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Rs 4,555 cr needed to buy EVMs for ‘imminent’ simultaneous polls: Law panel

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The Law Commission has said over Rs 4,500 crore will be needed to buy new EVMs and paper trail machines for “imminent” simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

In its draft report on simultaneous polls issued last week, the law panel quoted the Election Commission as saying that around 10,60,000 polling stations will be set up for the 2019 general elections.

“It (EC) further informed that as of now there is a shortfall of about 12.9 lakh ballot units, 9.4 lakh control units and about 12.3 lakh VVPATs (voter verifiable paper audit trail machines or paper trail machines), if simultaneous elections are to be held,” the report read.

According to it, an electronic voting machine (EVM), which includes a control unit (CU), a ballot unit (BU) and a VVPAT, costs about Rs 33,200.

“Thus, the EC has informed that an expenditure of about Rs 4,555 crore will be incurred on procurement of EVMs for an imminent simultaneous election,” the draft report read.

Keeping in mind the average shelf life of 15 years of an EVM, the Law Commission said that at the prevailing rates, Rs 1751.17 crore for conduct of the second simultaneous elections in 2024 and Rs 2017.93 crore for the third simultaneous elections in 2029 will be required for procuring EVMs.

“Thereafter, Rs 13,981.58 crore will be required for procuring new EVMs for the proposed simultaneous elections in 2034,” it said.

The EC said that the expenditure has been calculated on the basis of the prevailing rates.

If the Lok Sabha and assembly polls are held together, no extra expenditure will be involved, except for an additional EVM for each polling station and additional election material such as stationary.

At larger polling stations, additional polling staff may be required in view of an additional EVM, the draft report said.

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