News: The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the State Election Commission as to why EVMs with VVPAT cannot be used for the upcoming elections of Municipal Corporations of Delhi.
About Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail:
Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) or verified paper record (VPR) is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system.
A VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible election fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.
It contains the name of the candidate (for whom vote has been cast) and symbol of the party/individual candidate.
The VVPAT offers some fundamental differences as a paper, rather than electronic recording medium when storing votes. A paper VVPAT is readable by the human eye and voters can directly interpret their vote. Computer memory requires a device and software which potentially is proprietary.
Insecure voting machine records could potentially be changed quickly without detection by the voting machine itself.
It would be more difficult for voting machines to corrupt records without human intervention.
Corrupt or malfunctioning voting machines might store votes other than as intended by the voter unnoticed.
A VVPAT allows voters to verify their votes are cast as intended and this system can serve as an additional barrier to changing or destroying votes.
The VVPAT includes a direct recording electronic voting system (DRE), to assure voters that their votes have been recorded as intended.
It is intended, and some argue necessary, as a means by which to detect fraud and equipment malfunction. Depending on election laws the paper audit trail may constitute a legal ballot and therefore provide a means by which a manual vote count can be conducted if a recount is necessary.
In India, the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) system was introduced in 8 of 543 parliamentary constituencies as a pilot project in 2014 Indian general election.
VVPAT was implemented in Lucknow, Gandhinagar, Bangalore South, Chennai Central, Jadavpur, Raipur, Patna Sahib and Mizoram constituencies.
2. ESSENTIAL SERVICES MAINTENANCE ACT
News: Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (DSAWHU) on Friday said they will legally fight to revoke the “oppressive imposition” of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to prohibit anganwadi workers from protesting.
About Essential Services Maintenance Act:
The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) is an act of Parliament of India which was established to ensure the delivery of certain services, which if obstructed would affect the normal life of the people.
This include services like public transport (bus services), health services (doctors and hospitals).
The ESMA is a law made by the Parliament of India under List No. 33 in Concurrent List of 7th Schedule of Constitution of India.
Hence it maintains national uniformity by providing minimum conditions of essential services across the nation.
For any violations in specific regions, State governments alone or together with other state government can enforce their respective act.
Each state has a separate state Essential Services Maintenance Act with slight variations from the central law in its provisions. Hence, in case the nature of strike disrupts only a state or states, then the states can invoke it.
In case of disruption on a national scale, especially railways, the ESMA 1968 can be invoked by central government.
3. BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION
News: As Russia called for a Security Council meeting on the issue of biological laboratories in Ukraine, India said any matters relating to obligations under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) should be addressed through consultation and cooperation between the parties concerned.
About Biological Weapons Convention:
The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), or Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), is a disarmament treaty that effectively bans biological and toxin weapons by prohibiting their development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use.
The treaty’s full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction.
Having entered into force on 26 March 1975, the BWC was the first multilateral disarmament treaty to ban the production of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.
The convention is of unlimited duration.
As of January 2022, 183 states have become party to the treaty.
Four additional states have signed but not ratified the treaty, and another ten states have neither signed nor acceded to the treaty.
The BWC is considered to have established a strong global norm against biological weapons.
This norm is reflected in the treaty’s preamble, which states that the use of biological weapons would be “repugnant to the conscience of mankind”.
It is also demonstrated by the fact that not a single state today declares to possess or seek biological weapons, or asserts that their use in war is legitimate.