NRI Top Stories ( Page 1 of 24 )

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Candidates Offering Free Air Ticket to NRIs for Casting Vote Will Face Disqualification: Election Commission March 18, 2019 10:22

Ahead of Lok Sabha elections in India, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is issuing stringent mandates to steer clear of anything below the belt. Similarly, any candidate canvassing for votes overseas found luring Non-Resident Indian (NRI) voters with a free air ticket to cast vote may lose his/her candidature or end up in jail, election commission warned.In exhaustive guidelines laid out by the EC on the conduct of candidates and voters in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections, the top poll conducting authority has said the candidate was free to go overseas for canvassing."All expenditure incurred by those candidates, their party agents or party leaders on their travel, boarding, lodging etc. who travel to overseas countries for the purpose of canvassing in their favour to seek votes of overseas electors residing there, would be deemed to be the expenditure incurred or authorized by the candidates in connection with their election and will have to be included in their account of election expenses," the EC said."Moreover, any inducement to overseas electors by way of air tickets or any other allurements to them, in cash or kind, to come to India for the purpose of voting at the election would amount to the electoral offence of ‘bribery’ within the meaning of section 171B of the IPC as also the corrupt practice of ‘Bribery’ within the meaning of section 123(1) of the Representation of the People Act.” There are 71,735 overseas electors enrolled in the current electoral rolls in India. The EC has made it clear that there is no provision of online voting or proxy voting yet for NRIs. All the NRI voters will have to travel in person to India carrying Indian passport as identity proof to cast their vote, go to the booth where the person’s details are registered and vote.By Sowmya Sangam

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Lok Sabha Elections: Social Media Platforms Much in Demand Among Indians Abroad to Propel Support March 18, 2019 05:26

As Indian general election is scheduled to take place next month, not only country’s residents, but also Indians living out of the country are making an effort to make their favored party triumph in the elections. Indians living in the United States are using social media platforms to reach out back home. The Overseas Friends of Bharatiya Janata Party USA (OFBJP USA), a volunteer group, has been organizing ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ meets across the United States. Krishna Reddy, president of the OFBJP USA said the places where meets have been planned include Tampa, Washington, D.C., Sacramento, Boston, New Jersey, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York. The preliminary meets began Friday and were to continue over the next few days. According to Reddy, volunteers are reaching out to their friends and relatives back home asking for support for the BJP and using their WhatsApp groups to share content in favor of the political party. “We understand the power of technology. Each volunteer can reach out to at least 200 people in their network and spread the message in favor of the Modi government,” said Reddy. On Friday, the OFBJP held a meet at Tampa, Florida, for which around 350 people turned up to show their support. A similar meet was held on Saturday night in Washington, D.C. with claims of about 300 people in attendance. Adapa Prasad, vice-president of the group, who was at the helm at the Washington meeting, spoke about the heavy participation of the Telugu community. He said, “While we have over 600 volunteers in the Washington, D.C. area, about 250-300 would be Telugus.” Not just the OFBJP, but the wider campaign ‘Nris4Modi2019’ of which the group is also a part, is seeing volunteers take up several unique initiatives.                           (Image source from: Facebook/BJPOFUSA) In Charlotte, North Carolina, Aravind Modini the social media in-charge for ‘Nris4Modi2019’ said volunteers were heading to local Indian grocery stores to offer a cup of tea and speak to the people there about why the BJP deserves their as well as their family’s vote. In fact, Telangana Rashtra Samithi is also striving. Arvind Thakkalapalli, secretary TRS USA, says WhatsApp groups have been formed for each parliamentary constituency with Non-Resident Indian (NRIs) supporters specific to that region “We have had conference calls with a few MP candidates during the process of forming campaign groups. These groups will comprise a local Telangana team as well as TRS activists who will reach out to voters with the help of local cadre,” said Thakkalapalli. Besides this, he said digital pamphlets are being circulated at the village level and content is being spread via social media. “Our NRI team will be visiting India for campaigning, the way we did for the Assembly election,” he said. The Indian general election is scheduled to be held in 7 phases from 11 April 2019 to 19 May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha. The counting of votes will be conducted on 23 May 2019 and on the same day the results will be declared. By Sowmya Sangam

