History of EVMs in India
The first General Elections in India were held from 25 October 1951 to 21 February 1952. The very first general elections of India were held through ballot papers.
The total numbers of electorate in the first general elections were 173 million which is now around 900 million in 2019.
So it was neither wise nor environment friendly for the Election Commission to conduct the elections through ballot papers. Hence Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) replaced the ballot papers.
The first Indian EVM was invented in 1980 by "MB Hanifa", which was registered on 15 October 1980 as "Electronic Vibrated Counting Machine".
EVMs were first used in some polling booths of the North Paravur Assembly Constituency of Kerala in the year 1982 on pilot basis. Later on since 2004 the Election Commission of India started using the EVMs in almost all the Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
What is Electronic Voting Machine (EVM);
Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) is an electronic device for recording votes.
An Electronic Voting Machine consists of two Units;
1. Control Unit
2. Balloting Unit
The Control Unit is placed near the Presiding Officer or a Polling Officer and the Balloting Unit is placed inside the voting compartment which is used for casting the votes.
The Polling Officer in-charge of the Control Unit releases a ballot by pressing the Ballot Button on the Control Unit. This enables the voter to cast his/her vote by pressing the blue button on the Balloting Unit against the candidate and symbol of his/her choice. An EVM can record a maximum of 2,000 votes.
EVMs don't require electricity because they are run on an ordinary battery assembled by Bharat Electronics Limited/Electronics Corporation of India Limited.
Who designs the EVMs?
The Electronic Voting Machines have been designed and made by the Technical Experts Committee (TEC) of the Election Commission in collaboration with two Public Sector Undertakings i.e.
1. Electronic Corporation of India Limited, Hyderabad.
2. Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore
The EVMs in India are manufactured by the above two undertakings.
Cost of the EVMs;
Currently there are two variants of the EVMs are made in India. One is M2 EVMs and another is M3 EVMs.
The Cost of M2 EVMs (which manufactured between2006 and 2010) was Rs.8670/- per EVM (including Balloting Unit and Control Unit). The cost of M3 EVMs has been tentatively fixed at about Rs. 17,000 per unit.
Some people may complains that the EVMs are costly but it is not true because in the long term its cost reduces due to the saving of expenditure occurred on printing, transportation, salary to counting staff and storage etc. of the ballot papers.
So this was the essential information on the cost and place of manufacturing of EVMs in India. I hope that the free and fair election will boost the belief of the opposition party in India in the EVMs. I hope that the Election Commission of India will not leave any stone unturned to clear the doubt of the different political parties.