Indian expats get right to take part in elections
Posted on January 10, 2012
Jaipur: Fulfilling a long-standing demand of its diaspora, India yesterday said it would allow Non Resident Indians (NRIs) to vote and participate in the election process.
“Pursuant to the law that was enacted to enable Non-Resident Indians to vote in our national elections, the government has issued notifications for registration of overseas electors under the Representation of People Act, 1950,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, as he formally inaugurated the 10th annual diaspora meet, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here.
“This constitutes the first major step to enable Indian residents abroad to participate in our election process,” the prime minister told the diaspora meet here.
He said the diaspora plays an important role in the growth and development of the country.
“The government and people of India recognise and value the important role being played by Indian communities living abroad. We believe that Indian diaspora has much more to contribute to the building of modern India,” the prime minister said.
“We propose to facilitate, encourage and promote this engagement. Over the past year, we have taken a number of steps towards this end,” he added.
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said NRIs would be able to exercise their franchise in the upcoming elections. Now those NRIs who have registered with the embassies of their respective countries of stay, would be eligible to vote in the upcoming assembly elections in five states.
Singh also announced a new pension and life insurance scheme for overseas Indian workers that would allow over five million workers, especially those working in the Gulf, to save money for the future.
Announcing the government’s decision to introduce and sponsor the Pension and Life Insurance Fund (PLIF), Singh said the scheme will encourage the overseas workers to voluntarily save money for their resettlement and old age.
9 Jan 2012