Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday assured that once all the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units are procured by 2018 then all the elections held thereafter would have paper trail along with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Jaitley announced that the Cabinet allowed the Election Commission to purchase 16,15,000 VVPAT units at an estimated cost of Rs. 3173.47 crore, the expense of which would be distributed between two financial years i.e. 2017-18 and 2018-19.
"The EC has always been demanding for it and after discussion about it, the Cabinet approved it. If all the machines come by September 2018 then it is obvious that in all the elections held after it, all the polling booths will have paper trail with the EVMs," Jaitley told the media here.
Earlier today, the Cabinet approved the Election Commission's proposal of the VVPAT machines.
The Cabinet allowed purchase of 16, 15,000 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.
The decision of the Government would enable the Election Commission to deploy VVPAT in all pooling booths in the 2019 general elections, 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.
The demand for VVPAT had been vociferously made by opposition parties after the recently held assembly polls, alleging that the EVMs were tampered.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress had attacked the EC for allegedly using "tampered" EVMs.
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.
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.
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