Following protests from political parties about the security of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used during the most recent state elections, the government has granted Rs 3,173 crores to the Election Commission to equip voting machines with extra units that will print paper records so voters can see who received their vote.
The EC will use the funds to buy 16.15 lakh of these printing units called voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) before the next general election in 2019. The units will be manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India.
Last week, the Supreme Court pulled up the Centre on why a paper record was not being maintained for voting despite its order in 2013 to introduce paper records of voting. The notice came after senior advocate P. Chidambaram said that EVMs were highly vulnerable and susceptible to hacking, the Hindu reported.
A number of political parties have raised concerns about the integrity of EVMs, and the opposition last week approached President Pranab Mukherjee, asking him to intervene.
The EC, on its part, has maintained that EVMs remain robust and has even thrown an open challenge to the public to hack the machines in May.