Less than 26,000 of nearly 100,000 overseas Indians who had registered as voters flew down to India to exercise their franchise in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, according to data issued by the Election Commission.
A total of 99,807 overseas Indians, who are living abroad and have not given up their Indian citizenship, are in the voters' lists of various states. These include 91,850 men, 7,943 women and 14 transgenders. Out of these, 25,606 - 24,458 men and 1,148 women - voted in the general elections.
Kerala saw the maximum number of overseas Indians in the voters' list as well as the highest level of participation in the democratic exercise.
According to EC data, the southern state has 85,161 overseas Indians on its electoral rolls and 25,091 out of the total 25,606 NRI votes were cast in Kerala.
In Delhi, 336 overseas Indians, including 231 men and 105 women, had registered as voters but none came to cast their votes, the data stated.
The same was the case with Puducherry, where none of the 272 overseas electors cast their votes. In West Bengal as well, 34 overseas Indians were part of the state's electoral rolls; none voted.
A bill to extend the facility of proxy voting to overseas Indians had lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. A Law Ministry proposal to reintroduce the bill in Parliament is pending approval of the Union Cabinet.
As of now, NRIs with Indian passports can register as overseas electors and are free to cast their votes in constituencies they are registered in.
According to estimates of the Ministry of External Affairs, there are about 31 million NRIs living in different countries across the world.
An expert committee of the Election Commission, working on the issue, had in 2015 forwarded the legal framework to the Law Ministry to amend the electoral laws to allow the overseas Indians to use proxy voting.