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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: 92% of India’s Overseas Registered Voters Are Keralites March 14, 2019 10:27

Amid confusion over NRI voting in India’s Lok Sabha elections that are scheduled to take place next month, 92 percent of Kerala descents staying overseas registered themselves as NRI voters, making it literal that Malayali’s are obsessed with politics and ones who are active in voting ardently. There’s a saying that if you take put Malayali’s out of the country, they will still turn up to vote. The state has witnessed an increase in the number of overseas elector’s i.e from 12,653 in 2014 to 66,584 as of January 30, 2019. The increase is recorded to be fivefold regardless of the fact the number is small inn fraction compared to the country’s total NRI population of 1.3 crores. The majority of 71,735 overseas electors registered in the country hail from Kerala and that evidence shows enthusiasm among non-resident Keralites to take part in the polling.Statistic data further reveals that of the total 66,584 overseas electors from the state, 3729 are women and eight third gender persons have registered.The expat organization has conducted mass online voter enrolment drives, especially after Lok Sabha passed a bill in August 2018 to allow NRIs to appoint proxy voters who can vote for them.Till now, NRIs can vote in their hometown after getting registered as an overseas voter. As of now, there is no provision for online voting despite the fact that many are keen to do so.As of now, in order to cast their votes, overseas Indians have to register as voters, come to India, go to their constituency with the original passport issued to them when they had gone abroad.An expert committee of the Election Commission of India had said no to e-voting for NRIs but approved proxy voting. Recently, a bill to extend proxy voting to NRIs was passed in the Lok Sabha, but it is pending in the Rajya Sabha. It is set to lapse on the dissolution of the present Lok Sabha on June 3.By Sowmya Sangam

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No Online Voting, NRIs Should Be Present Physically with Passport and Cast Vote: Election Commission March 13, 2019 06:07

As General Elections 2019 in India is imminent, the Chief Electoral Officer of Goa has asked the police to investigate misinformation regarding online voting of Non-Resident Indians being forwarded on social media platforms. Elections for Goa's two Lok Sabha seats, with 11.31 lakh voters, and bypolls for three Assembly seats will be held on April 23. In a press statement issued Tuesday, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer has made it clear that the Election Commission of India (ECI) had not made any such online voting provision for NRIs. "It is observed that some people are spreading fake news through social media using the logo of Election Commission of India, creating confusion among the general public," the CEO statement said. "Taking cognizance of such fake news and complaint received about the same, the office of Chief Electoral Officer has referred the matter to the police department to investigate," the statement informed. As of now, in order to cast their votes, overseas Indians have to register as voters, come to India, go to their constituency with the original passport issued to them when they had gone abroad. An expert committee of the ECI had said no to e-voting for NRIs but approved proxy voting. Recently, a bill to extend proxy voting to NRIs was passed in the Lok Sabha, but it is pending in the Rajya Sabha. It is set to lapse on the dissolution of the present Lok Sabha on June 3. Earlier on February 22 this year, the ECI had filed a complaint with Delhi police, asking it to track down those spreading "fake news" that NRIs can cast their vote online in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. By Sowmya Sangam

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TRS Keen to Open 100 NRI Units Abroad, Says MP Kavitha March 06, 2019 09:08

Telangana’s ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi Non-Resident Indian (NRI) wing is keen on establishing its units in at the minimum 100 countries across the world before the party’s plenary meeting likely to be held on April 27 in a mark of TRS foundation day.Currently, TRS party has its subdivisions in about 40 countries and TRS NRI wing is in a bid to garner support from Telangana NRIs in several other countries.On the occasion, Kavitha asked TRS NRI wing to take initiative and increase the presence of TRS in different countries for helping Telangana NRIs create a platform and beef up its presence for the welfare of all Telangana people in respective countries. Kavitha further pointed out that the entire nation had its eyes on Telangana State which was being developed as a role model for others. She appreciated TRS NRI wing members for their involvement and gathering support for TRS across the world, during the Assembly elections. She asked them to join the party’s mission in the upcoming Parliamentary elections and ensure its victory in 16 Lok Sabha divisions.-Sowmya Sangam

