January 12, 2020
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Issue: XVIII-2
January 12, 2020
In This Issue
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On the occasion of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2020, India's External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar had an interactive session with members of Indian Diaspora through Video Conference connecting over a dozen Indian missions where the members of the Diaspora assembled. The interactive session started at 6 p.m. from Pravasi Bhavan in new Delhi. After a welcome and brief remarks by MEA Secretary Ms. Vijay Thakur Singh and Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar spoke for about eight minutes highlighting the importance of the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, the day when Mahatma Gandhi returned back on Jan. 9th, 1916 from South Africa and highlighted the Diaspora contribution not only for India but all countries they live in. Minister Jaishankar also spoke on many initiatives taken by Govt. of India to make it easier for the Diaspora to travel to India as well as on avenues of involvement, cooperation and building bond with the Diaspora.

Eight Indian missions were selected to ask two questions each to the minister. The Indian missions selected were from Perth, Paramaribo (Surinam), New York, Doha, Kula Lumpur, Singapore, London and Port Louis. GOPIO officials and members participated in the event from most of the missions. While GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham was selected to ask a question from New York (see while GOPIO Triolet North member Gayetree Samboo asked a question from Port Louis. The complete proceedings of this interactive session is at
PBD 2020 Video Conference from Pravasi Bhavan New Delhi
Photo: India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar addressing the Indian Diaspora through a video conference connected to eight Indian missions worldwide.

Following the interactive video conference, the Indian Consulate in New York honored 20 Indian Americans for their service to the Indian community and India. They include the following:

Niraj J. Antani, State Representative Columbus Ohio
Attorney Sanjay Chaubey, President of the Indo-American Lawyers Association
Avinash Gupta Shree of Siddhivinayak Temple of USA/ Indian Cultural & Community Center
Manish Ingle, Council of Indian Organizations in Greater Philadelphia
Neeta Jain, Indian Community activist and Democratic District Leader, New York Assembly District 25 Part B, Queens
Ramakrishna Kasarla, FIA Central Ohio\
Sushma Kotahwala, AIA
Renee Mehrra of TV Asia
Lal Motwani, International Coordinator of GOPIO International
Mohan Nannapaneni, TeamAid; Friends of MP NYNJ Community Organization
Harinder S. Panaser, President, US SAARK Business Forum
Minesh C. Patel, Former President of Gujarati Samaj of NY
Vivek Patel, Community Activist who raised USD$1.1 million on Facebook for the victims of the Pulwama terror attack.
Daniel Rajaiah, Indian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky
Jitesh Rohatgi, Founder Member of the Indian American political action committee of Lehigh Valley
Jagdish Sewhani American India Public Affairs Committee, New York
Nikhil Shah, India Association of Rhode Island
Dr. Prasad Srinivasan of Milan Cultural Association USA, Hartford, CT
Ankur Vaidya, Former President of FIA New York
Nitin Vyas, Director of Public Relations, World Vegan Vision. New Jersey
PBD Recognition at the NY Indian Consulate.Jan. 9 2020
Photo: PBD Recognition at the NY Indian Consulate on Jan. 9, 2020 showing awardees with Indian Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty


GOPIO International Coordinator-at-Large Lal Motwani was one of those recognized at the Indian Consulate. Motwani has been involved in the Indian American and the global Indian Diaspora community for the last 40 years starting as a Founding Member of the India Day Parade organized Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of New York in 1981. Since then he had served in different positions as Committee Chair, President, Chairman or as Coordinator in various community organizations, starting from FIA New York, National Federations of Indian American Associations, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), Heart and Hand for the handicapped, Society of Indian American Engineers and Architects, Association of Indians in the Construction Industry and Alliance of Global Sindhi Associations. Motwani had organized several Indian programs at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Earlier he had been recognized by many organizations and institutions including New York Governor George Pattaki.
Lal Motwani Receiving the Award and speaking at the Indian Consulate
Photo: Lal Motwani receiving the award from Indian Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty and speaking after the award presentation
Lal Motwani with GOPIO officials and CG Chakravorty after the award ceremony
Photo - GOPIO representatives with Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty after honoring GOPIO International Coordinator-at-Large Lal Motwani at the New York Indian Consulate on Jan. 9th. Seated from l. to r. Meera Banta of GOPIO-CT, Kavita Motwani, Lal Motwani, Consul General Chakravorty, GOPIO Intl. Coordinator for North America Harbachan Singh, GOPIO Chairman Thomas Abraham and of GOPIO-New York. Ara Treasurer B. Aravindakshan 
New York gathering at the PBD 2020 Award ceremony
Photo - New York gathering at the PBD 2020 Award ceremony
After a hue and cry from the community and a petition drive signed by more than 21,000 people, India’s Home Ministry has allowed travel by OCI Card holders who did not renew it.
They can travel to India without any problem till June 30, 2020. They should carry the old passport and the new passport along with the OCI card.
According to a release from the Ministry of External Affairs, the following OCI guidelines have been in force since 2005:

