Non-resident Indians get voting rights

Jaipur, Jan 8 (IANS) Fulfilling the long-standing demand of its diaspora, India Sunday 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.

‘This constitutes the first major step to enable Indian residents abroad to participate in our election process,’ the prime minister said while addressing the annual diaspora meet here.

He said diaspora plays an important role in the growth and development of the country and the government recognises it and was committed to address their concerns and fulfil their demands.

‘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.

The prime minister formally inaugurated the 10th annual diaspora meet called the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) here.

Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said nearly 1,900 delegates from almost 60 countries were participating in the annual conclave.