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Indian National Congress to Include Recommendations from NRIs in Its Manifesto February 27, 2019 07:45

The Indian National Congress (INC) for the first time ever will take in the recommendations from the non-resident Indian community in the party’s 2019 election manifesto - a document that reflects “the voice and aspirations of the people”. The meeting was held in Dubai at the Steigenberger Hotel on February 22nd and 23rd. Senior members from the Congress party led by Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress (IOC), Rajeev Gowda, member of Rajya Sabha and convenor of the manifesto committee, Himanshu Vyas, Secretary to the All India Congress Committee - heard recommendations from delegates around the globe. Sam Pitroda assured that all recommendations will be heard by the manifesto committee. However, not all will be included in the document. The recommendation given was not data-driven, he said. “Our purpose is to study the NRI vision for India. The suggestions were not backed by surveys that were not the purpose. Party decided to take recommendations from NRIs for 3 reasons. We wanted to understand what Congress can do for the NRIs and what NRIs can do for India, and learn about the various areas of improvements in Indian governance.” George Abraham requested the party to include a provision that will strengthen the integrity and independence of the Institutions that are under attack by the ruling party in India today. “They are weaponizing the agencies such as BI, RBI and Enforcement Directorate etc. and targeting oppositions, minorities and their Institutions”. He further requested that the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card is made a true identity card for the Overseas Indian Citizens conducting their business or related activities when they visit India. Rajeev Gowda, Convenor of the Manifesto committee said the move is historic one. “It is not possible to include all of them, we will choose the most essential ideas”. Himanshu Vyas, Secretary of the AICC said all election-manifesto related document will be finalized in the next two weeks. -Sowmya Sangam

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‘Allow NRIs to Carry More Gold to India’: Senior Official of DGJG February 11, 2019 07:43

A senior official of Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group (DGJG) on Saturday urged India to allow Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to carry more gold in personal baggage capacity when traveling back which is a win-win situation for the country and its nationals. Siroya Chandra Prakash, vice-chairman of DGJG, said it would be a practical step to permit NRIs to carry more gold since it will bring down margins for the parallel trade and the yellow metal will also turn more inexpensive for the residents of India. New Delhi, as part of personal baggage, reduced carrying 10kg to 1kg for people flying to India, which is the world's largest consumer of gold. In 2018, India, the second largest bar and coin market in the world, saw annual demand falling four percent to 106.2 tonnes. The weakness of the Indian rupee pushed the gold price to Rs 31,900 per 10 grams during October, its highest level since June 2012. While gold jewelry demand also fell one percent to 598 tonnes. "For personal baggage, an NRI who lived outside India for more than 180 days continuously, could import 10 kilos of gold on the payment of duty. That has been brought down to 1 kilo," said Prakash, who is also the owner of Siroya Jewelers in Dubai. "It is very practical step for India. By increasing the allowance, the margins will go down for the parallel trade and the gold will become more affordable; today everything is streamlined and transparent. Plus, more and more people want to follow the rule of law. So, I think it is high time that the Government of India should reconsider and start charging 4-6 percent duty rather than 10 percent on carrying gold to India," Prakash said on the sidelines of a conference here on Saturday. The conference was hosted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) - Dubai Chapter, to discuss the Indian budget. Vipul, India's Consul General in Dubai; B.R. Shetty, chairman, UAE Exchange; Mahmood Bangara, chairman, ICAI's Dubai Chapter; and Raju Menon, chairman, Kreston Menon; among others, also addressed the conference. Mahmood Bangara said considering the huge NRI remittance of about $80 billion annually, any differential taxes on NRI's may ideally be withdrawn. "Furthermore, incentives for NRI investments would facilitate higher foreign exchange inflow which will be more beneficial than the foreign direct investment," he suggested. Bangara noted that the Indian story is turning out to be an integral part of the world's story. "Indian service sector is growing rapidly with a share of about 54 percent, a positive sign of engagement of huge young population and, as many more to be employed," he added. India's consul general Vipul said India economy is good to invest in and it should remain so in the foreseeable future for NRIs and government of UAE and private businesses. "This is one country where one get best of returns." He added that the Indian economy continued its high growth path of more than 7 percent and remains the fastest growing economy among large countries globally. "We are on our way to become $5 trillion economy in the next 5 years or so." -Sowmya Sangam

