Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who addressed the media after the Cabinet meeting in Delhi, said that purchase of 16,15,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) Units at a tentative unit cost of Rs.19,650, and at a total estimated cost of Rs. 3173.47 crore (excluding taxes and freight as applicable) during the years 2017-18 and 2018-19 will be initiated.
"Amount of Rs. 3173 crore have been approved to acquire 16.15 lakh VVPAT machines," said Jaitley after the Cabinet cleared EC's proposal of VVPAT machines.
Allocation of additional funds to the tune of Rs. 1600 crore in the current financial year in the supplementaries or revised estimates for meeting the cash outgo envisaged for purchase of EVMs (Control Units and Ballot Units) and VVPAT Units during the year 2017-18, payment of 40 percent of the said amount as advance to the manufacturers and for provision of balance amount as may be required in the BE 2018-19.
Placement of Order by the Election Commission to the two manufacturers will be done depending upon their production capacity so that all the VVPAT Units can be procured by September, 2018.
The decision of the Government would enable the Election Commission of India to deploy VVPAT Units in all pooling booths in the General Elections, 2019, which will act as an additional layer of transparency for the satisfaction of voters, allaying any apprehension in the minds of the voters as to the fidelity and integrity of the EVMs.
This would also result in compliance of the directions of the Supreme Court vide its Order dated 8thOctober, 2013.
The idea of an additional layer of transparency for the satisfaction of voters in the form of a 'voter verifiable paper trail' was suggested by the political parties in a meeting taken by the ECI on 4th October, 2010.
Accordingly, introduction of the VVPAT was facilitated by amending the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 vide Notification dated 14th August, 2013.
Thereafter, 20,300 VVPAT Units were purchased by the ECI in 2013.
Since then, these units are being deployed in elections in select Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies. Subsequently, order for 67,000 additional Units was placed in 2015, out of which 33,500 Units have been supplied by the manufacturers. Requisite funds for purchase of the aforesaid number of VVPAT Units were provided by the Government as and when requested by the Election Commission.
VVPAT device functions like a printer to be attached to the ballot unit and kept inside the voting compartment.
When the voter presses the button against the name of the candidate of his choice on the Ballot Unit, the VVPAT unit generates a paper slip, called Ballot Slip.
This paper slip contains the name, serial number and symbol of the chosen candidate. The voter can see this slip through a screened window where it stays for seven seconds, and then it automatically gets cut and falls down into a sealed drop box. In this process, the slip will not go into the hands of the voter nor will others be able to see it.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)