Millennium Post

Cabinet defers proposal on NRIs' voting rights

The Union Cabinet is learnt to have on Tuesday deferred a proposal to extend the facility of voting by electronic means and proxy to overseas Indians by amending electoral laws.

Sources in the government said the proposal to amend the Representation of the People Act was part of the Cabinet's agenda which met this morning. But, it was deferred.

The reasons behind deferring the proposal were not immediately known. Service personnel, including those serving in the armed forces, have already been extended the facility of receiving their postal ballots through electronic means by amending rules. They already have the option to cast their votes through proxy.

For overseas Indians, the Representation of the People Act needs to be amended to include postal ballot and proxy voting as other ways to cast their votes. An expert committee in the Election Commission working on the issue had, in 2015, forwarded the legal framework to the Law Ministry to amend electoral laws to allow overseas Indians use proxy voting and e-ballot facility. Data shows that only 10,000 to 12,000 NRIs have voted because they do not want to spend foreign currency to come to the country and vote.
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