The EVMs are tamper-proof and the use of paper trail will further enhance the confidence of the voters in the poll process, the Election Commission told a parliamentary panel today. Senior officials of the commission appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Personnel and said the EVMs are tamper-proof and very reliable. Over the last 23 years, the commission has successfully conducted 107 Assembly and three Lok Sabha elections using EVMs, officials told the panel.
Since September 2013, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines have also been used in various state assembly and Parliamentary constituencies for enhanced transparency and credibility in the voting process, they said.
Senior officials assured the parliamentary panel that the EVMs are tamper-proof and the commission has decided to use VVPAT or paper trail machines in all future elections which will further enhance the confidence of the voters in these machines, a member of the panel said.
The stand of the commission before the parliamentary panel comes a day before it is to announce its ‘EVM challenge’ at a press conference here.
Contrary to misinformation and as alleged by some, the EC does not use any EVMs produced abroad, the officials said. EVMs are produced indigenously by two state-run firms; Bharat Electronics and Electronics Corporation of India.
Even the Software Programme Code of these EVMs is written in-house, by these two companies, not outsourced, and subjected to security procedures at factory level to maintain the highest levels of integrity, officials said. They said that the programme is converted into machine code and only then given to the chip manufacturer abroad as India does not have the capability of producing semi-conductor microchips within the country.
Elaborating further, the officials said it is not possible to replace microchip as all microchips are subjected to functional tests with regard to the software. Any attempt to replace the microchip is detectable and can make the EVM in-operative.
The commission was represented by Deputy Election Commissioners Umesh Sinha and Vijay Dev, besides other officials. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law, headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma, had today summoned the Election Commission officials and the Legislative Secretary of the Law Ministry over the issue of electoral reforms.
After several opposition parties urged the EC to revert to ballot paper system, the parliamentary committee had summoned senior officials of the poll panel to discuss issues related to the reliability of EVMs.
The EC has also thrown a challenge to political parties to prove that the EVMs used in the recent assembly polls were tampered with after several opposition parties questioned their reliability and demanded going back to the paper ballot system.