New Delhi | The Election Commission has started preparing for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls by commencing the manufacturing of 8.92 lakh new Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines and retiring 2.71 lakh such M2 model machines, sources said on Wednesday.
They also said the poll panel has identified 3.43 lakh VVPATs for "preventive maintenance" and 2.43 lakh for upgrade to reduce nachine replacement rate.
The poll panel undertakes the exercise of checking electronic voting machines and paper trail machines ahead of every Lok Sabha polls, the sources said.
They said the Commission has undertaken a detailed "preparatory exercise" for next Lok Sabha polls by reviewing VVPAT stocks by retiring obsolete M2 type machines, producing new VVPATs, upgrading VVPAT to M3 from available upgradable 'M2M3' machines and carrying out preventive maintenance of 3.43 lakh such machines.
Referring to media reports regarding defects in VVPATs, they said that 3.43 lakh VVPATs were identified for preventive maintenance and not 6.5 lakh as reported.
Officials asserted that a defective VVPAT in no way gives erroneous result, but only signifies stoppage of functioning during poll process.
After every election analysis of non-functional EVMs and VVPATs is carried out for enhancing the performance of these machines to reduce replacement rates.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 17.4 lakh VVPATs were deployed and used first time in every polling station throughout the country.
Post polls, the Technical Expert Committee carried out an exhaustive analysis along with Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd.
The analysis got delayed due to the Covid pandemic. In analysis it was concluded that some corrective actions were required to improve the performance of M3 VVPATs. It was also decided to discontinue M2 model machine. It was also decided to upgrade M2-M3 VVPATs to M3 model to mitigate the replacement rate.