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Guide to Vote in 2019 Indian General Elections If You Are Serviceman/NRI January 31, 2019 05:56

Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in India this year, the government is making an effort to encourage voters to exercise their franchise, not only for its citizens but also for servicemen and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). As a huge chunk of votes gets wasted every election as people away from constituency could not exercise their franchise, the government is easing out the electoral registration process. The option of service vote was already available for servicemen posted abroad. But now, overseas voters can also shortly cast their votes through proxy voting if a bill which is currently still pending in Rajya Sabha is cleared this budget session. Here is a look at the process of servicemen and NRI voting in India: How to Enroll as an Overseas or NRI Voter After an NRI or person of Indian origin traces the polling station and gets the contact information of Election officers in the region, they can fill up Form 6A online on http://www.nsvp.in or from the Election Commission of India website and then upload the needed documents showing proof which can either be submitted through post or in person. Documents Required One recent passport size photograph, self-attested photocopies of the applicable pages of the passport and valid visa endorsement. As soon as the documents are submitted, for the verification process, a Booth Level Officer visits the home address mentioned in the passport and just in case of declaration for proof, it is sent to the concerned Indian Mission. The decision is and so communicated by post and through SMS, apart from which electoral rolls are also available on the ECI website under the “Overseas Electors” section. How to Vote? An NRI voter will not be issued an EPIC card and will be allowed to vote in person at the polling station on the production of original passport. The bill for proxy voting which allows NRI voters to exercise their right through e-postal ballots is yet awaiting in Rajya Sabha. Who Can Enroll as Service Voter? A person who is in the Armed Forces of India, or belongs to the Assam Rifles, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBPF); General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) in Border Road Organization; Central Industrial Security Force or is employed under the Indian government in a post outside the country or is a member of the Armed Police Force of a state and serving outside the state can enroll as a service voter. How to Enroll? Once the voter finds out the name of the constituency that he/she belongs to, they can fill the enrollment form, Declaration form and then submit it to the Record or Nodal officer. This will guarantee that the service voter’s spouse will be enrolled on their behalf as mentioned in the declaration. As an alternative, the serviceman can also choose to enroll as a general elector at the place of posting, if it is a peace posting. How to Vote? The Returning officer of the constituency sends the service voter the postal ballot in which the service voter can register their vote and seal the cover. The voter has to sign the declaration in Form 13A after which the Commanding officer of the unit will certify the voter’s signature which is required to be given to the Returning Officer by messenger or post. -Sowmya Sangam

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NRIs Can Now Cast Their Vote in 2019 Indian General Elections January 12, 2019 07:54

In a piece of good news for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), you can now be able to vote in the 2019 Indian general elections. Through the official website of the Election Commission of India, an NRI can register as a voter . In the website, if you click on the button titled 'Enroll as NRI voter', it takes you to a form that needs to be filled and submitted to register as a voter in the 2019 general elections. About 31 million NRIs around the world will be benefited, who are unable to cast their vote since they are no longer a resident of India. In the form, there is a list of guidelines that need to be adhered to. The form clearly states that Indians who have acquired citizenships of other countries will not be eligible. This provision has come about after a bill to amend the electoral law to allow NRIs to vote came up before the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament earlier this year. Related Content: Bill Granting Voting Rights to NRIs Blocked in Rajya Sabha Overseas Indians are currently free to cast their votes if they are physically present in the constituencies where they are registered. An official announcement on this has not been made by the authorities yet. The tenure of Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance will end on May 26, 2019, and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be held sometime around April and May. -Sowmya Sangam

