The Election Commission of India (ECI) assured that there need not be any apprehensions regarding the supply of VVPATs for the Lok Sabha Election in 2019. The Commission is committed to 100% deployment of VVPATs at all polling stations in future General, as well as bye elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.
In order to meet the requirement of 100% VVPATs for all polling stations for the upcoming Lok Sabha Election in 2019, the Commission placed an order of 17.45 lakh VVPATs to Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad. Till date, 9.45 lakh units have been produced by the PSUs. Both PSUs have assured the Commission that the remaining VVPAT units (8 lakh) will be manufactured and supplied to the various States/UTs comfortably before end of Nov 2018.
The Commission has indeed enhanced the requirement of additional VVPATs from 125% to 135% considering the trend of failure rate of VVPATs in past elections. The Commission has estimated 171% Ballot Units, 125% Control Units and 135% VVPATs requirements for upcoming Lok Sabha Elections.
It may be noted that in case of any error in VVPAT, only VVPAT is replaced with the reserve one, whereas, in case of any error in Ballot Unit or Control Unit of the EVM, entire set of Ballot Unit(s), Control Unit and VVPAT is changed, resulting in an increase in requirement of VVPATs than the requirement of Control Units of EVMs.
It is pertinent to mention that learning from experience of Kairana and Bhandara-Gondiya bye-polls held in May, 2018 where the errors were mainly caused by excessive exposure to illumination in the polling stations, the Commission has adopted the hardware improvement recommended by the Technical Expert Committee to prevent auto shutdown of VVPATs due to excessive light.