June 12, 2012
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
June 12, 2012
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GOPIO-HEALTH ON A
MISISON TO RAISE AWARENESS OF DIABETES AND HEART DISEASE RISKS MANAGEMENT FOR
THE PIO COMMUNITY
Health Council has proactively taken its mission
on the road to
improve the health and well-being of People of Indian Origin! Successful
Diabetes Awareness seminars in Sunnyvale, Silicon Valley and White Plains, New
York have paved the way for additional Diabetes and Heart Disease Awareness
workshops to be held in the future. These will be co-sponsored by GOPIO Health
Council, local GOPIO Chapters, and other relevant Indian organizations.
The latest seminar titled "A Health Awareness Program" held in Long Island, New
York on June 10, 2012 was a resounding success attended by 90+ PIOs and
community leaders. This session was co-sponsored by GOPIO Long Island Chapter in
collaboration with the
India Association of Long Island and AAPI (American Association of Physicians of
Indian Origin). Moderated by GOPIO Health Council Chair Sangeeta Ahuja, the
panel of health expert speakers included Dr Sunil Mehra, MD - Director of ICU
and Pulmonary Medicine; Dr Prem Goel, MD - Cardiologist and Internal Medicine;
and Rita Batheja, Registered Dietitian and Founder of Indian American Dietetic
The drivers for this initiative
are the startling statistics that indicate that
People of Indian Origin (PIO) are at a higher risk to develop Diabetes and Heart
Disease than their fellow Americans. Amongst the 3 million Asian Indians in the
USA, 1 in 5 has Diabetes, and 1 in 3 has Pre-Diabetes! The US-PIOs have a
significantly higher risk of heart diseases, particularly heart attack rates
that are estimated to be 1.5 - 4 times greater than the white American
population. Important health problems faced by this US-PIO community are:
Cardiovascular Diseases - particularly Heart Attacks, Diabetes, Hypertension and
Sangeeta Ahuja, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Chair
GOPIO-Health Council, "Diabetes is a Metabolic Disorder resulting in High Blood
Glucose. 85-95% of all Diabetics are Type 2, which is the most common form and
is often diagnosed in adults over 45. The awareness is very low everywhere in
the world, and less than half the people with Diabetes are diagnosed.
It is a silent killer with hidden symptoms. It can remain undetected and
diagnosis is often made due to associated complication or incidentally through
abnormal blood sugar test. With rise in obesity and sedentary life style Type 2
is increasingly being diagnosed in children and young adults."
Council's campaign to raise awareness of these "silent killer" diseases was
kicked off in 2010 with a pilot seminar in Queens, New York in partnership with
the Kerala Center. This was followed by a first-of-a-kind Health Summit
co-sponsored by the New York Tri-State Chapters and covered a broad set of
Health related topics including alternative wellness therapies. In 2012, this
GOPIO Health Initiative is going on the road, directly to the PIO community near
their home-fronts in the form of locally sponsored seminars.
The first seminar
in this GOPIO Health Awareness series, focused on Diabetes, and was held this
spring on April 14, 2012 at the Sunnyvale Temple in the Silicon Valley,
California. Sangeeta Ahuja put together an outstanding team of speakers for this
program that included Dr. Harmesh Kumar, Clinical Neuro-Psychologist and Dr.
Karim Hussain a Cardiologist. This program was organized by Mr. Jeevan Zutshi,
GOPIO Area Coordinator-Western Region, Mr. Ajay Jain Bhutoria, President: GOPIO
Silicon Valley and Mr. Raj Bhanot from Sunnyvale Hindu Temple. "The speakers
provided practical information in this interactive session", said Ritu
Maheshwari who attended the program at the Sunnyvale Temple. "We have been
organizing such health awareness programs in this region for the past three
years and they are very well received" said Jeevan Zutshi.
The second GOPIO
Health seminar was held on April 24, 2012 at the Royal Palace restaurant hosted
by Mr. Jagdish Mittar, the establishment owner in support of the Hindu Temple
community. With standing room only capacity, attended by over 80 PIOs from
Westchester, Connecticut and Northern New Jersey, this event was a resounding
success! The panel of speakers moderated by Sangeeta Ahuja included Dr. Dhayan
Naik, Dr. Rehan Ahmad, Dr. Ramesh Naik, and Dr. Seema Rathi. The Diabetic and
Heart Healthy diet choice recommendations at this session were put to practical
test following the talk by the dinner menu offerings enjoyed and appreciated by
all who attended.
