New Delhi: The Election Commission of India on Thursday said that it is committed to 100 per cent deployment of VVPATs (Voter-verified paper audit trail) at all polling stations during the upcoming elections to the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies.

It is to be noted here that the Commission had placed an order of 17.45 lakh VVPATs to Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad. Till date, 9.45 lakh units have been produced by the PSUs, it said in an official communication.

The move to introduce VVPAT machines was taken after the results of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls last year. It was also suggested that the Opposition parties questioned the authenticity of the EVMs. Hence, the EC had suggested the introduction of the VVPAT machines for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections as well. The EC had even covered all the polling stations with VVPATs for Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, and Karnataka assembly elections.

Last year, the EC had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court and promised to introduce VVPATs in all polling stations for the 2019 general elections. Not just this, it also said that requisite paper trail machines will be ready by September 2018, which will be provided by the two manufacturing PSUs — Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in Bengaluru and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) in Hyderabad.

The Commission has estimated a requirement of 171 per cent ballot units, 125 per cent control units and 135 per cent VVPAT requirements for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. It may be noted that in case of any error, only VVPAT is replaced with the reserve one, whereas, in case of any error in the ballot unit or control unit of the EVM, the entire set of ballot unit(s), control unit and VVPAT is changed, resulting in an increase in the requirement of VVPATs.

“It is pertinent to mention that learning from the experience of Kairana and Bhandara-Gondiya by-polls held in May 2018 where the errors were mainly caused by excessive exposure to illumination in the polling stations, the Commission has adopted hardware improvement recommended by the Technical Expert Committee to prevent auto shutdown of VVPATs due to excessive light,” the EC said.

(With agency inputs)