April 15, 2013
A Publication of the Global Organization
of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
April 15, 2013
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BAHRAIN CROWN PRINCE OFFERS SUPPORT FOR GOPIO CONVENTION IN BAHRAIN
Crown Prince and the
First Deputy Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has
offered support to GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin)
in conducting its Biennial Convention in Bahrain by the end of this year.
He made the offer when
GOPO Executive Vice President Mr. Sunny Kulathakal met him during his recent
visit to Cochin. Prince Salman promised necessary support and cooperation of the
Kingdom to make the event a grand success. Although the GOPIO Executive
Committee has not made a decision on the venue of the next convention, if it is
held in Bahrain or Dubai, it will be the first time that a GOPIO
convention is being held in any of the Gulf Countries during its existence
for the past 25 years.
Prince Salman lauded the work
of Sunny and Elizabeth Kulathakal in producing the
Gulf Who's Who Directory for the past 35 years. Especially he
appreciated the interviews of nearly 200 top dignitaries from different areas of
activities regarding the VISION 2030 of Bahrain in 2012 edition of the
Directory. He urged Kulathakal, the Managing Director of Sunliz Publications, to
update the Directory with views from more people so that the whole world will
know that Bahrain is doing its best to help its citizens with a
VISION up to 2030.
External Affairs Minister H.E.
Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifa told the Kerala Chief Minister
Oommen Chandy that
Kulathakal's 'lovely and informative book' serves the Kingdom of Bahrain
very well for the past several years.
Prince Salman took special
interest in seeing a photograph of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy during
1961 handing over the Presidentship of All Kerala Balajana Sakhyam, the largest
Childrens' Organisation in Asia to Kulathakal.
Photo above: Sunny and
Elizabeth Kulathakal showing GOPIO book to Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa
Al Khalifa of Bahrain. Seated next to him is Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy
and Bahrain External Affairs Minister Sheikh Khalifa (right).
GOPIO-CT TO HONOR AMERICAN CHARITY AMERICARES AND THREE INDIAN AMERICANS
GOPIO-CT TO HONOR
AMERICAN CHARITY AMERICARES AND THREE INDIAN AMERICANS
The Global Organization of People of
Indian Origin (GOPIO)-Connecticut Chapter honors outstanding achievers of the
Indian American community and those provide service to the community and/or
India or the society at large. This year's awards Banquet will be held at the
Italian Center in Stamford on Saturday, April 20th at 6 p.m. The
chief guest is the Active Consul General of India Dr. Devyani Khobragade. Others
attending the program include New Jersey Assembly Deputy Speaker Upendra
Chivukula, Connecticut Assemblyman Dr. Prasad Srinivasan and former CT Lt.
Governor Michael Fidele.
From l. to. Dr.
Devyani Khobragade, Upendra Chivukula, Prasad Srinivasan and Michael Fidele
This year, GOPIO-CT has selected
AmeriCares, the nonprofit global health and
disaster relief organization that delivers medicines, medical supplies and aid
to people in need around the world for
Service to India Award.
AmeriCares deepened its commitment to India by establishing a local presence in
Mumbai.AmeriCares India responds to
emergency medical needs and delivers medical aid to health care providers in 26
Indian states and union territories. The organization conducts on-site disaster
preparedness workshops for emergency medical personnel and community-based
health education programs for disease prevention. AmeriCares India continues to
expand its reach with free mobile medical clinics that provide access to health
care in the Mumbai slums.
Americans are other award recipients.
Dr. Ramamurti Shankar, John Randolph
Huffman Professor of Physics and Professor of Applied Physics Yale University,
New Haven will be recognized for his contribution toBasic
Prof. Shankar has done some outstanding work in Quantum Physics and has
written several books in Physics and Maths. Dr. Shankar joined Yale University
in 1977 and has been a visiting professor at the Ecole Normale Superieure in
Paris, Princeton, Berkeley and MIT. Prof. Shankar works on the application of
Quantum Field Theory to particle, statistical and condensed matter physics in
which he has over 100 publications.
