External Affairs Ministry Favours Election Commission's Proposal To Extend Postal Ballot Voting Facility To NRIsFile image of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi | Photo: ANI

In a significant development, the Ministry for External Affairs has written to the Election Commission stating that it is in favour of the poll panel's proposal to allow non-resident Indians (NRIs) to vote remotely through electronically-transmitted postal ballot system (ETPBS), reports Times of India.

The development comes after the EC had on 27 November last year proposed to make amendments to the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 "at the earliest" so as to enable the Indian diaspora to vote through postal ballots.

The EC, in its letter to the Law Secretary on 27 November, had also stated that it is "technically and administratively" ready to extend the facility in the coming elections to the legislative assemblies of West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala.

The proposal, if materialised, will enable the NRIs to cast votes from their country of residence. This gains importance as currently NRIs have no other option but to cast their votes in person at their respective constituencies in India, which turns out to be a costly affair for them.

At present, the ETPBS facility is available to service voters who serve in the armed forces and the para-military forces. The facility also enables the casting of votes by government employees who are serving abroad.

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