Poll Panel’s Plan to Use VVPATs in ’19 Elec­tions on Track

16-lakh VVPAT ma­chines to be used in polls likely to ar­rive by Septem­ber 2018

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Aan­chal.Bansal@ times­group.com

New Delhi: EC’s bid to con­duct the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions us­ing an en­tirely new set of elec­tronic vot­ing ma­chines with Voter Ver­i­fied Pa­per Au­dit Trail (VVPAT) is run­ning four weeks be­hind sched­ule. While the gen­eral elec­tions are sched­uled to be held in May 2019, the 16-lakh VVPAT ma­chines to be used in the polls were to be re­ceived by Septem­ber 2018.

Ac­cord­ing to EC of­fi­cials, who are closely mon­i­tor­ing the pro­cure­ment of the ma­chines, the de­lay has been caused by mi­nor ‘slip­pages’ re­lated to se­cu­rity of EVMs. EC of­fi­cials, how­ever, said the plan to use VVPAT ma­chines in 2019 was still on track and such ma­chines would be used across all booths for the first time.

EThas learnt­thatinare­viewmeet­ing on Wed­nes­day, there were dis­cus­sions around the se­cu­rity of EVMs which has led to the de­lay. “Even though we are look­ing at us­ing new EVMs for the elec­tion, it is im­por­tant that all loose ends re­lated to se­cu­rity are cleared,” a high­ly­placed­of­fi­cial­said.

Some of the ‘slip­pages’ dis­cussed with­man­u­fac­tur­ersin­clud­ere­tain­ing all data in case of tam­per­ing or any for­mof phys­i­cal­dam­age­caused­tothe EVM­dur­ingth­e­p­olls.“In­caseof phys­i­cal dam­age or tam­per­ing, we want to en­sure that the ma­chine does not go back­too­rig­i­nalset­tingsand­loseallthe data(main­lyvotescast­be­fore­thedam­a­geoc­curred),”the­of­fi­cial­said.“Th­ese

Chief Elec­tion Com­mis­sioner Achal Ku­mar Joti aretech­ni­calimprove­mentssug­gested by our tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee to en­sure fair elec­tions and we have a win­dow pe­riod of six months be­fore the polls are con­ducted,” the of­fi­cial said.

EC has also re­viewed the prepa­ra­tion for the Gu­jarat and Hi­machal elec­tions, and has come to the con­clu­sion that prepa­ra­tions are ‘on track’. VVPAT al­lows a pa­per slip to be gen­er­ated bear­ing the name and sym­bol of the can­di­date along with a record­ing of the vote in the con­trol unit so that, in case of a dis­pute, the slip can be counted to ver­ify the re­sult be­ing shown on the EVM. A printer is at­tached to the bal­lot­ing unit and kept in the vot­ing com­part­ment. The pa­per slip re­mains vis­i­ble on VVPAT for seven sec­onds through a trans­par­ent win­dow. De­signed by BEL/ECIL, VVPATs were ap­proved by EC in 2013 and the Cen­tre re­cently re­leased ₹ 3,174 crore for its pro­cure­ment.

EC has also re­viewed the prepa­ra­tion for the Gu­jarat and Hi­machal assem­bly elec­tions

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