Big Picture-‘E-Voting for NRIs’

  • IASbaba
  • May 17, 2015
  • 0
Rajya Sabha-Big Picture
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E-Voting for NRIs and Migrant Labour- Pros & Cons


In India, adult franchise has been the basis ever since we adopted the constitution in1950. But, two Main sections of people are being left out for various reasons

  • The strong NRI community(~1 Cr)
  • Domestic migrant labourers.

The NRIs were conferred the voting rights in 2011 with a condition however that they should exercise it in the place they reside in India normally. One more crucial issue is about Indian Migrant workers who constitute over 37%. The Election Commission has ruled out e voting through internet. There are many risks involved in giving voting rights to Non-Resident Indians through proxy voting or e-postal ballots.

  • Wider consultation is needed for the proposal of e-ballot for NRIs as it may not be very secure and advised the government not to rush into amending the Representation of People’s Act.
  • A committee, comprising officials from the Election Commission, the Union Law Ministry and the Union Ministry of External Affairs, was constituted to look into this matter. The recommendations made by the empowered committee included allowing e- ballot for NRIs.
  • The government’s decision to allow NRIs to vote could set the stage for expatriates to emerge as a decisive force in the country’s electoral politics.
  • The move to allow NRIs to use e-ballot facility will require changes in the law.
  • Under the proposal, NRIs will be sent ballot papers electronically and they will have to return it to poll authorities physically.
  • The committee was of the view that the e-postal ballot, where blank postal ballot is transferred electronically to NRIs and returned by post, can be employed after validation of the process and pilot implementation in one or two constituencies and then be scaled up for parliamentary elections if found feasible, practicable and meeting the objectives of free and fair elections.
  • This decision also, historically, removes an unreasonable restriction posed by Section 20(A) of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act of 2010, requiring overseas electors to be physically present in their constituencies to cast their votes.


Issue of Domestic Migrants:


  • The Indian migrant workers are possibly the most disadvantaged group in the country, and largely belong to the unorganized labour force.
  • India does not allow postal ballots for anyone other than government workers posted outside their constituency on election duty.
  • Under the current law, migrant labour will have to travel back to their homes without paid leave, just to vote.
  • In e voting, potential disadvantages exist as well including the potential for flaws or weakness in any electronic component.
  • It has been demonstrated that as voting systems become more complex and include software’s, different methods of election fraud become possible.
  • They are also arguments that humans are not equipped for verifying operations occurring within an electronic machine and that because people cannot verify these operations, the operations cannot be trusted.


Mains Questions:

  1. Poor migrant labourers can’t vote but rich NRI’s can vote in election. Critically Comment.
  2. Discuss the pros and cons of E-voting for NRIs and Migrant Labour. Also Discuss about the Issue of Domestic migrants and their role in the Indian Electoral system.

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