Mr. Rakesh Narang, President and
Founder of Wire & Plastic Machinery Corporation, New Haven, CT will be
recognized in the category of
Entrepreneurship and Business Acumen.
Under Mr. Narang's leadership, Wire & Plastic Machinery Corp. has grown to
become the world's largest supplier of second-hand wire and cable manufacturing
Narang is a recipient of the Charles D. Scott
Distinguished Career Award, which is awarded to individuals in the wire and
cable field who have served the industry for a minimum of twenty-five years and
have demonstrated outstanding professional acumen and personal attributes.
Narang is an active supporter of various Indian and othercommunity
organizations in the New York Tri-State area including
Hindu Cultural Center of Connecticut, Hindu Samaj Temple of Mahwah, New Jersey
and Children's Hope India,
The towns of Bonham, Texas and Attleboro, Massachusetts have recognized Mr.
Narang for his extraordinary contributions to the local economy and the creation
of hundreds of manufacturing jobs. Mr. Narang received an MBA from the
University of Connecticut and a Bachelor's Degree from the Delhi College of
Community Service, GOPIO-CT has
Mr. Suresh Sharma, Founder of Milan
Cultural Association, Hartford, CT. Sharma founded Milan tocreate visibility of
Indian American community for mainstream America, with a passion for the first
generation to leave behind for the younger generation a legacy not of
diversified regionalism but of cultural heritage and unity in diversity, so that
the younger generation feel proud to be Indians. Suresh also developed "P.G.
BETTER LIVING," a free monthly e-magazine dedicated to synthesizing
Eastern ethos, values and beliefs with the western lifestyle of adults,
young and children as they seek to meet their personal, political, social,
cultural, spiritual, health, financial and physical needs particularly their
"pain points", to inculcate attitude of conscious, virtuous, peaceful and
From l to r. Prof.
Ramamurti Shankar, Rakesh Narang and Suresh Sharma
The awardees will be honored at
GOPIO-CT's Seventh Annual Awards Banquet on
20th at the Italian Center,
Stamford. The program
includes dignitaries, entertainment and a DJ. For reservation or to buy tickets,
call Anita Bhat 203-524-2935 or send an e-mail to
ELABORATE PLANS FOR GUYANA COMMEMORATION OF 175TH INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY
Commemoration Trust (ICT), in collaboration with GOPIO Guyana, the Indian High
Commission and Guyana's Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sport, in organizing a
series of historic events commemorating the 175th Anniversary of the
first arrival of Indian laborers in Guyana which took place on May 5, 1888.
People of Indian origin in Guyana numbering over 400,000 have continuously
observed Indian Arrival Day as a significant date in their history that
connected them to Mother India, same as those in other countries where Indian
laborers were taken and later domiciled. The commemoration of 150th
Anniversary of Indian Arrival Day in Guyana was a major event held on May 5,
1963 with the late Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, then Vice President of India,
heading a large contingent from India comprising officials, artists,
academicians and others. The 175th Anniversary of Indian Arrival Day
in Guyana is being planned to be an equally significant commemoration.
of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) has expressed favorable response to requests
from GOPIO and the Indian High Commissioner in Guyana for support of these
events, constructing (2) Kolkata Memorial replica and leading a large sized
delegation from India to participate in these historic events.
Guide Sat, May 4, 2013 (Georgetown):
- Lunch at
- Seminar at
Indians in Guyana
of Indians to Guyana's progress
from other ethnic groups
- Unveiling of
Memorial (Kolkata Memorial replica)
- Reception &
Dinner at Pegasus Hotel
Guide Sun, May 5, 2013 at Highury:
- History of
- Unveiling of
Memorial (Kolkata Memorial replica)
Guide Sun, May 5, 2013 (Georgetown):
Presentation - Dances (Monument Garden)
- Reception &
Sankar, President of GOPIO Guyana at
firstname.lastname@example.org; Dr. Yesu Persaud at email@example.com; Pradeep
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
GOPIO MEDIA COUNCIL CHAIRMAN FETED IN NEW YORK
Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), The Indian American Kerala
Center and World Malayalee Council joined hands together to organize a reception
and a talk by GOPIO Media Council Chairman Issac John Pataniparambil on Sunday,
April 7th at the Kerala Center in Elmont, New York. The topic was
Indians in the Middle East - Issues and Prospects.
