The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a fresh tranche of Rs 1009 crore for the Election Commission to buy new Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) so that it can phase out the ageing ones before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. As per Saturday’s approval, the poll body has been authorised to buy 4,10,000 Ballot Units (BUs) and 3,14,000 Control Units (CUs) during 2017-18 and 4,35,306 Ballot Units and 71,716 control units during 2018-19 at a tentative unit cost of Rs 7,700 and Rs 9,300 respectively.
The total estimated cost will be Rs 1,009.6 crore. The purchases will be made through Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL), Bangalore and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. (ECIL), Hyderabad. The Cabinet has also authorised the Election Commission to vary the quantity to be ordered on BEL and ECIL based on their production capacity and past performance in supply of machines. “This would facilitate phasing out of obsolete electronic voting machines procured during 2000-2005. It will enable the Commission to replenish the stock with a view to meet the requirement of conducting General Elections to Lok Sabha and some of the state assemblies due in 2019.
“Authorising the Election Commission to vary to the quantity would ensure better management of the procurement process and timely delivery of the units,” a statement by the Law Ministry said. On July 20, a similar Election Commission proposal to buy nearly 14 lakh new EVMs the first tranche at a cost of Rs 9,200 crore during 2016-17 was approved by the Union Cabinet.