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Over 5,000 Register for Indian Diaspora Conclave January 12, 2019 07:14

More than 5,000 people have been registered to take part in this year's Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) or Indian diaspora conclave to be held in Varanasi from January 21 to 23, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh said on Friday. Briefing the media, Singh said while in the last PBD held in Bengaluru in 2016 only 500 people had registered till the time of a media briefing like the one on Friday, this time over 5,000 people have already registered for the event. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will kick off the conclave with Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth as the chief guest. Related Content: PM Modi Invites Indians Living Abroad to Attend Kumbh Mela, R-Day Indian origin Members of Parliament Kanwaljit Bakshi of New Zealand and Himanshu Gulati of Norway a will be the guests of honor. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman will be conferred on 30 individuals for their achievements and accomplishments in different fields, according to Singh. After the end of the event on January 23, the participants will be taken to Prayagraj on January 24 where they will take part in the Kumbh Mela. From there, they will be brought in special trains to New Delhi where they will witness the Republic Day on January 26, he added. -Sowmya Sangam

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MEA Address 4,189 Complaints of Abandoned Wives in Last Three Years January 04, 2019 07:56

In the past three years, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has addressed 4,189 complaints of distressed Indian women abandoned by their non-resident Indian husbands, the Rajya Sabha was told Thursday. In 2016, a total of 1,510 such complaints were addressed, while in 2017 as many as 1,498 complaints were addressed and earlier this year, till November 30, 1,181 complaints were addressed, Minister of State for the External Affairs Ministry V K Singh said in reply to a question. Singh said the government has adopted a "multi-pronged approach to give respite to the wives deserted by their NRI husbands". "The Ministry of External Affairs provides counseling, guidance, and information about legal procedures, mechanisms for serving a judicial summons on the overseas Indian husband; filing a judicial case in India, issuing Look out circulars; impounding and revocation of Indian passport of the husband to such aggrieved women," he said. The Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) Guidelines were revised in September 2017 with an intent to provide financial and legal assistance to distressed women married to NRI spouses by all Indian Missions and Posts abroad, he added. The amount of legal and financial assistance to distressed Indian women has also been increased to USD 4,000 per case, he said in a written response. "The assistance is released to the impanelled legal counsel of the applicant or Indian Community Association or Women's Organization or an NGO concerned to enable them to take necessary and appropriate steps to assist the woman in documentation and preparatory work for filing the case," he said. -Sowmya Sangam

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Indian Govt. to Bring Stringent Law on NRIs Abandoning Wives January 02, 2019 05:54

The Indian government is geared up to bring omnibus legislation that will prescribe stiff measures like the cancellation of a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) holder's Indian passport if he found to have deserted his wife. About 4,300 lawsuits of NRI men deserting their wives in India have been registered in the last three years. Under the proposed law, if an NRI husband deserts his wife and flee, a court summon published in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs website will be deemed to have been searched. And, as soon as the summon is entered as 'served' if the person fails to appear in court on the given date, his passport can be canceled and his property in India seized. The law will also make the registration of marriage mandatory within 15 working days. The Indian government has up to now canceled the passport of 33 non-resident Indians for deserting their wives. The Passport Act comprises provisions for cancellation of passport of a holder who has received a summons for a court appearance or has a warrant for his/her arrest under any law that prohibits departure from India. Thus, the new law will just formalize this for desertion of spouses by NRIs. The larger point, however, is that, while there needs to be stringent action against such abandonment, canceling passports encourages further law-breaking. To be certain, before 2011, passports were not impounded and there was little that the deserted wives could do. Nonetheless, revoking passports means the person is liable to remain underground/illegally in a foreign nation in a bid to escape the law. -Sowmya Sangam

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