John is the
Associate Editor of Khaleej Times, the oldest, and one of the most popular
newspapers in the Middle East. He is also involved in the Indian community as
the Chairman of World Malayalee Council and serves as Chairman, Gulf Arts,
Literary and Leadership Academy (GALA), a non-profit organization committed to
promoting and recognizing Indo-Arab arts, literature, culture, and leadership.
In 1998, Issac co-founded Kala Bhavan Global along with the legendary priest Fr.
Abel to promote traditional arts forms of India among children of the Indian
community in the Gulf and serves as its President.
John said that many countries
in the Middle East are implementing the ruel of 10% to 30% of employment to
their nationals and that has begun an exodus of workers from India and other
countries. Saudi Arabia had started implementing the rule deporting those are
staying illegally since the last two years. However, the country has temporarily
Photo: Issac John in
the center with program organizers from GOPIO, the Kerala Center and World
John was also very optimistic
about the Indian economy and contributions of NRIS and PIOs to the Indian
economy. Currently, 30% GDP of Kerala is contributed by non-resident Keralites.
"There is always uncertainty of
about the future for the working class in the Middle East," said John. However,
he added that no economy in any of the Middle Eastern countries can mange
without Indians and other nationalities.
John invited GOPIO to host the
next GOPIO Convention in Bahrain or Dubai.
APPOINTED GOPIO DIRECTOR OF DIASPORA DEVELOPMENT
Member and long time supporter of GOPIO and its activities, Mridul Pathak, was
recently appointed Director, Diaspora Development. Mr. Pathak will report to the
president of GOPIO International and will assist with establishing a pro bono
legal team in the USA and gradually into other countries. He will also assist
with interfacing with other groups and associations to further advance GOPIO's
objectives in the global Indian Diaspora.
In announcing the appointment,
GOPIO International president Ashook Ramsaran stated that Mr. Pathak will be
assisting with new initiatives for GOPIO's growth and expansion while advancing
promotion and awareness of GOPIO's activities. Mr Pathak, with his vast range of
contacts, will also assist with fund raising for GOPIO and make recommendations
for other areas of development and improvement.
In January 2011 Mr Pathak
coordinated, obtained all funding and managed the exclusive reception and dinner
for Trinidad & Tobago's Prime Minister Hon Kamla Persad Bissessar in Kolkata
during the visit to the Kolkata Memorial.
ORGANIZED "CARING CRUISE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS"
GOPIO Sydney organized a "Caring
Cruise for Senior Citizens" on Sunday April 7th, as part of its ongoing
activities for the promotion of the welfare of the Indian community in
Australia. This has been an ongoing activity for several years now and is held
in recognition of the sterling contributions made by senior citizens towards
their families and to society at large.
The cruise ship "Rosemary" took the
170 people around the Woolwich Warf area. The Opera House and Circular Quay were
on board to provide great entertainment amidst the breath-taking backdrop of the
magnificent Darling Harbor. The cruise lasted for five hours amidst a sunny day.
President of GOPIO Sydney, Ms Lucky Singh, welcomed all aboard
the ship. Along with DJ Upkar, Anand Arora belted a few Bollywood oldies which
everyone enjoyed. Scintillating dances were provided by Usha Bariya and Satpal
Dhingra. There was also musical games and Trivia hosted by Raj Bhandari.
