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All New VVPAT Machines for 2019 Elections : Cabinet clears 3000 crores for implementation

The Cabinet has given its nod to Election Commission's proposal for procurement of new 16 lakh 15 thousand new Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while briefing media said, the machines, if ordered in this month can be supplied by the manufacturers by September 2018. He said, through this voter will come to know whether his or her vote has been registered correctly or not.

Mr Jaitley said, the total estimated cost would be three thousand one hundred seventy three crore rupees excluding taxes and freight. The decision will enable use of VVPAT units in all polling booths in General Election of 2019. The Supreme Court had in October 2013 said every voter has a right to know whether his vote has been registered correctly.

VVPAT will prove as an additional layer of transparency for the satisfaction of voters and allay any apprehension in the minds of voters regarding non-temperability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Machines will be purchased during the current fiscal and next financial year from Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Cooperation of India.

The demand for VVPAT has been made vociferously by several opposition parties after recent Assembly polls. The opposition had blamed that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were manipulated in the elections. The Election Commission had recently once again written to the Law Commission for procurement of VVPAT machines.

Congress has welcomed the government's decision to allot money to procure paper trail machines (VVPATs) for their use during future elections. In a tweet, senior party leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram said, it is a clear victory for the Congress, other opposition parties and democracy as a whole.

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