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Old electronic voting machines destroyed, buyers have to seek EC nod

The EC’s clarification comes in the wake of allegations that the machines used during the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections, the results of which were announced on Thursday, were faulty.

india Updated: Sep 15, 2018 13:31 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Election Commission,electronic voting machines,DUSU polls
The Election Commission has asserted that EVMs for the DUSU polls were procured from Electronics Corporation of India Limited.(Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The election commission (EC) does not provide or sell electronic voting machines (EVMs) that are no longer in use to any local body, state or university to conduct elections nor can buyers procure machines from the manufacturers without the consent of the poll panel. Officials aware of the issue said on Friday that all obsolete machines –that are older than 15 years—are sent back to the manufacturers where these are destroyed as per protocol in the presence of EC officials.

“A decision was taken in 2010 that all machines that are discontinued will not be lent out to anyone; because when the machines were given earlier, the users did not stick to the necessary protocol for use. When glitches occurred thereafter, there was confusion and the EC ended up getting blamed, so a decision was taken that all EVMs that are discontinued after 15 years of use will be destroyed,” an official requesting anonymity said.

The EC’s clarification comes in the wake of allegations that the machines used during the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections, the results of which were announced on Thursday, were faulty.

The Commission has asserted that these machines were not supplied by it and DU authorities have also stated that the machines were procured from ECIL. HT’s questions to ECIL about the protocol maintained for the machines used by DU went unanswered.

The M1 model of EVMs produced up to 2006 were last used in 2014 general elections and were discarded as they were not compatible with the VVPAT or the voter verified paper audit trail machines that are now mandatory to use along with the EVMs.

As for procurement of new machines from the two manufacturers, Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) and Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL), another official, also requesting anonymity, said, the poll panel’s nod is requisite.

“After Mat 2017, it was decided that EVM requirement of the EC will be prioritised and no other country’s request for EVMs will be accepted till their order is met. The only exception was made in the case of Bhutan, where 1000 units were required as part of an existing order. The EC has requests for procuring EVMs from Namibia, Nepal and Bhutan,” the official said.

EC officials said stringent protocol is also followed for repairs of the EVMs.

“EVMs found defective during the poll period or non-poll period and requiring electronic repairs are sent to the manufacturers BEL and ECIL for repairs and are tracked under ETS. The repaired EVMs are allocated by the Commission,” the second official said.

Highlights
  • Technological changes were made in the EVMs in 2001 and the machines were further upgraded in 2006
  • The pre-2006 era EVMs are known as ‘M1 EVMs’, while EVMs manufactured between 2006 to 2010 are called ‘M2 EVMs’.
  • The next generation of EVMs, produced since 2013 are known as ‘M3 EVMs’.

First Published: Sep 15, 2018 13:31 IST