Special thanks to the sponsors of
the event, including, Minto Cellars, Woodville Road Cellars, Milan
Bazaar, Patel Brothers and Laju Bhojwani. The three course meal
was provided compliments of Maya-da-dhaba. There was lots of food and drinks.
Thanks to Anuj Kulshreshthha, Hemu
Negi and Kabir Singh for capturing the event on tape.
Bhupinder Chhibber, Secretary of
GOPIO Sydney gave a vote of thanks at the end. Everyone had a great time.
The entire GOPIO Sydney team must
be complimented for organizing such a fabulous cruise. They were able to raise
$1,390 which went towards 18 months old Twisha Makwana's surgery in the USA.
Photo above - Scenes from Caring
Cruise for Senior Citizens by GOPIO-Sydney
GOPIO AND INDIAN
AMERICAN COMMUNITY TO ORGANIZE WELCOME RECEPTION FOR NEW INDIAN CONSUL GENERAL
IN NEW YORK
collaboration with several Indian-American organizations, groups and media,
GOPIO is planning a community welcome reception and dinner for the incoming
Indian Consul General in New York, Ambassador Dnyaneshwar Mulay, to be held on
Friday, April 26, 2013. It is being planned as a combined community event by
GOPIO chapters and many of the Indian-American organizations in the New York/New
Jersey/Connecticut Tri-state area Amb. Mulay has just completed his term as
Indian High Commissioner in Maldives.
organizations, groups and media are requested to assign one representative to be
part of the planning team to GOPIO Secretary, J. Nami Kaur, at
NRIs AND PIOs ACHIEVE
INDIAN-AMERICAN TO NATIONAL COUNCIL OF ARTS
US President Barack Obama nominated Renee Ramaswamy, a Bharatanatayam
exponent, to the prestigious National Council of the Arts for a five year term.
Ramaswamy founded the Ragamala Music and Dance Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota
in 1992 and has been popularising this classical Indian dance form in America.
Ranee is to be a Member of the National Council on the Arts for a term expiring
September 3, 2018.
Since 1984, Renee has been a disciple of Alarmel Valli, one of India's
greatest living masters. Renee has worked with celebrated artists such as poet
Robert Bly, jazz musician Howard Levy and legendary composer/ violinist L
Among her many grants and fellowships are 13 McKnight Artist Fellowships,
a Bush Fellowship, and an Artist Exploration Fund grant from Arts International.
Her work is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance
Project, and the Japan Foundation. In 2011, she was chosen as the McKnight
Foundation Distinguished Artist. Ranee and co-Artistic Director Aparna Ramaswamy
were named the 2011 'Artist of the Year' by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
3 NRis HONORED
FOR PROMOTING HINDI IN UK
Three NRIs and a Nottingham-based organisation have been honoured by the
Indian High Commission for their outstanding work in promoting Hindi in the UK.
The awardees are Mahendra Kishore Verma of York University, Dr Krishna Kumar,
Chairman of Gitanjali Multilingual Literary Circle, Birmingham, Kavita
Vachaknavi, internationally renowned blogger and Kavya Rang, a global
association of poets, writers, Nottingham, UK. High Commissioner Jaimini
Bhagwati presented them with shields, shawls and citations on World Hindi Day
Mahendra Kishore Verma, who received the John Gilchrist UK Hindi Shikshan
Samman, said he was happy to receive the recognition.
Dr Krishna Kumar, a graduate from IIT, Madras, made an impassioned plea
for promoting Sanskrit, Hindi and regional languages in India after he received
the Dr Harivansh Rai Bachhan UK Hindi Literary award.
Kavita Vachaknavi who received the Acharya Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi Award
for journalism suggested that the High Commission should have a website in
Jai Verma, Chair of the Kavya Rang, Nottingham, who received the Frederick
Pincott UK award for dedication to Hindi Propagation said Hindi should not only
be the "rashtrabhasha" in India but a recognised language at the United Nations.
