NRIs will be able to cast their votes by the time the country holds its next general elections, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in New Delhi on Friday.
"I recognise the legitimate desire of Indians living abroad to exercise their franchise and to have a say in who governs India," the prime minister told the annual conclave for the Indian diaspora.
"We are working on this issue and I sincerely hope that they will get a chance to vote by the time of the next regular general elections," he said at the eighth edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
"In fact, I would go a step further and ask why more overseas Indians should not return home to join politics and public life as they are increasingly doing in business and academia."
Some 1,500 delegates from 50-plus countries are attending the conclave that the country hosts annually to connect with its 25 million diaspora in 130 countries.
The prime minister said while people all over were legitimately proud of India's vibrant democracy, the government had not been able to deliver in full measure on the enormous promise and potential of the country.
"I recognise the frustration well wishers feel when they lament why things don't work faster or why well formulated plans and policies don't get implemented as well as they should be."
He said there was a price India was paying to carry all sections of its people along in national development, but that was a price worth paying.
"It is probably true we are a slow moving elephant but it is equally true that with each step forward we leave behind a deep imprint."