Photo above: Seminar organizers with speakers, from l. to r.:
Nordisk Representative, Dr. Dhayan Naik, Lori Hardy, Sangeeta Ahuja, Usha
Bhagirath, Dr. Seema Rathi, Dr. Rehan Ahmad
Watch YouTube videos of the seminar by clicking the following links:
Diabetes Awareness Seminar, New York, April 25, 2012. Sangeeta Ahuja Welcomes -
Diabetes Awareness Seminar, New York, April 25, 2012. Dr. Rehan Ahmad Speaking,
Diabetes Awareness Seminar, New York, April 25, 2012. Dr. Dhayan Naik Speaking,
Diabetes Awareness Seminar, New York, April 25, 2012. Dr. Ramesh Naik Speaking,
Diabetes Awareness Seminar, New York, April 25, 2012. Dr. Seema Rathi Speaking.
Diabetes Awareness Seminar, New York, April 25, 2012. Sangeeta Ahuja Concludes -
demographics show that Indians have an increased genetic susceptibility to
Diabetes. If left uncontrolled it is a major cause of premature death,
blindness, increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, amputation, kidney failure
and Dialysis. Most experts on South Asian Health mention that the US Risk
assessment tools underestimate the risk for Asian Indians. Lower cutoffs and
stricter goals are required for treatment and prevention of these diseases for
Asian Indians. "There is reduced quality of life due to depression, social
isolation and a huge financial burden. Without timely diagnosis and adequate
treatment, complications and morbidity from Diabetes rises significantly, since
it can remain undetected for a long time," says Sangeeta Ahuja. Hence an
aggressive approach is needed to test among Indians and to promote awareness
about this disease.
The good news
studies indicate that 80% of Type 2 is preventable by healthy dietary intake,
maintaining a healthy weight. Increased physical activity and improving living
environment so that one can manage stress, 5-7 % weight loss, intake of a
healthy diet. Exercise and medication if needed can prevent or delay
pre-Diabetes from progressing to Diabetes. GOPIO-Health is committed to help promote this objective through its
focus on increasing awareness about Diabetes, Cardiac health and Stress
management amongst the PIO community all over the world.
The Health Council is looking for qualified speakers, collaborating
organizations and sponsors in all major cities of the world to bring the
awareness programs to the PIO community. Contact GOPIO Health Council Chair
Sangeeta Ahuja at 203-320-9744, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
INDUCTS NEW LIFE MEMBERS AT GOPIO UPPER NEW YORK ANNIVERSARY
Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) inducted four (4)
new life members and one (1) associate member at the conclusion of GOPIO Upper
New York chapter's celebration of its 4th anniversary which was done
in grand style with a huge attendance on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at the posh
World's Fair Marina Restaurant & Banquet Hall in Flushing, New York.
president of GOPIO International, conveyed greetings from GOPIO International
and commended GOPIO Upper New York chapter for being a very active chapter
addressing its community's needs and interests. Dr Thomas Abraham, former
president and current Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation, recounted GOPIO's
engagement with Guyanese and Caribbean PIOs and now in prominent positions in
GOPIO - including Ashook Ramsaran as GOPIO's president and Netram Rambudhan as
treasurer of GOPIO International.
"Life membership is
the core of commitment to GOPIO", stated Ramsaran as he presented GOPIO life
membership certificates and GOPIO pins to the new inductees. Ably assisting in
the ceremony was: Dr Thomas Abraham; gold life member Nohar Singh; Anita Bhat,
USA director of GOPIO Youth Council; Aminta Kilawan, Co-Chair of GOPIO Human
The new inductees
Satruhan Sukdeo, currently president of GOPIO Upper New York chapter
Netram Rambudhan, currently treasurer of GOPIO International
Jhairam Persaud, currently vice president of GOPIO Upper New York chapter
Naidoo Veerapen, currently Co-Chairman of GOPIO Cultural Council
Membership: Sunita Rambudhan, currently with GOPIO Upper New York chapter
Photo (l-r): Aminta Kilawan, Co-Chair of GOPIO Human Rights Council; Ashook
Ramsaran, President of GOPIO Int'l; Nohar Singh, GOPIO Gold Life Member; Naidoo
Veerapen, Co-Chair of GOPIO Cultural Council; Jhairam Persaud, Vice President of
GOPIO Upper York chapter; Netram Rambudhan, Treasurer of GOPIO Int'l; Satruhan
Sukdeo, President of GOPIO Upper York chapter; Dr Thomas Abraham, former
Chairman and current Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation.