Usha Verma and Krishna Kanhaiya received cash grants from the High
Commissioner for their books "Sim Card tatha anya kahaniyan' and 'Kitaab Jindagi
Deputy High Commissioner Dr Virendra Paul and Minister (Coordination) in
the High Commission S S Sidhu were present at the award ceremony held at the
AS THE RICHEST ASIANS IN BRITAIN
Leading NRI businessmen
Srichand Hinduja and Gopi Hinduja, Chairman and Co-Chairman of the Hinduja
Group, have emerged as the richest Asians in Britain in 2013. The London-based
Hinduja brothers have come out top this year with net wealth assessed at 12.5
billion pounds - up 3 billion pounds on the 2012 figure.
According to the list, "While
other organisations have been cutting costs at a time of recession, the Hindujas
splashed out USD 1.1 billion (725 million pounds) on buying Houghton, the US
lubricant and specialised chemicals group that has been a market leader in its
The report said, "The Hindujas
have always made a big effort with their philanthropic work and in building up a
close relationship between Britain and India, not only in business but also in
the cultural and educational fields."
Anil Agarwal, Chairman of
Vedanta, is listed number 3 in the list with a fortune worth 3 billion, down 200
million pounds from last year.
Leading NRI industrialist Lord
Swraj Paul is listed as 95th in the 'Asian Rich List' brought out by the Eastern
Eye Newspaper, a publication of the Garavi Gujarat Group headed by Ramniklal
Solanki. Lord Paul has wealth worth 845 million, up 170 million pounds from last
Naresh Goyal, Chief of Jet
Airlines, is 12th in the list with a fortune worth 440 million, up 165 million
pounds over last year.
Rami Ranger, winner of four
consecutive Queen's Awards for enterprise in international trade between 2009
and 2012, is 42nd in the list with a fortune worth 125 million, up 32 million
pounds over last year.
BHARAT MASRANI FIRST INDIAN APPOINTED CEO OF TOP CANADA BANK TD TRUST
Masrani, who is in charge of Canada's top financial institution TD Trust's US
personal and commercial banking operations, will take over as the CEO as of
November 1, 2013. Masran is the first person of Indian-origin person to become
CEO of Canada's top financial institution. Currently Sarabjit Marwah is the
highest-ranking Indian in corporate Canada as the number two in Scotiabank in
Toronto. The 56-year-old Masrani was born in Uganda to Indian parents has been
with TD Trust since 1987, started his career as a Commercial Lending Trainee
where he rose to Account Manager, Commercial Accounts in 1988. He progressed
through a number of positions and responsibilities before assuming the role of
Vice President and Head, Corporate Banking Canada.
Masrani was appointed TD's Vice President and Country Head for India and then to
Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance and Co-Head in Europe in 1997. In 1999
he also served as Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of TD
Waterhouse Investor Services in Europe. Prior to his current position, Masrani
was Vice Chair and Chief Risk Officer, Corporate Office, TD Bank Financial
Group. Masrani earned his Bachelor of Administration with Honours in 1978 and
then his MBA in 1979 from York University's Schulich School of Business. He
currently lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife Shabnam and two children.
The TD's Board
selected Masrani for the top job because of his excellent execution of his boss
Ed Clark's strategies in the US where acquisitions of many banks, including
those of Commerce Bancorp for more than $8-billion and some Florida banks, made
TD Trust as one of the top ten banks in the US. In fact, the bank has more
branches in the US (over 1,300) than in Canada (1,100). Outgoing CEO Ed Clark
said, "Bharat brings a continuity of strategy, culture and values. I am
extremely confident in the future of TD." TD Trust chairman Brian Levitt said,
"As we look to the future, the Board is confident that Bharat's leadership,
breadth of experience and global business insight will serve him well".
DIPLOMAT IN WALES COMMISSIONED
Raj K Aggarwal, an Anglo-Indian
pharmacist and businessman, has been commissioned as the first Indian diplomat
in Wales at a special ceremony. India's High Commissioner to the UK, Dr Jaimini
Bhagwati presented the Commission of Appointment as Honorary Consul of India in
Wales at a function held at the India House last evening.
