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.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.