a written reply to a question.
Since June, 2014, the Commission has given at least 11 reminders to the government seeking funds for VVPAT machines.
Last year, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi drawing his attention to the funds needed for the machines.
Recently, he has again written to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad seeking funds for the same.
The voters see voter-verifiable paper audit trail slip for seven seconds, which would be an acknowledgement receipt for the party they voted for in the election.
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.
Recently when AAP, Congress and BSP had questioned reliability of the EVM, the poll panel had come out with a detailed release defending the machine.
The release had also mentioned about the VVPAT system, saying it has sought Rs 3,174 crore for buying VVPATs for every polling station in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
ECIL and BEL, two PSUs which manufacture VVPATs and EVMs, need 30 months to manufacture the required number of VVPAT units from the day funds are released.
The Supreme Court has supported the EC endeavour to use VVPATs in a phased manner to usher in more transparency in voting.