Aggarwal was officially
commissioned in the presence of the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, Wales
Police Commissioner Alun Michael and distinguished guests including Lord Bikhu
Parikh and Labour MP Virendra Sharma.
Wales First Minister Carwyn
Jones said, "today is a historic day in terms of relationship between Wales and
India. We share so much...including Wales languages which has its origin in
Sanskrit. India is an exceptionally important trading partner and Tatas provide
1000s employment in Wales."
Speaking on the occasion, he
pledged to uphold, defend and promote the interests of both countries, "India
and Wales are my pride and joy. The citizens of India and Wales have strong ties
and share the same affection for good food, drink and music....Talents like
(poet) Dylan Thomas/Tom Jones...Ravi Shankar, Mohammad Rafi and Lata
Aggarwal said, over 2,500
Indian students study in 12 Welsh Universities creating strong mutual
relationships, and added that Universities like the Russel group Cardiff
University are world class. Bhagwati, High Commissioner of India, complimented
Raj Aggarwal for his efforts to build up Wales-India ties.
TO BE THE FIRST SOUTH ASIAN CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE IN THE US
Indian-American Srikanth Sri
Srinivasan has moved closer to become the first South Asian circuit court judge
in the history of the United States. A year after he was nominated by US
President Barack Obama on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced its decision to hold his
Srinivasan, 46, born in India
and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, is currently serving as the Principal Deputy
Solicitor General of the US. Srinivasan is a highly respected appellate advocate
who has spent a distinguished career litigating before the US Supreme Court and
the US Court of Appeals, both in private practice and on behalf of the United
States for both Democratic and Republican administrations.
Signatories of the letter,
including Paul Clement, Ted Olson, Ken Starr, and Walter Dellinger, wrote, "Sri
has a first-rate intellect, an open-minded approach to the law, a strong work
ethic, and an unimpeachable character. Sri is one of the best appellate lawyers
in the country." The Washington DC Circuit is often considered the nation's
second-highest court, but it has twice as many vacancies as any other court of
appeals, and its workload has increased by over 20 per cent since 2005, he said.
AMERICAN PIO IS THE RECIPIENT OF THE PRESTIGIOUS ELIZABETH GLASER SCIENTIST
Dr. Deborah Persaud, a pediatrician
at John Hopkins Hospital, received the Elizabeth Glaser Scientist Award, for her
dedicated, ground-breaking research in finding a cure for pediatric AIDS. Among
the country's most promising HIV/AIDS researchers, she was the only recipient of
the award for this year from the
Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Dr. Persaud said that she will use the $700,000 over
a five-year period to better understand drug-resistant HIV in children both in
the USA and abroad.
joined John Hopkins in 1997 on the heels of a discovery that demonstrated that
"HIV infection cannot be entirely eradicated by highly active antiretroviral
therapy, or HAART, because the infection persists in a silent, or latent,
reservoir in resting memory cells." Still, this latent reservoir is a permanent
"archive" for viruses that are drug resistant. Her goal is to ensure that
HIV/AIDS studies in children stay abreast with those in adults. Dr. Persaud who
was a medical student at NYU since 1985 did her residency at Columbia
Presbyterian. She will use the Glaser grant to study therapies in the United
States and Ethiopia.
At the award's
ceremony, Dr. Persaud was praised as "one of the best and brightest AIDS
researchers in the field today." The soft-spoken doctor had to overcome many
difficult challenges before she arrived at this pinnacle of success. She
migrated from Guyana at age 16, however, her parents divorced when she was 10
years old. Shortly after that, her mother came to the USA to find work and six
years later, Dr. Persaud and her three siblings joined her in her Brooklyn
completed high school and college, only one medical school accepted her - NYU
where she worked hard and stayed focus and worked towards her goals. When the
prestigious Glaser award was formally announced on Feb. 23 at a research
conference in Boston, it dawned on her that the culmination of hard work has led
to this great achievement. While looking around at the roomful of notable
scientists, she felt as though she really belonged. "That is when I realized
that I actually had impacted pediatric HIV in this country."
