NRIs may get voting rights

New Delhi, Sept 28 | Updated: Sep 29 2006, 05:30am hrs
The government is likely to introduce an amendment to the Representation of Peoples Act in the next session of Parliament to allow non-resident Indians (NRIs) voting rights.

While announcing the fifth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) on Thursday, minister for overseas Indian affairs Vayalar Ravi said the Parliamentary Standing Committee submitted its report saying these amendments should be introduced. Education for persons of Indian origin and investment by them here will be among the dominant themes for PBD in the backdrop of demands by the Indian diaspora for a single-window clearance system. The fifth PBD is expected to take place in New Delhi from January 7-9, 2007.

Considered as the flagship event of government, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be organised at a budget of Rs 9 crore of which, Rs 6 crore will be raised through sponsorships. It aims to connect more than 25 million overseas Indians and to bring their expertise and knowledge to India to assist in the countrys development process, the minister said.

Tarun Das, chief mentor of CII said because of CIIs strong international network of partnerships though its bilateral councils, it has helped it to reach out to Indian diaspora and connect it with India on issues of social development - education, health, water, skills development. The event will feature for the first time, a conference of Parliamentarians of people of Indian origin, said Ravi. Between 1,500 and 2,000 delegates are expected to attend PBD. Another major addition to the PBD programme this time is a daily report-back session to capture the main outcomes and issues raised during the day.