The Battle for the NRI Vote Has Begun by politicians in India
The Myth of the NRI Vote
- Los Angeles, Dec. 20, 2010
Recently, Indian Govt.’s decision to allow millions of NRIs to exercise their voting rights in India’s election process- it is a step in the right direction and it will help it strengthen up to a level that it becomes the world’s largest and the best economy. Most of the NRIs are very happy that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Law Minister Veerappa Moily have fulfilled their promises.
NRIs are mostly peer class with high level of education and understanding. They have always played a pivotal role in shaping modern India. Think about NRI scholars who have been bringing accolade to their home country.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas aims at bringing NRIs from across the world together and also had set up "The Freedom Movement Memorial Committee" which reminds us about great Leaders and freedom fighters who returned to the country to participate in the freedom struggle. Just a few names are Bhag Singh, Ram Rakha, Bholanath Chatterjee, Pundit Kanshi Ram, Gandhi, Nehru and Ambedkar. The Gaddar revolutionaries as an outstanding example.
''On that day, the 145 martyrs of the 'Gadar' movement that started in Canada should be remembered.
We do not see any reason why NRI should not be involve in politics, when NRI taking part in politics improves the lot of people residing in India. NRIs have a dream to build a better and prosperous India for brighter tomorrow for all Indians.
In 1970, the oil boom-induced Gulf migration and later Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) began in Canada and USA. The migrant stream to the United States in particular has been the most highly educated. We must think that financial remittance has emerged as an important part of India’s balance of payments. In 1970, remittances were virtually negligible. The World Bank published data on the remittances made to countries by individuals living outside the country:
- Rose to $2.8 billion in 1980; Dropped to $2.4 billion in 1990; Climbed to $11.1 billion in 1999 and over $50 billion in 2009.
- India is the biggest recipient of remittances in the world. India is followed by China with remittances totaling $40.6 billion and Mexico with just over$26.0 billion.
- According to government data on Hawala transactions, almost Rs 90 crore was laundered during the last year (upto October 2010) while the corresponding figures for 2008-09 was Rs 932 crore, for 2007-08 Rs 112 crore and during 2006-07 it was Rs 110 crore.
After 1970, NRIs have woven a web of worldwide networks and made India’s reputation. They are also brought commercial and business ideas, and technologies into India. They also help rapid growth of India’s diamond cutting and polishing industry as well as also had important trade enhancing and investment effects.
In Jan, 2010, 1,500 NRIs from 40 countries attended Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations in New Delhi and Manmohan Singh openly invited them to "actively" participate in the country's economic development and join politics while hoping that they would get voting rights by the time of next general elections in 2014.
However, there is a shortcoming of the bill that the NRIs be allowed to exercise their vote only if they are physically present in their respective constituencies at the time of elections. This does not offer a practical solution to the manner of effecting the voting rights of NRIs. There is practical solution of Absentee Voting is – “PROXY” voting, where you can nominate someone back in India to vote on your behalf. This method of voting is already in effect for the Indian Army operating outside India
Some politicians are juggling with two words "OBC quota". What does it actually mean and how will it influence everybody?. We still feel OBC quota has too many loop holes to make it reality. Till now they have been successful in isolating a certain class on the name of reservation. Now they know with almost 50% population branded as reserved, the politicians have always asked for votes from their own particular castes first. And other people in India are either Sharmas, Agarwal, Gujjars, Chaudharys, Jats etc, SC/STs have always been SC/STs or dalits.
Due to NRI’s voting rights in India’s election process, Punjab Politicians started compaign in North America to grab NRI votes. Now, it shows exactly what politicians and their henchmen think of NRI votes.
Basically, what NRIs are saying is that Punjab, Gujrat and Kerala politicians must understand that the power of NRI votes. There is an old story of an ax that had been in the same family for many generations. No more game can be played with NRIs or Indian public because electronic media and communication have had an enormous impact on our basic institutions. NRIs only vote on the politician who will enact the laws – not the laws themselves.
It is well understood that young individual educated politicians are very keen to get investment of NRIs in India. We can name few of them, such as