London, Jul 12: Indian government is planning to provide voting rights to Non-Resident Indians and steps are being taken to make it a reality, Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily has said.
"The Law ministry has initiated a scheme to provide voting rights to NRIs and it will become a reality soon," Moily told members of the Indian Overseas Congress (UK) London last evening.
Replying to a representation made by D L Kalhan, President of the Indian Overseas Congress, at the Indian Gymkhana here that the NRI’s demand for right to vote in India was pending for long, the Law Minister said "necessary legislation for that purpose would be enacted soon."
Answering queries at the reception hosted in his honour, Moily said NRIs would have to visit India at the time of the elections.
Efforts would also be made to provide voting facilities at the concerned Indian Missions abroad. There are an estimated over 22 million NRIs spread all over the world.
He said for the purpose of registration as voters in India, their last address in India would be taken into consideration.
The right to vote would, however, not be available to NRIs who have acquired citizenship of other countries, he said.
Moily also assured the UK-based NRIs that he would take up the issue of providing visa-free travel facilities to them in the European Union.
Kalhan also urged the Indian government to withdraw "the black list" issued against some of the NRIs after the assassination of the late Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi.
The IOC chief also wanted a fresh probe to find perpetrators of the Kanishka aircrash - Air India flight AI-183, in 1985.