1. OCI card needs to be re-issued each time a new passport is acquired by the cardholder up to the age of 20 years.
OCI card is required to be re-issued once on acquiring a new passport after completing 50 years of age.
Re-issuance of OCI card is not required each time a passport is issued to a cardholder between 21 and 50 years of age.
2. Government of India has now decided to grant temporary relaxation till 30th June 2020 in the following cases:
In case an OCI card holder below the age of 20 years has not got the OCI card re-issued on change of passport, he/she may travel on the strength of his/her existing OCI card bearing old passport number subject to the condition that along with the new passport, the OCI cardholder carries old passport mentioned in the OCI card.
In case an OCI card holder who has attained the age of 50 years and has got his/her passport renewed subsequently but has not got his/her OCI card re-issued on renewal of his/her passport, he/she may travel on the strength of the existing OCI card along with the old and new passports.
3. It is, however, advised that OCI cardholders may take steps to comply with the existing OCI guidelines in Para 1 above and renew their OCI cards as required by the rules.
The Procedure to be followed for Normal OCI Application/Re-issue of OCI Card/PIO to OCI Conversion/Foreign Spouse Application is:
1. The applicant visits the Government of India OCI website (  ) to fill the form and upload picture, signature and other documents, as required.
2. Once completed form is submitted a File Reference number will be generated on the form.
3. Print the completed form and then visit Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) website ( to continue with the process.
4. After the process is completed on both Government website and CKGS website, the applicant has to submit the physical application with all the documents (as detailed in CKGS website in regards with different OCI categories) to the Consulate’s Outsourcing Partner, CKGS through walk-in or postal option.
5. Payment is to be made directly at the CKGS Centre only for walk-in applicants. Alternatively, the applicant can also send the physical form and documents by mail with the fee enclosed in Postal Money Order or Cashier cheque form. The fee will comprise of (i) OCI application fee – as per category applied (ii) ICWF Fund fee US $3.00 (iii) CKGS service fee US $ 17.00.
6. If optional services such courier service, SMS etc. are opted; additional amount is to be paid.
For the applicants from the USA - There will be no restriction of Consular Jurisdiction for OCI applicants. The applicant is free to apply at the Consulate General of India, New York or at our Embassy in Washington DC and other Consulates in US. While submitting the application on the Government of India website, the applicant will need to select the location where he/she wants the OCI application to be processed. The application has to be submitted to the same Mission (Consulate/Embassy) where the location was selected.
The Parental Authorization For Minor Applicants (wherever applicable) can be downloaded here
(, which needs to be submitted with OCI application of Minor applicant.

