20/04/2017 Editorial Simplified 0 comment

19th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 19th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu

Editorial : Lines of defence for using EVMs

Context:

The Election Commission has asked the government to release funds to be used for the manufacture of VVPAT EVMs

Important Points:

  • The EC had successfully brushed aside complaints of BSP and AAP after their electoral losses but a clutch of other parties have joined the chorus and hence the EC has asked the government to urgently release the money required for getting the process of manufacturing of VVPAT EVMs started, for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
  • The use of VVPAT EVMs across India would require roughly 16 lakh such machines costing about Rs 3,174 crore in manufacturing costs.
  • The EC has repeatedly assured voters that there are enough procedural and technical safeguards to prevent large-scale tampering or manipulation of EVMs.

Technical security features

  • Since 2006, elections have witnessed the use of upgraded EVMs — Model 2 machines, with security features such as dynamic coding of key codes on ballot units and their transfer as messages to the control unit in an encrypted manner. 
  • EVMs feature encoded software that is burnt one-time on to programmable chips, enabling them to be used as stand-alone machines rather than computer-connected units, thus preventing any hacking by remote devices.
  • Model 3 machines produced after 2013 have additional features such as tamper detection.

Procedural security features

  • Locking and storing EVMs before and after polling, besides functional checks and tests in the presence of representatives of political parties.

Analysis:

  • Paper trails were supposed to corroborate the votes polled in certain constituencies only and was not conceived as something to be taken up at a pan-India scale. Hence, the exercise of having VVPAT EVMs pan-India seems unnecessary and expensive.
  • The addition of the VVPAT machine to the process is to allow for cross-checking of EVM results through a paper audit, completing another layer of accountability, in addition to technical and procedural safeguards.
  • Contrary to claims by political parties, studies show the introduction of EVMs has resulted in a drastic reduction in electoral fraud (rigging, stuffing of ballot boxes, etc.) and allowed for greater voter participation.

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