in Commentary, Data & Stats

NRI Voting is again on the cards, this time with Election Commission of India’s tie-up with TISS ( Tata Institute of Social Sciences) for the online survey and contests to know about various aspects of NRI voting.

NRI Voting

NRI Voting and Their Contribution to India

Many Indians feel that NRIs sitting outside India do not contribute to our country’s economic well-being. But the fact is, NRIs actually contribute 3.4% share in GDP of India via remittances.

In the year 2015 alone, NRIs remitted whopping $68.91 billion ~ Rs.4.5 lac crores – Highest ever remittance by any country in the World as per World Bank’s Migration & Remittances Data for 2015

Now that NRIs do contribute to our GDP, let us discuss their impact on Elections.


NRI Voting and Their Impact On Elections

NRIs can vote in the local constituency as per the address mentioned in their passports. Supreme Court’s directives say that NRI Voting should be done via e-ballot or proxy voting. Proxy Voting is currently the procedure for service voters in India and will be extended to NRIs too if implemented.


Based on the statistics provided by Ministry of External Affairs, Current NRI Population across the different countries is roughly 1.14 crores (11,422,045). 

If you see the chart above, NRIs dominate middle-east countries. More than 48.67% (ie. almost half ) of the total NRI population stay in Saudi Arabia and UAE alone. This is very important statistics considering voting patterns in India.


Over-Simplifying the facts to Understand Impact

In our study, we would like to over-simply few figures and calculations only to understand the impact. In India, currently, there are 543 Lok-Sabha Constituencies. Considering 1.14 crores NRIs equally distributed in these constituencies, there would be an addition of 21035 voters in each constituency.

Winning margins are getting narrower with stiff competition, and considering this report of UP -LokSabha Elections in 2009,  21035 extra voters can really MAKE A DIFFERENCE in elections.

However, this is based on the assumption that all NRIs participate in voting. It is to be seen that how they exercise the voting power sitting outside the motherland.



Reports suggest that Government is mulling the idea of bringing this change to Parliament in Budget session next year (2017). While we welcome the move of NRI Voting, it is to be seen, how NRIs take the advantage of voting rights in biggest democracy of the World.

Credits: Image Source | DNA | Times of India | Ministry of External Affairs | World Bank’s Migration & Remittances Data for 2015 | Charts are Copyrights of