Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Voting rights for internal migrants in India?

Umi Daniel

On 13th of January, 2014 The Supreme Court of India has granted voting rights to the NRI (Non Resident Indians) living in other countries through internet. The Union government was also agreed to the Election Commission of India’s recommendation to allow the NRI to vote through e-ballot system.

In similar fashion, the voting rights for millions of internal migrants, particularly the inter and interstate seasonal or circular disadvantage migrant workers and their families yet to get similar privilege to cast their valuable votes. The estimated number of the seasonal migrants workers are anywhere between 80-100 million and the Indian Census 2001 records the total migrant in India as 310 million. Going by the number, it is a irony that, large number of its citizen who migrate for survival or better livelihood are excluded from exercising their citizenship right to vote while living away from their villages. 

Nevertheless, in India we have the provision for postal ballot system which largely being benefited by the employees engaged in election or serving in police and armed forces.

The NRIs living in other countries are now going to be included in the democratic process is is a welcome move. However large number of internal migrants who have been  excluded from accessing the opportunity is quite unfortunate.  It is high time that the Government of India should also pave the way for making voting accessible to migrant from all internal locations in India. 

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