NRIs in United States welcome cabinet decision to extend proxy voting

Washington: The large non-resident Indian community in the US has welcomed the recent decision of the Union Cabinet to extend proxy voting to overseas Indians.
“We welcome this move,” Thomas Abraham, chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) said.
Still an Indian citizen, despite having obtained a green card for more than four decades now, Abraham said the decision of the Indian government in this regard is a dream come true for people like him and many others.
The Election Commission of India (EC) estimates that there are about 16 million Indian citizens living outside of which about 70 per cent are eligible to vote. While the significant portion of them are in the Middle East, in the US the estimate ranges from 800,000 to 1.5 million. An overwhelming majority of them are young, either university students or those on H-1B visas.
Senior Election Commissioner of India recently interacted with eminent Indian American community leaders in New York and Washington. Officials present in the meeting said the feedback was very positive, but many of them did have questions on the process.
The delegation was led by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha and Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena.
Community leaders like Stephen favored in person voting at Indian diplomatic missions abroad, so as to prevent misuse of proxy voting. However, election commission officials noted that such a move could have logistical problem. But they assured Indian Americans that they would discuss their feedback and concerns with their senior leadership.
NRI voting had been one of the electoral promises of the BJP, which in the 2014 general election experienced outpouring of support from the overseas Indian community, both in finding and manpower.
During the previous UPA regime, NRIs were allowed to vote, but they were required to be physically present to exercise their right to vote.

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