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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What is VVPAT; Why India needs VVPAT enabled EVMs?

The idea of an additional layer of transparency, in electoral process and to satisfy the voters, was first suggested by some political parties in October 2010. The idea was to use VVPAT for the election process transparency.

In the year 2011, a field trial has been conducted, after the recommendation of a Technical Expert Committee, in some of the cities where all the stakeholders that includes general voters, civil society, national and political parties and the media were present.

The Technical Expert Committee, in 2013, approved the final design of the VVPAT machines. A second field trial of the prototype VVPAT units had also been conducted in the 2012 before it finally approved.

In August 2013 the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 had been amended to introduced the VVPAT machines. The ECI later had purchased 20,300 VVPAT machine.

The SC had also directed the ECI to introduce the VVPAT in the phased manner so that it can be used in the General Election 2014 to ensure the free and fair polls. The apex court had also directed the central govt to provide financial assistance for the VVPAT units.

The ECI had placed the order for the additional 67,000 VVPAT units to the manufacturer in the year 2015, but out of placed order only 33,500 units had been supplied by the company.

After that no any VVPAT units had been purchased because of the ECI had no funds to place the order. The ECI had written a dozen reminders to the central govt on the fund issue for the VVPAT.

In the aftermath of landslide victory in the recent Uttar Pradesh assembly election by BJP, the several opposition parties like BSP, Congress, Samajwadi Party and Aam Aadmi Party levelled allegations that the EVMs, used in the assembly election, have been tempered to ensured the BJP victory in the elections. They had also met EC and the president regarding this issue and for VVPAT enabled EVMs.

One of the party the AAP had moved High Court to demand the VVPAT for MCD election but in his hearing the court did not issue any direction to stall the MCD election in the national capital. The court ask the ECI and the Delhi State Election Commission to file their responses on the AAP's plea for the use of VVPAT enabled EVMs in the upcoming MCD polls.

Before the HC notice the Election Commission of India had also written to the central govt requesting the early release of funds for the VVPAT.

Finally the Union Cabinet led by PM Modi on Wednesday approved the EC proposal to buy the VVPAT machines, that is expected to be used in the General Elections 2019. According to media report the each VVPAT machine would cost around Rs.19,650. The machine would be sourced from Bharat Electronics Ltd, Bangalore and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad.

As expected, the VVPAT would be used to bring more transparency in the election process.

Lets know what is actually VVPAT and some more events that lead to the use of VVPAT in the country.

What is VVPAT?
This is a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail(VVPAT) unit that provides feedback to the voters using EVMs for the voting. It functions like an independent verification system for the EVMs and allow voters to verify that they have casted their votes as intended.

How a VVPAT machine works?
The VVPAT functions like a printer that attached to the ballot unit and kept inside the voting compartment. After the voter presses the button against the name of the candidate of his/her choice on the EVM, the VVPAT machine quickly generate a paper slip, that also called 'ballot slip'. This slip contain the name, serial number and the symbol of the chosen candidate. Slip can be seen through a screened window where it stays for the seven seconds and after it automatically gets cut and falls into a sealed drop box. Thus, the ballot slip neither goes into the voter hands nor others can get to see it.

What is the benefit of VVPAT?
The VVPAT machine gives voter an opportunity to challenge his/her vote on the basis of the paper slip for the first time. one of the benefits is that the paper slip can be used at the time of counting in case of any disputes.


I think that It is a very good step towards transparent electoral process in the country. The political parties were, for the last several years, demanding the for the VVPAT but due to lack funds process was delayed.

Hope the political parties will never be make controversy for the EVMs tempering...

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