The Sworn Affidavit For Foreign Spouse Applicant can be downloaded here ( which needs to be submitted with OCI application applied under Foreign Spouse category.
It is recommended that the applicant goes over the “HOW TO APPLY” section ( ) prior to starting the process. 
Indian American High School students from Southern Connecticut joined young professionals at a networking luncheon event in Stamford on December 24th. Organized by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin-Connecticut Chapter (GOPIO-CT) at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Stamford, it was a house full event. GOPIO-CT has been organizing this event for the last twelve years. The program brings together an opportunity for the high school students to interact with college students and young professionals.
The program was put together by Dr. Beena Ramachandran, a teacher at Greenwich High School and who also teaches at University Connecticut Stamford Campus. The networking event started with greetings from GOPIO-CT youth leader Vedant Gannu followed by a formal welcome by GOPIO-CT’s newly elected President Ashok Nichani. The keynote address was delivered by Mr Rama Ramachandran, Chief Technology Officer at Black Diamond Capital, a $12 billion financial services firm in Greenwich, CT. At Black Diamond, Rama is responsible for all Technology initiatives. 
Rama has over 25+ years of experience in the Financial Services Industry and has authored several books on computer science. He has also spoken at several industry conferences and been on panels. He teaches Math and Statistics for the MBA Program at Uconn Stamford.
As the keynote speaker, Mr. Ramachandran gave the audience an overview of the world of finance and how technology permeates every aspect of it. He provided insights into what companies look for when choosing candidates for jobs in finance. He also gave tips on how to network and what resources to use. Finally, he laid out 7 life skills that students need to learn and master in college - chief among them being time management, teamwork and collaboration.
The first panelist was Anand Chavan, Founder and CEO of GuardX, a profitable company running for 4 years. Mr. Chavan has 18+ years of industry experience in multiple software development, technology leadership, strategist role with Amaranth, UBS, Citi, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan & Bear Stearns.  
Mr. Chavan described his career trajectory and how he ended up being an entrepreneur. He stressed that one should find what one is good at and stick with it. He finished by saying that the coming years are the best for someone deciding to start a company with a good idea.
The second panelist was Ms. Nami Kaur, a former Analyst Relations Manager at IBM in Marketing and Public Relations. She currently volunteers for four organizations including GOPIO International, Children’s Hope India, Riveredge Coop Board, and New York Botanical Garden.
Ms. Kaur encouraged the youth to follow their dream and passions, be the best they can, and keep growing in their career. She illustrated how, over the years, she has reinvented herself by going back to school several times and updating her skills and education. She stressed on the importance of contributing back to society as a way of moving forward in life.
A third panelist, Ms. Serena Iyer, a Sr. Manager in Strategy & Operations at Dreamworks Animation, recounted her life-path and how she ended up at Dreamworks after Goldman Sachs & an MBA from Harvard Business School. Some of the advice Serena gave to students were: Be good to everybody – above and below yourself in the company. You never know when you will need them. She also said you should form a good support group of friends so you can lean on them during times of stress.  
The last panelist, Mr. Curren Iyer, is a Multi-Solution Consultant at Adobe who graduated from Harvard College. Mr. Iyer said students get hired because of their skill set and not because they went to a good school. 
“Also, if you don’t get into your dream school during your undergrad years you can always try again for your Masters degree,” Cuirren added.
Speakers and panelists at the seminar session by GOPIO CT
Photo – Speakers and panelists at the seminar session organized GOPIO-CT at the Youth and Young Professionals Interactive Session. From l. to r. GOPIO-CT President Ashok Nichani, Curren Iyer, Serena Iyer, Rama Ramachandran, Anand Chavan, Nami Kaur and organizer and Moderator Beena Ramachandran

The program ended with GOPIO-CT Advisor and Trustee Dr. Thomas Abraham calling on youth and young professionals to get involved in various activities including volunteering at the soup kitchen with GOPIO-CT sponsors seven times in a year and other social service activities. Lunch was served after the seminar and panel discussion where the participants had opportunity to network. GOPIO-CT plans more such program for the youth and young professionals.   
Some of the participants with speakers and GOPIO-CT officials
Photo – Some of the participants with speakers and GOPIO-CT officials after the Youth and Young Professionals Interactive Session
Over the last 13 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future. GOPIO-CT – Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of PIOs through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities.
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In a board meeting on November 30, 2019 GOPIO-LA, the members were asked to nominate the new team for 2020-21 term. Nominations were sent electronically to Kewal Kanda, trustee for GOPIO-LA who acted as an election officer. After the nominations were tallied, Kewal Kanda contacted the eligible members for their acceptance or refusal of the nominations. After acceptance or refusals of nominations the following officers were declared elected unanimously:
President: Rajinder Dhunna
Vice President: Kalika Gupta
Secretary: Soruba Rani Kuusto
Treasurer: Aparna Hande
Jt. Secretary: Dr. Asmith Noor
Chairperson: Anju Garg
On December 15, 2019 in Artesia, GOPIO-LA board met and presented the new officers and asked board’s permission for their installation. After unanimous approval of the board, Kewal Kanda administered the oath of office to the officers and declared them installed effective from January 01, 2020 for two-year term.
Rajinder Dhunna currently interim president of GOPIO-LA, is a businessman and owns a Gas station and two assisted care homes. He is also a realtor. He has been active in community for for over twenty years. Previously he has been president of FIA-SC and Rajput Association of America.
After the installation, the new executive committee selected chairs and co-chairs for sub-committee and President Rajinder Dhunna administered the oath of office to them effective from January 01, 2020. The following are the new chairs/co-chairs;Mini Guleria, Lakshmi Shad, Sunil Garg, Suresh Chandna, and Baljinder Tahim. Manju Madan. Kewal Kanda, Ashok Madan, and Navin Gupta were appointed Trustees for the term of two yearsl
GOPIO-LA 2020 Team Taking Oath and Subcommittees
Photos: Top – Oath Ceremony, from l. to r. Kewal Kanda, Rani Kuusto, Dr. Asmath Noor, Rajinder Dhunna, Kalika Gupta, Anju Garg. (Kewal Kanda administering the Oath), Bottom – from l. to r. Suresh Chandna, Lakshmi Shad, Mini Guleria, Baljinder Tahim, Manju Madan, Sunil Garg.
Contact: Rajinder Dhunna, + 1 714-837-3149, RDHUNNA02@AOL.COM