Dr. Persaud is
married and has three young children.
GIRLS BEATS EINSTEIN
Indian-origin girls in the UK
are reported to be becoming top physicists. They seem to leave behind legends
like Stephen Hawking, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and scientist Albert
Einstein, who were thought to have an IQ of 160. After 12-year-old Indian-origin
girl Neha Ramu recently scored an incredible 162 on a Mensa IQ test, another
girl has achieved a similar feat. Pooja Ranade, 12, a student of the Royal Latin
School, Buckinghamshire, UK, has also scored 162 in the Cattell III B scale in
the British Mensa. This is the highest possible score for her age. Pooja, the
daughter of Jitendra and Arti Ranade who originally hail from India, also has a
keen interest in cooking and sports. The score puts Pooja in the top one percent
of brightest people in the UK.
NRIs AND PIOs NEWS FEATURES
ACROSS THE US
While Holi's origins are in
India, the festival has become a tradition celebrated by many in the United
States."The festival of Holi, known as the festival of colours, is a time for
communities to come together after the long winter months and celebrate the
coming of spring," Congressman Joe Crowley said in a statement greeting people
on the occasion.
Over the weekend, one of the
largest celebrations was held in Houston, Texas that attracted several thousand
people including non-Hindu Americans. Running into its fifth annual Holi
festival, this year's theme was "Green Holi", which stressed on the use of new
herbal and non-toxic colours.
The Bihar and Jharkhand
Association of North America scheduled the celebrations in New Jersey. The
Barsana Dham in Austin Texas celebrated Holi in the traditional 'Braj way'.
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
TO DISCUSS NITAQAT WITH CMs
India's Minister of Overseas
Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has said that he is convening a meeting of Ministers
of States in India that will be hit by a possible exodus of Indian overseas
workers when Saudi Arabia implements the new labor policy of 'Nitaqat'. The
Indian government is asking the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia to facilitate
alternative job opportunities and make arrangements for those wanting to come
back. Ravi said he will discuss with states the issue of the government taking
care of airfares of deserving Indians returning home. The Saudi law will hit
thousands of the 1.5 million Indian workers. Among the states that are worst
affected include Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Indian Embassy had been
asked to facilitate Indian workers with documentation and other issues if they
wanted to shift base or look at job opportunities in neighboring countries.
Ravi said he will meet
ministers of nine states, including Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu,
Karnataka, Punjab and Rajasthan from where large number of workers went to Saudi
Arabia for employment. Ravi admitted the issue was serious. Ravi will visit
Saudi Arabia for talks with the government there but the date had not been
RELAXES IMMIGRATION RULES
The German government's recent
efforts to attract highly qualified workers from non-European Union countries
have come as a big boost for Indian professionals who now find many other
countries reluctant to lay out the red carpet for them. Germany's blue card
scheme offers highly educated and skilled non-EU candidates the opportunity to
live and work in Germany and the rest of EU.
Besides IT, there is a huge
demand for skills in Germany in engineering and health sectors. According to
German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche, the largest number of blue cards,
983, were issued to workers from India.
Germany is also taking active
steps to better link with origin countries (such as India) and to provide a
better welcome for immigrants," says Thomas Liebig, head of OECD labour market
reports. But it's not just highly qualified Indians being attracted to Germany.
Late last month, the German government also introduced steps to make it easier
for skilled workers from non-EU countries to get their qualifications recognised
in the country as the first step towards working there.
This is to address the huge
skills shortages in areas such as engineering, train driving and plumbing. The
new rules which were passed by the chancellor, Angela Merkel's cabinet are
likely to come into effect from July 2013.
