Saturday, July 30, 2005

NRI Voting Rights

Via Rediff, NRIs may get voting rights. [NRI here means those who hold the Indian passport.]

This is great news, one we've long championed and directly lobbied for. Kudos to the Government.


airrahul said...

I do have some reservations about this development. Particularly, this line has me worried:

[quote]The Bill seeks to give dual citizenship to People of Indian Origin and NRIs from 16 countries.[/quote]

I am a "person of Indian Origin" through my grandfather, who came to the US after WW2. So, technically, I or someone like me (a 2nd or later generation PIO, not someone who left India simply to work abroad and still has deep ties to India, either emotional or citizenship-wise) could become a dual-citizen and vote in India, run for office in India, basically gain influence politically in India, all the while living in America and not necessarily having India's interests in mind.

Thus, I see this dual-citizen policy as wrong because it encourages divided loyalties and ignores the fact that people like me and many other PIOS or NRIs are really (insert nationality here), not Indians. Thus, you'd have a votebank that was tied to interests that may conflict with India's. Imagine the fun when one political party starts making foreign policy moves simply to pander to large NRI communities in the US, UK, Gulf, or other area with a large Indian population that has obtained dual citizenship.

IMO, give us the ability to have an emotional link to the "old country" through better infrastructure and more welcoming tourist facilities so that we can actually see the old country, not some meaningless or potentially dangerous "dual citizenship" nonsense. Furthermore, the cynic in me strongly suspects this move is merely because the political class wants to get its hands on NRI and PIO money by charging a nice, large fee for obtaining this dual citizenship status.

Also, I just wanted to say, I've been reading your blog for a while and wanted to comment on posts but couldn't because I hadn't had a blogger ID. Keep up the good work, it's always great to hear folks like you championing both truly secular and economically liberal policies, a rare combination that India certainly needs to see more of IMO.

Primary Red said...

Thank you very much for your very generous comments.

BTW, we completely agree with you on the dual citizenship issue. The whole idea is deeply flawed, as you point out so well.

Having said this, Indians who reside overseas and have retained their citizenship by choice (like this blogger) should indeed have the ability to vote. Hopefully, we'll get this soon.

Best regards.

Gameboys said...

Right on, airrahul! The proposed system is also flawed because it only applies to PIOs of certain countries. Why is that? I guess some 'Indians' are more equal than other 'Indians'. This is a bad idea and needs to be corrected, but I wonder if the vested interests involved are just too well connected (as opposed to ordinary citizens like yourself).

- Nanda Kishore

Jacques Monsour said...

Happy holidays!


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