28 Sep 2010
Dubai: Indians in the UAE are being encouraged to register themselves with the diplomatic missions to help them exercise their right to vote while in India.
“There is no compulsory registration. But it will be to the benefit of the Indian community here to use their voting rights. In case somebody challenges their names in the voters’ list, the registration will help verify their details through the consulate or the embassy,” said Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, at a press conference at the Indian Consulate on Monday.
Sanjay Verma, Indian Consul General, said currently less than 5,000 people are registered with the consulate.
“If the linkage between NRI voting rights and online registration is established, we are ready to take it to a different footing,” said Verma.
Expatriate Indians can register their details online by using their passport and visa details.
The long-standing demand of non-resident Indians was fulfilled when the Group of Ministers (Gom) cleared the draft for the Representation of People’s (Amendment) Bill two months ago, to be presented in the federal cabinet and then the Parliament.
If passed in the parliament as a law, NRIs will be able to participate in the democratic process if they are present in their constituencies during the state assembly or parliament elections.
Currently, an NRI’s name gets deleted from the voters’ list if he or she stays outside the country for more than six months.
Responding to questions from the media, Ravi said the governments of UAE and India are in the process of finalising the amendments to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries for the welfare and protection of Indian workers.
No further details
The minister, who was in the UAE to attend the Global Arab Business Meeting at Ras Al Khaimah on Sunday, did not divulge details of the MoU.