Topic– Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
2) In order to prevent tampering of EVMs there is a need for some urgent technical and administrative changes. Discuss. (250 words)
Why this question
There have been several allegations from various political parties about the tampering of EVMs. Confidence in the integrity of EVMs is important for voters to trust the outcomes of elections. The ECI cannot allow this confidence to be eroded. It is thus important to discuss in what technical and administrative ways it can be ensured that the EVMs are not tempered with.
Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. We also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to write in detail about the technical as well as the administrative changes that can be brought in to ensure that the EVMs are not tampered with.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– mention the allegations of EVM tampering and also mention the need to uphold the credibility and integrity of the electoral exercise in front of the public etc.
- Discuss how EVMs can be tampered with. E.g Indian EVMs cannot be hacked because they are not connected to any network and their software is ‘burnt’ into the CPU and cannot be rewritten after manufacture. But someone with physical access to the EVMs and replace the EVM’s non-hackable CPU with a look-alike but hackable CPU that can be programmed to count votes dishonestly. All the features and safeguards relied on by the ECI can be easily negated by insider fraud for which there is scope at three stages: (1) at the EVMs manufacturing stage, (2) at the district level, during the long non-election period, when the EVMs are stored in archaic warehouses in multiple locations with inadequate security systems, and (3)at the stage of ‘first level checks’ prior to an election when the EVMs are serviced by authorised technicians from the EVM manufacturers.
- Discuss the steps that can be taken to ensure that EVMs are not tampered with. E.g Procurement and supply of “Authentication Units” to detect Counterfeit EVMs; Completely overhauling the present method of storing EVMs during the non-election period; Engaging the services of a credible electronic security firm; Random allotment of EVMs across states and districts; Candidate ordering etc.
Conclusion– sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.