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Include NRIs in population register: Oommen Chandy

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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala unit of the Congress Saturday urged the centre to include non-resident Indians (NRIs) in the National Population Register being compiled as part of the ongoing census.

Addressing reporters here Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Oommen Chandy thanked the central government for agreeing to give voting rights to NRIs who hold Indian passports and also urged the government to include the diaspora in the Unique Identity Card (UIC) programme.

"When I was chief minister, we had sent a proposal to the centre in 2005 that NRIs be given voting rights. Now they have accepted that proposal and all NRIs would be included in the voters list and can cast their votes if they are in the country," Chandy said.

A Group of Ministers (GoM) Thursday finalised a bill to provide voting rights to non-resident Indians (NRIs), a highly placed government source said in New Delhi.

The bill would be tabled during the monsoon session of parliament beginning mid-July, the source told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Chandy said work on the UIC go ahead but once it is complete, should be taken to include NRIs in the programme.

"The NRIs are the backbone of the Indian economy and we should include them in all activities, even though they are working outside," Chandy said.

Kerala has more than two million residents working outside the country, of which close to 90 percent are in the Middle East. According to a study, at any given time, close to 10 percent of the NRIs from Kerala are in the state on vacation.












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