The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued a letter of intent for purchase of 16,15,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) at an estimated cost of Rs 3,173.47 crore during 2017-18 and 2018-19 from two public service undertakings- Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).
In its letter sent to the chairman and managing directors (CMDs) of ECIL and BEL on Friday, the Commission communicated its intent for purchasing 8,07,500 VVPATs from each PSU by September 2018.
These VVPATs shall be manufactured by both PSUs only as per the design approved by the Commission based on the recommendation of the technical experts committee on EVMs constituted by the Commission and comprising of eminent technical professors from IITs. The Commission shall closely monitor the production of VVPATs for timely delivery before the 2019 general elections.
Highlighting the importance of the step, Chief Election Commissioner Dr Nasim Zaidi said, "This will enhance transparency and uphold the voters' right to know which party he or she has voted, thereby increasing their confidence in the free and fair electoral process."
On April 19, in compliance of the order of Hon'ble Supreme Court and as per the recommendation of the Election Commission of India, government approved Rs 3,173.47 crore for the procurement of 16,15,000 VVPATs to be used in ensuing elections and 2019 general elections.