NRIs Can Vote in Next General Elections, Says PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) will be able to exercise their franchise by the time India holds next general elections.

“I recognise the legitimate desire of Indians living abroad to exercise their franchise and to have a say in who governs India,” the Prime Minister told the annual conclave for the Indian diaspora.

“We are working on this issue and I sincerely hope that they will get a chance to vote by the time of the next regular general elections,” he said at the eighth edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

“In fact, I would go a step further and ask why more overseas Indians should not return home to join politics and public life as they are increasingly doing in business and academia.”

Nearly 1,500 delegates from more than 50 countries are taking part in the conclave which India conducts to connect with its 25 million diaspora in 130 countries.

Singh said the people all over the world were legitimately proud of India’s vibrant democracy but the government had not been able to deliver in full measure on the enormous promise and potential of the country.

“I recognise the frustration well wishers feel when they lament why things don’t work faster or why well formulated plans and policies don’t get implemented as well as they should be.”

The prime minister said that India was paying a price to carry along all sections of its people in national development and that that was a price worth paying.

“It is probably true we are a slow moving elephant but it is equally true that with each step forward we leave behind a deep imprint.”

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