Hyderabad, Oct 11: In the year 2010, the Representation of Peoples Act of 1950 was amended to include special provisions for Indian citizens living abroad in the electoral rolls.
Following this, 25,407 NRIs registered as voters. The number of not high considering that there 3,12 crore NRIs. Of this 1,942 are women.
In this context it would be interesting to see how many NRIs from the poll bound state of Telangana have registered. The number is five. Yes just five NRIs from the state of Telangana have registered as voters.
Andhra Pradesh has done a share better and the number of NRIs who have registered asvoters is 15. The number is dismal considering that there are lakhs of people from the state who are residing abroad.
In Telangana, out of the 5 NRIs, two are women, while the rest men. In AP, 11 men and four women NRIs have registered as voters. The highest number of NRIs registered in the electoral rolls are from Kerala.
These details are part of the latest electoral rolls published by the Election Commission of India. The EC began publishing the data on NRIs from 2012 onwards. In 2012 just 10,002 NRIs had registered. By 2018, the number stood at 24,507.
What deters the NRIs:
It is the lack of awareness that has led to such low registration among the NRIs. Moreover many find it tedious and expensive to travel to their home state and vote. This has been a major deterrent.
This issue could be solved if the bill to allow proxy voting by NRIs is passed. The Lok Sabha had passed a bill to allow proxy voting by NRIs recently. However for the NRIs to get proxy rights, it may take some more time as the Rajya Sabha is yet to pass the bill. This will also need an assent from the President of India for it to become an act.