The Election Commission of India is mandated under Article 324 to 329 of the Constitution of India to provide superintendence, direction and control for conduct of elections in accordance with the law in force and not for catering to any speculation or debate.
While all required EVMs will be delivered by 30th Sep 2018, VVPAT deliveries are delayed as the Technical Experts Committee on EVMs appointed by the Commission analyses the technology stabilization issues in the initial batches and incorporates essential design improvements. Even then due to continuous monitoring at the highest level, including personal visits by the Commission of all the production units, all VVPATs shall also be delivered well before end of Nov 2018, well within the time required for making pre-poll preparations.
In order to meet the requirement of VVPATs for 100% saturation of all polling stations for the Lok Sabha Elections in 2019, the Commission placed an order of 16.15 lakh VVPATs to be produced by the PSU manufacturers namely Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), Hyderabad in May 2017. Till date, 5.88 lakh units have been produced by the PSUs (4.36 lakh by BEL and 1.52 lakh by ECIL), which is 36% of the total quantity to be supplied.
The RTI reply dated 19 June 2018 mentioned in a media report today does not take into account the current status as explained above. Both the PSUs have assured the Commission that the remaining VVPAT units (10.27 lakh) will be manufactured and supplied to the various States/UTs before end of Nov 2018.
The Commission has been consistently and periodically reviewing the status of production and supply of VVPATs with the CMDs of PSUs, as well as the Technical Experts Committee, to ensure that the design, production and supply activities of all the units of EVMs and VVPATs is streamlined and completed in a time-bound manner after incorporating the features suggested by the TEC which is carrying out a rigorous supervision of the production process and product performance. The Officers of the Commission are monitoring the manufacture and supply of machines on a daily basis in order to ensure timely delivery and pre poll preparedness. It is reiterated that the production and supply of additional quantities of EVMs (13.95 lakh Ballot Units and 9.3 lakh Control Units) required for Lok Sabha-2019 will be completed by September 2018 as per schedule, and that of VVPAT before November 2018.
It is also pertinent to note that comprehensive and systematic preparatory activities for the LokSabha Elections, including the detailed First Level Checking (FLC) of EVMs and VVPATs have already been commenced across various States/UTs and will be completed in an efficient, effective and timely manner.
In this regard, the Commission would like to allay any unfounded apprehensions regarding the supply of VVPATs for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. The Commission is committed to the 100% deployment of VVPATs at all polling stations in future General, as well as Bye elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.
Over the last twenty years, the Election Commission of India has successfully conducted 113 State Legislative Assembly Elections and 03 Lok Sabha elections using the EVMs. Since, June 2017, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT ) machines have also been used along with the EVMs in General as well as Bye-Elections in all State Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies for enhanced voter verifiability and the Commission is committed to use VVPATs in all elections.