The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a proposal to let Non-Resident Indians cast their vote in Assembly and Lok Sabha elections from outside the country, PTI reported. The amended Representation of the People Act will allow nearly 16 million NRIs exercise the right by appointing a proxy from their constituency to cast the vote.

Currently, only service personnel are allowed to vote by proxy. Overseas electors will have to appoint a new proxy for each fresh election, unlike service personnel who can appoint a permanent proxy, The Indian Express reported.

An unidentified government official said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always wanted to ensure NRIs vote as they are a vital community, The Economic Times reported. “He [Modi] has always said…today’s NRIs were as Indian as people here. They want the country to grow,” the official told The Economic Times, adding that this decision will make NRIs feel connected with India.