Remote voting – Extending Postal Ballots to the NRIs | 5th November 2022 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about extending postal ballot rights to  Non-Resident Indians (NRIs)  based on the duration of their residence.

Relevance:

  • GS2: Salient Features of the Representation of People’s Act; Indian Diaspora;
  • Prelims

What's the crux of the article?

  • India has the largest diaspora population, with nearly 1.35 crore NRIs spread across the globe.
  • Some of them stay for a long period, while some for short periods.
  • Currently, ECI allows enrolled overseas citizens to vote in person at the polling station in the constituency.
  • This disincentives them to exercise their Right to Vote.
    • For example, in 2019 Lok Sabha Elections => 25,606 voted out of total 99,844.
  • Solution lies in extending them postal ballot rights to exercise their right.

NRI:

  • An Indian Citizen who lives in a foreign country for more than one hundred and eighty-three days in a financial year for employment or business will be considered an NRI.

Voters in India can vote via three methods:

  • In-person voting
  • Postal ballot
  • Proxy voting

What is an Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS)?

  • It is a secured system for Service Voters to cast their vote on an electronically received postal ballot, from anywhere outside their constituency.
  • It has two layers of security.
  • Only service voters are eligible for this system:
    • Armed Forces personnel
    • Paramilitary force personnel
    • Government employees on diplomatic missions outside India

Why are NRIs demanding postal ballot facility?

  • High travelling costs
  • Employment issues – no leaves, salary deductions, etc
  • Educational issues – ongoing lectures, exams, et

Challenges in extending postal ballots:

  • Massive population of NRIs
  • Monetary constraints
  • Logistical challenges
  • Lack of sufficient number of trained personnels
    Need political consensus

Way Forward:

  • Every citizen of India, including NRIs, should be able to exercise their right to vote in light of the significant number of the Indian Diaspora and the fact that India is the largest democracy in the world.



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