New Delhi: EVMs could soon be made by start-up companies as the cabinet has approved a plan to rope in the private sector to build EVMs and paper trail machines.
So far, only two public sector companies make EVMs for the Election Commission, given the sensitivity and importance of the machines in the electoral process.
According to sources, the decision to rope in start-ups to build EVMs received a strong backing by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who in January had launched the ‘Start-Up India Movement’.
While the private sector will be encouraged to develop newer model EVMs and paper trail machines, which keep a paper log of the vote polled on the EVM, the underlying criteria will be to ensure that they are secure and tamper proof.
20 lakh EVMs have been purchased so far, each with a life span of 15 years. According to sources, during 2016-2017, Rs. 920 crore will be spend to acquire new EVMs to replace some of the ageing ones.
The Election Commission had requested for 14 lakh new EVMs and nine lakh control units at a reported cost of more than Rs. 5000 crore to replace over nine lakh EVMs which will complete their life cycle by 2019.
BJP lawmaker Subramanian Swamy had earlier filed a case in the Supreme Court over concerns with EVMs and whether they were tamper proof. The Supreme Court had ordered that paper trail machines be introduced in a phased manner from the 2014 elections.