The world is watching India closely. With Lok Sabha Election 2019 the nation hopes for the 'better' India to be the best. The feeling is mutual around the globe. Every Indian, miles away from home, crowds around the television to watch their family and friends cast their votes.
Can a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) vote this general election? The Election Commission recently shutdown all rumours that stated that an NRI holding an Indian passport can vote online. India does not support e-voting. The government has strict regulations on how Indians abroad can exercise his/her franchise. They need to be physically present at the polling booth, but there are two convenient options – postal ballots and proxy voting – for government personnel on duty elsewhere in the country or abroad.
Postal voting allows voters to vote via post. This is accessible only to armed forces personnel, police personnel and those on election duty. Proxy voting is meant for government officials, armed personnel and police personnel posted outside India. This allows another individual living in his/her local area in the country to cast a vote on their behalf.
Although spread across the globe, they are a salient feature of India's large population.
Watching as the political drama unfold in India, an NRIs share a mutual feeling with those at home- "it's a matter of emotions." The weather, family, friends and the undeniable love for food are the many reasons why most NRIs choose to stick to home.
T G Joseph, currently residing in Muscat, Oman, for over 20 years, acknowledges the economic growth across the nation. "The people's strength and rational thinking develop with a strong foundation of health and educational sectors of the country." Embracing the culture and diversity of the country, he also believes that working towards better infrastructure and facilities for tourists would result in the growth of tourism in India.
Accepting that the conditions are a bit shaky, their political opinions revolve around ideas that would bring about growth and socio-economic stability in the country. It is pretty tricky to tackle the problems of one of the world's largest democratic nations over just a few years. Yet they hope that something small could someone day make a huge difference.
Indu Francis, residing in the United Kingdom for over a decade, is impressed by the rapid transformations in India. But she is still concerned about the idea of 'Digital India.' She hopes that the new government will be able to convince and reach out into the deep pockets of the country to facilitate matters easily. With her own personal experience with India's banknote demonetisation in 2016, she wants the system to be more concerned about the aged population in the country, especially those who have NRI children.
It's more than just holding the black and gold passport. The 15.6 million population of NRIs have contributed to India's progress in many ways. Looking at India from the outside gives an incomplete understanding of its ways. So far, understanding the interaction of India with the rest of the world, their solutions to homeland crisis comes in different ways. With the unpredictable results soon to comeout, they are still connected to, and want to be a part of the changes of the country.