$70 BUILLION IN REMITTANCE IN 2012
Overseas Indian Affairs
Minister Vayalar Ravi gave the figure quoting a World Bank report. India had
received over $ 66.13 billion in remittances in the year 2011-12 while in
2010-11, the amount was $ 55.62 billion. The remittances to the country through
private transfer of funds have been on the rise in the last few years. India
received $53.63 billion in 2009-10 while in 2008-09, the amount was $ 46.9
WARNED NOT TO CARRY HOME MORE THAN RS. 7500
Indian embassies in the Gulf
region have advised NRIs staying in the region not to carry large amounts of
Indian currency while travelling to India. NRIs found carrying
large amounts of cash in the form of
Indian currency while visiting India have faced problem at airport. In some
cases the currency being carried by NRIs has even been found to be counterfeit.
There is misconception that
NRIs are allowed to carry Indian currency back to India. According to the
statement, only Indian residents are
allowed to carry up to Rs 7,500 in Indian currency per person when travelling
abroad or returning to India. In all other cases of foreigners, and those Indian
nationals who are not residents of India/ Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), it is
prohibited under Indian law to either take any amount of Indian currency from
India or to bring it into India.
WELCOME LAUNCH OF ELECRTONIC POSTAL ORDER
Launch of the electronic postal
order would go a long way for Indian-Americans seeking information from the
Indian Government and other state governments under the Right to Information
A number of Indians living in
the US said that RTI has now become accessible to the Indian citizens living
abroad after the Postal Department last week launched Indian postal order in
electronic format (eIPO).
"With eIPO, I now have the
ability to discern conflicting information about governance in India in the news
by going directly to the source - the government," Vishal Kudchadkar, a
volunteer with the non-profit Association for India's Development (AID) at Los
Angeles, told PTI.
"It has been seven long years
since we started this campaign for our right to information. It has been a
difficult journey and during this time we have had to depend on friends in India
to file RTIs on our behalf," said Arun Gopalan, a volunteer with Association for
India's Development, Greater Washington Metro area chapter.
"Their non-availability meant a
missed opportunity. That will no longer be the case with this new eIPO. It would
be ideal if the list of email id of PIOs is also available on this portal and
the information exchange is completely digitized, but we will take this for
now," Gopalan said.
While the convenience factor is
obvious, the more far reaching impact would be the sense of empowerment NRIs are
going to feel in nation building.
KAL PEN ENDORSES
ANEESH CHOPRA FOR VIRGINIA LT. GOVERNOR
actor-turned-political activist Kal Pen has endorsed ex-White House tech czar
Aneesh Chopra's bid for Virginia Lt Governor.
"I know he represents a new and
sorely needed approach to government. He will work tirelessly for a state
government that works better and fairer for all, and respects and empowers
Virginians no matter who they are. I've seen him do this on behalf of the
President, and I'm excited to give him a hand as he does this in Virginia," Kal
Penn said in an e-mail urging people of Virginia to support Chopra in his maiden
Kal Penn, has a national appeal
among the youths in the country and in the November presidential elections,
President Barack Obama had tapped him to galvanize young American voters.
Both Kal Penn and Aneesh Chopra
worked together in the White House in the first term of the Obama
Administration. "I'm excited that Aneesh is tapping into the energy that
propelled President Obama and Tim Kaine to victory last November," Kal Penn
wrote, adding that he is proud to support Chopra.
If elected, he would be the
first Indian-American to hold the top post in Virginia. "I decided to run for
Lieutenant Governor because I firmly believe that our state government can be
smarter, faster, better, and fairer for all Virginians. This is a message that
is resonating across the Commonwealth, and I look forward to engaging with more
Virginians on it in the coming months," he said.
Born in Trenton, New Jersey,
Chopra has spent his life focusing on education and innovation. He attended
Johns Hopkins University and then the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Given his talent, he was tapped by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine as his Secretary
of Technology. In 2009, Obama appointed him as the nation's first Chief
Technology Officer, a post he served with distinction for two years.