Below The Line

Our Bureaus | Updated on March 09, 2018 Published on April 09, 2017


Know your EVMs and VVPATs

Pushed against a wall, the Election Commission now wants political parties and media to know the difference between electronic voting machines (EVMs) and the Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) facility. The Commission, which is opening the challenge in the last week of April for proving its claim that EVMs cannot be tampered, wants people to be aware of facts before jumping the gun on voting machine frauds.

EVMs comprising the control unit and ballot unit used in any election are kept in a strong room after declaration of results and cannot be accessed by anyone till the period of filing of election petitions is over; that is within 45 days. However, in the case of VVPAT machines, the printed slips have to be retrieved at the time of counting and sealed in an envelope. Only the sealed slips are kept inside the strong room along with EVMs.

“The VVPAT machines are not required by law to be retained in a strong room for the purpose of election petition and are available for use in any other election… There is a difference between EVMs and VVPAT,” a senior EC official said.

Priorities in place

The officials were there and so was the media for the scheduled meeting time of 6:30 pm between commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman and British Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark.

But the scheduled meeting of last Friday got cancelled. The reason: GST Bill. The Parliament session dragged on and Sitharaman could just not make her exit on time.

While the agenda of pursuing India’s concerns on the UK’s visa restrictions had to be temporarily abandoned, the saving grace was that the Rajya Sabha passed the four GST-related Bills. In life, it is all about prioritising.

Choice-based credit?

BJP’s Asansol MP and Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Babul Supriyo’s appointment as Minister-in-Waiting during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India doesn’t seem to have gone down too well with some of his party colleagues in West Bengal.

A State BJP leader was left wondering why a senior colleague, who had put his “heart and soul” into the troubled Teesta river dispute, raising the issue umpteen times in Parliament, had been left out in the cold. Political greenhorns, it seems, are scoring over experience, the leader rued.

All that Kant...

When Amitabh Kant was appointed as CEO of NITI Aayog many were taken by surprise. Insiders said that Kant was supposed to be the face of Aayog, which has a rather serious image as the government’s think-tank. But the flamboyant Kant has not restricted himself to NITI Aayog affairs.

From receiving an award at Goafest to launching Samsung Pay, from speaking at various symposiums on luxury, cultural and creative industries and urbanisation to doing a trial run of Tata Hexa, he is everywhere.

If this were not enough, Kant has been speaking against the liquor ban. He took to Twitter to speak up for the hospitality and tourism industry post the SC liquor ban on the highways vends.

Taking pulse?

India has nearly 700 district hospitals aimed at providing crucial services. Despite the large funds allocated to them, there is no comprehensive system to assess their performance. To address this lacuna, NITI Aayog has launched a framework to track the performance of district hospitals across all States/UTs focusing primarily on outputs and outcomes. A joint exercise of the health ministry and NITI, the index — Health of our Hospitals — was launched to track the performance of District Hospitals across India. These hospitals form the second stage of referral, with the objective of providing secondary health services at the district level, in the existing three-tier structure for public health facilities.

Published on April 09, 2017

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