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NRI voting rights Bill in next Parliament session

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The government will introduce a Bill granting voting rights to Non Resident Indians (NRIs) during the next session of Parliament, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said today.
Speaking at a press conference to announce Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which is slated to be held on January 7, 8 and 9, the minister ruled out the possibility of providing a similar facility to People of Indian Origins (PIOs).
Ravi said a Bill to amend the People's Representation Act to grant voting rights to the NRIs was earlier introduced but was referred to the Standing Committee. The Committee had suggested a few changes which would be incorporated in the Bill, the minister said.
"Amendments to the Act will be made to give Indian passport holders the right to vote. However, under the Indian constitution, only Indian citizens are allowed to vote. PIOs holding the passport of any other country cannot be granted voting rights and there is no proposal to amend it either. Other country passport holders can get the Overseas Indian Card that gives them several benefits, but not the right to vote," Ravi said.
On misuse of marriage by NRIs, Ravi said that India was likely to join The Hague Convention on Private International Law. This would protect the interests of Indian girls who were married to expatriates.
Over 1,200 delegates from 47 countries are expected to attend the three-day annual event. The convention will focus on issues including education, healthcare, youth development, women empowerment, technology, media and private international law. Special focus will be directed on attracting $ 1.5 trillion capital investment to India.
The conference, co-sponsored by the Delhi government and CII, will culminate with presentation of awards by President A P J Abdul Kalam.

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First Published: Sat, January 06 2007. 00:00 IST