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Simultaneous polls: Rs 10K cr required for new EVMs after every 15 yrs, says EC

New Delhi: If Lok Sabha and assembly elections are held simultaneously, the Election Commission (EC) will need around Rs 10,000 crore after every 15 years to buy new Electronic Voting Machines, the poll body said.

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The EC has informed the government that life of any single Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) goes upto 15 years. Accoding to this life span, one EVM can be in use for three term of elections. ECI has estimated that around 11.80 lakh polling stations are required to be set up for Lok Sabha elections. If assembly elections also happen simultaneously in that case more EVMs would be required, ECI sources said.

The sources added that at least two sets of EVMs are required at each polling station, one for the Lok Sabha and second for the assembly.

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Increased number of Control Units (CUs), Ballot Units (BU)s, and Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) will also be required, the Commission said in a letter to the Union Law Ministry, last year in February.

Responding to a question, the Election Commission told the Law Ministry that in 2023, the tentative cost of EVM was Rs 7,900 per BU, Rs 9,800 per CU, and Rs 16,000 per unit of VVPAT.

Central Government has constituted a High Level Committee on One Nation, One Election led by former president Ram Nath Kovind. As per the Terms of Reference, the Committee is required to make recommendations for creation of an appropriate legal and administrative framework for holding simultaneous elections on a permanent basis, identification of necessary amendments to the Constitution and related election laws, preparation of common electoral rolls, logistics such as EVMs/VVPATs, etc.

Recently the high level commity has issued a public notice for inviting suggestions from members of general public. The committee said that this initiative has been taken for making appropriate changes in the existing legal administrative framework to enable simultaneous elections in the country.

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