Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Voting Rights to NRIs


Non Resident Indians have been confused by news reports that the Bill to accord them franchise is well on the way to becoming a law in parliament.

However, the Indian authorities have clarified that the Bill is only intended to offer the fundamental right to those who are in the constituency on the voting day.
There is no provision in the Bill for voting at embassies and consulates so, in reality, almost 90 per cent of the community is ruled out since the lower income groups are very unlikely to be able to coincide their visits with the elections.

Of the 10 per cent that might have the wherewithal to travel at will it is unlikely their schedules will match so perfectly. Consequently, the news release issued in New Delhi on Sunday offers little comfort and certainly does not indicate a voting right being bestowed upon NRIs. 15 June 2010 – Editor, Khaleej Times, Dubai


NEW DELHI - The NRI voting rights bill is likely to be passed in the monsoon session of parliament but there is no possibility of postal ballots for Non-Resident Indians (NRI), says Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi.

“There is no question of postal ballots because bogus voting will be a concern,” Ravi said.

Ravi, a Rajya Sabha MP, said the NRI voting rights bill is expected to be passed during the monsoon session of parliament.

“It will be passed in the next session of parliament,” he said.

A meeting of a Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was held held June 10. It was chaired by A.K. Antony. Also present were Ravi, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Law Minister Veerappa Moily and Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal.

“The demand for voting rights for people who live abroad — especially in the Gulf, the numbers into millions, so naturally it’s a genuine demand — was difficult to meet as names get deleted from the voters list if they are absent from the country for more than six months,” Ravi said. 15 June 2010 - (IANS)

Comments from PRATHAP G:

It appears the Government of India once again rendered the NRIs, as well as their missions abroad i.e. the Consulates and Embassies, a laughing stock. This would mean, the Government of India - a product of “democratic process” - does not trust their own countrymen and their representatives abroad.

Perish the thought of postal ballots. Why not entrust the task of making adequate voting venues abroad for the NRIs by the Indian Consulates and Embassies, just as many other countries do successfully. Which begs the question of trust deficit, i.e. the “Government of India” does not believe in their so-called Consulates and Embassies.

After all, one wonders whether the people that constitute the Government of India today were elected legitimately or through “bogus” means from a “great democratic country that India is”. Hi NRIs, eat Pizza, piss, and go to sleep - 15 June 2010.

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