India to fine people who don't vote

  • 08/08/2015
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Reuters)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Reuters)

Authorities in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state have announced plans to fine people who fail to vote in upcoming elections.

It's the first time voting has been compulsory in the world's largest democracy.

Anyone who fails to cast their ballot in elections to local civic bodies in Gujarat without providing a legitimate excuse will have to pay a 100 rupee fine (around NZ$2.24), the state government says.

The proposal to make voting compulsory in local elections was drawn up when Bharatiya Janata Party leader Modi was Gujarat's chief minister.

Although he stepped down from the post in May last year after his triumph in India's general election, the legislation continued to be steered through the state legislature and was finally approved last month.

Modi's support for the measure has led to expectations he may try to make voting compulsory in other polls.

India is by far the largest democracy in the world, with 551 million people voting in last year's general election, a turnout of 66.38 percent.

The next general elections are scheduled to take place in 2019.

Although the exact date hasn't been announced, Gujarat is expected to hold elections for 487 municipalities and other districts in October this year.