India's Election Commission to buy new voting machines amid fresh doubts

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Apr 02, 2017, 11:45 PM IST
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India's Election Commission has recently come under pressure from various political parties to replace electronic voting machines. There are fears that such machines are prone to hacking. Photograph:(Zee News Network)

India's Election Commission -- the agency responsible for poll processes in the country -- is set to acquire new electronic voting machines that can become "inoperable" if they are tampered with.

This comes amid doubts over the credibility of existing EVMs.

The agency will need around Rs 1,940 crore (about $299 million) to procure the next-generation machines called "M3"-type machines.

Such EVMs will only recognise genuine voting machines in the field, and thereby eliminate claims of discrepancies.

The commission plans to purchase them as the 9,30,430 existing EVMs in the country near its 15-year life cycle, Asian Age reported.

Last year, India's federal government released a tranche of Rs 1,009 crore (roughly $155 million) for the commission to replenish the existing voting machines before the country's next general elections in 2019.

The exisiting machines have come under severe scrutiny in recent days following the regional elections in India. 

Several political parties in India have asked the Election Commission to replace the machines as fresh doubts surfaced in during local elections in central India last week.

In Bhind, a town in central India's Madhya Pradesh state, there were reports of an EVM dispensing slips of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party only, much to the consternation of a host of opposition parties.

Electronic voting machines have been used by India for the last 15 years, but there remain doubts about ist credibility.

Several countries like Ireland, Germany and The Netherlands have done away with such machines over worries about them being prone to hacking.