GOPIO-CT organized its Annual Holiday Party and Fundraiser for a local charity on Friday, Dec. 13th at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Stamford. The group also held its annual election with a new team taking over headed by Ashok Nichani as President, Srinivas Akarapu as Ex. VP, Prasad Chintalapudi as VP, Dr. Rajneesh Misra as Secretary, Biru Sharma as Treasurer and Meera Banta as Joint Secretary Anita Bhat will continue in the EC as Immediate Past President. Two trustees were elected, Shelly Nichani and Bhavna Juneja.
GOPIO-CT Holiday Party also served as a fundraiser for local charity, Children’s Learning Center. An amount of $5,000 was donated to the charity and was presented to its Chief Executive Officer Marc E. Jaffe. In the previous years, GOPIO-has raised funds for other charities, Women's Mentoring Network of Stamford, Future 5 of Stamford and Teach for America, a national organization.
GOPIO-CT’s outgoing President Anita Bhat was recognized for her service to GOPIO-CT.
GOPIO-CT presenting check to Children's Learning Center
Photo - GOPIO-CT officials presenting a check to Children’s Learning Center. CEO Marc E. Jaffe, from l. to r. Shailesh Naik (Trustee), Biru Sharma (Treasurer), Shelly Nichani (Trustee), Ravi Dhingra (Board Member). President Ashok Nichani, CLC CEO Marc E. Jaffee, Dr. Thomas Abraham (Advisor and Trustee), Sanjay Santhanam (Trustee), Srinivas Akarapu (Exec. VP), Joe Simon (Trustee), Prasad Chintalapudi (Vice President), Meera Banta (Joint Secretary), Anita Bhat (Immediate Past President) 
Contact: Ashok Nichani, President, GOPIO-CT, 203-550-7739,

