The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the proposal of Election Commission to procure :
a) 550000 Ballot Units (BUs) and 545000 Control Units (CUs) during 2016-17, at a tentative cost of Rs. 77007- and Rs. 93007- respectively per unit from M/s Bharat Electronics Ltd and M/s Electronics Corporation of India Ltd.
b) Allocation of Rs. 25 crore for R&D efforts with the specific purpose of significant reduction in the cost of individual units, with a view to bringing down the overall cost of procurements in future. It was also decided that the procurement plan for BUs and CUs for the years 2017-18 and 2018-19 would be considered subsequently. Similarly, the procurement plan for Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail Units (VVPAT) for the years 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 would be considered subsequently.
This would facilitate phasing out of obsolete Electronic Voting Machines procured during the years 2000-2005, enabling Election Commission to replenish the stock, with view to meeting the requirement of conducting General Elections to Lok Sabha and some of the State Assemblies due in the year 2019.
After the initial experimental use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), it is being used in all polling stations across the country since general elections to Lok Sabha-2004. The EVMs were developed at the behest of the Election Commission jointly by two Public Sector Undertakings, Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad in 1989. An EVM normally consists of a Ballot Unit (BU) and a Control Unit (CU), but whenever the number of candidates is more than 16 then another BU can be attached to a CU subject to a maximum of 4 BUs that could be attached to one CU.