Published on 12:00 AM, September 12, 2018

EVM project to be placed at next Ecnec meeting

Says planning minister

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal yesterday said the electronic voting machine (EVM) project will be placed at the next meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) for approval.

He was briefing reporters after the weekly Ecnec meeting.

The project evaluation committee of the planning ministry assessed a proposal from the Election Commission (EC) to purchase 1.5 lakh EVMs at a cost of Tk 3,821 crore.

The planning minister yesterday said though EVMs may be used in the next election, it will be on a trial basis. 

Under the proposed five-year project (July 2018 to June 2023), the money will be spent on purchasing the machines, training concerned officials, introducing voters to the machines through various orientation programmes, and establishing relevant infrastructure.

The EC forwarded the proposal to the planning ministry without conducting any feasibility study.

Asked about the feasibility study, the planning minister said, “There's no need for feasibility study because we have been using the EVM and we are familiar with it.”

Mustafa Kamal also said EVMs are already in use in the local government elections. But for using it in the national election the Representation of People Order (RPO) has to be amended.

Replying to a question on how it will be implemented as only a few months are left before the next national election, the minister said that the task of the planning ministry is to approve the project and arrange the money.

The Election Commission will look into how it will be implemented, he said. 

Replying to another query regarding the EC opening Letter of Credit (LC) with a private bank before the project's approval, the planning minister said he does not know anything about this, adding that for opening LC, a project has to exist.

The minister also said if reporters have any specific information about this, he would raise it at the next Ecnec meeting.

The EC has so far used EVMs on a very limited scale in several local government elections in recent years.