GOOGLE CEO Sundar Pichai has been acting like Alphabet’s top leader in Washington for more than a year. Now, it’s official. Alphabet CEO Larry Page and President Sergey Brin made a surprise announcement yesterday that they are stepping away from day-to-day operations at the company they co-founded. They’re handing the reins over to Pichai, thrusting the Google CEO into the top role at Alphabet at perhaps the most critical juncture in its 21-year-history. The company is confronting broad political backlash over potentially anti-competitive behavior, its data collection practices and even election security, among other controversies.
Pichai – who also declined to testify at that hearing – was left to clean up the mess solo. He held quiet meetings with members of Congress, the White House and Pentagon officials to smooth things over. He was the executive the company later sent to Washington for a Capitol Hill grilling. President Trump even targeted Pichai personally in tweets over the summer as he attacked Google, without evidence, for being biased against conservatives.
Pichai has also been leading the company’s annual developer conference and quarterly investor call, Greg notes.
Sonny Mehta, a literary tastemaker and kingmaker who spent more than three decades at the helm of the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house, where he courted critical acclaim, profits and sometimes both at once with a lineup of books that included works by a stable of Nobel laureates, the memoirs of presidents and prime ministers, and page-turning crime and love stories, died Dec. 30 at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 77.
Admired if not universally loved and feared if only by competitors who knew the extent of his acumen, Mehta reigned for years as one of the most powerful figures in book publishing. With the bestowal of the Knopf emblem, the coursing Borzoi dog that has long served as an imprimatur of literary quality, he conferred on a book almost instant cachet.
To some observers, even to Mehta himself, his entree into the highest echelons of the clubby New York publishing scene came as a surprise. He was by his own description an “outsider,” the worldly son of an Indian diplomat, a graduate of the University of Cambridge in England and, when he arrived at Knopf’s New York headquarters as president and editor in chief in 1987, a veteran of the British paperback publishing industry.
He was only the third person to lead Knopf, after its namesake founder and then Robert Gottlieb, who left the publishing house to become editor of the New Yorker magazine and championed Mehta as his successor.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs Dec. 23 released an e-book, “What Gandhi Means to Me: An Anthology,” featuring essays from several former and current heads of state, as well as Indian American Rep. Ro Khanna, D-California, and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia.
The e-book can be read in its entirety at It includes essays from several prominent civil rights activists, including Namibia’s Dr. Sam Nujoma, and Poland’s Lech Walesa. Former United Nations General Secretary Ban ki Moon contributed to the anthology, as well as Antonio Guterres, the current UN Secretary General.
The e-book commemorates Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth year.
In his foreword to the book, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, in part: “Gandhian thought provides solutions that retain abiding relevance in addressing global challenges like terrorism and climate change. Gandhi believed in harmony and brotherhood. He also showed the way when it came to living in harmony with Mother Nature.
Khanna, the grandson of Indian freedom fighter Amarnath Vidyalankar, told India-West he was asked to contribute to the project last year by India’s former Ambassador to the U.S. Navtej Sarma.
U.S. civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to promote the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., and sought a budgetary allocation of $150 million for the next five years, according to a PTI report.
Introduced to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi, the house bill (HR 5517) affirms the friendship between the two largest democracies of the world and honors the legacy and contributions of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Among other things, the bill proposes establishing a Gandhi-King Development Foundation, which will be created by USAID under Indian laws.
The bill seeks a budgetary allocation of $30 million every year for the next five years to the USAID for this foundation.
The foundation would have a governing council convened by governments of the United States and India and would oversee grants to NGOs in the areas of health, pollution and climate change, education and women empowerment, the bill says.
It is being co-sponsored by six other Democratic lawmakers, three of whom are Indian Americans — Ami Bera, Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal.
Three other sponsoring congressmen are Brenda Lawrence, Brad Sherman and James McGovern.
The bill proposes the establishment of a Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative with an allocation of $2 million for the next five years till 2025.
It will comprise an annual educational forum for scholars from India and the U.S. held alternately in the two countries.
The conference will focus on the study of the works and philosophies of Gandhi and King and visits to historical sites.
It also seeks to establish a Gandhi-King global academy, which would be a professional development training initiative on conflict resolution, noted PTI.
GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.
GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and 2/3rd the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.
GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world, so as to network with people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have a chapter in your city, please visit the GOPIO website ( and get details of chapter initiation (visit This process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:
GOPIO Chairman - Dr. Thomas Abraham, Stamford, Connecticut, USA, Tel: +1-203-329-8010, E-mail:
GOPIO President – Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, +973-39441956, India +91-9845756692, E-mail:
GOPIO Executive Vice President – Ishwar Ramlutchman, Durban, South Africa, Tel: +27-83-3578747, E-mail:
GOPIO Vice President – Ram Gadhavi, Wayne, New Jersey, USA, Tel: +1-973-699-8582, E-mail:
GOPIO’s Global Ambassador – Issac John, Dubai, UAE, +971-50 625 9941, E-mail:
GOPIO Secretary – Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA, Tel: +1-732-986-2584,
Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail:
GICC Chairman - Niraj Baxi, San Jose, California, USA, Tel: 408-307-9845, E-mail:
To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to:. GOPIO International, PO Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA
Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editor: J. Nami Kaur, Media Council Chair, GOPIO International (New York, USA)
Associate Editors: Layla Matthew (Bangalore, India), Harry Walia (Australia), Marlan Padayachee (South Africa)
Webmasters: Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA) and Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India)
Contributors of this issue: IKewal Kanda, Treasurer, GOPIO International (Norwalk, CA, USA)

GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail:
Visit GOPIO’s Official site at or
+1 (203) 329 8010 
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