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
GOPIO CENTRAL JERSEY ORGANIZES HEALTH CAMP
On May 12, 2012,
the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin - Central Jersey (GOPIO-CJ)
in association with the Rotary Club of Plainsboro (RCOP), NJ and DCH Brunswick
Toyota, NJ hosted a free health camp in New Brunswick Middle School
in New Brunswick, NJ.
Free Health, Nutrition advice and Dental checkups were provided to the under
privileged community in and around New Brunswick, NJ. There were eight different
stations setups to provide complete health checkup starting from checking Blood
Glucose levels, General Health, Dental care and Nutrition advice. Many families
living in and around the New Brunswick area came to the camp and availed the
free checkup and advice.About 150 people attended the camp.
Dr. Rajeev Mehta,
the outgoing President of GOPIO-CJ took the lead in organizing the camp with
assistance from Dr. Sergio Sanchez, Dr. Abbas Bangalawala, Dr. Shaila
Karandikar, Dr. Rao H. Andavolu (Morristown Pathology Associates) and Dr. Asha
Samant's students from the UMDNJ dental school.
Talking about the
event Dr. Rajeev Mehta, said that in the coming years, GOPIO-Central jersey
should consider doing bigger health camps in partnership with other chapters on
a rotating basis in under privileged areas where there is great need for such
Photo below -
GOPIO Central Jersey organizers with health care professionals.
Photo above - UMDNJ dental students with other young volunteers at the Health
Contact: Dinesh Mittal,
President, GOPIO-Central Jersey,
HANDS WITH IAAC AT ITS 12TH ANNUAL NEW YORK INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL TO SCREEN
"DELHI IN A DAY"
GOPIO Cultural Council joined hands with IAAC
on this historical occasion of its 12th Annual New York Indian Film Festival as
a screening partner of the Bollywood movie ''DELHI IN A DAY'' at the Tribeca Cinema
on Saturday, May 26th.
Though it was the
Memorial Holiday weekend, the event was a sold out! GOPIO planners did a massive
email blitz, in an effort to garner support for this project. Many GOPIO
supporters went down to Tribeca to watch the movie.
Ms. Sudha Acharya,
Prof. Sushila Gidwani, the founding members of GOPIO, Mrs. Sangeeta Ahuja, the
international chair of GOPIO Health Council and her husband, Paul Ahuja
also attended the screening.
Dr. Najma Sultana,
one of the founding members of GOPIO and current co-chair of GOPIO Cultural
Council helped to organize the screening in partnership with IAAC.
"Delhi in a Day" is
a thriller story about a Nouveau-rich family friend and their idealist English
young man who went to Delhi and settles as a house guest. Eventually, he finds
out that all his travel money which totals almost 3 lakhs of Indian rupees, has
disappeared from his room. The family points finger towards the household help
as the culprits and gives them an ''ultimatum", to replace the lost money within
24 hours or "face the consequences.''
"Delhi in a Day" is
produced by the young charismatic director, Prashant Nair. Nair also made a
short film, Max& Helena, which received numerous awards. In this feature film,
Prashant Nair focuses on socio-economic class structure in India.
The movie, also
deals with foreign tourist romance with India. The Indian extended-family
structures, prestige and status of an upwardly mobile family and the stress
and challenges they face in raising a young daughter.
As the title
surmises, ''Delhi in a Day'' is enchanting yet serious, according to Dr.
Sultana. She also added that working with IAAC was a delight. Mr. Nair thanked
GOPIO for partnering with IAAC in screening the film in its annual NY Film
Festival. GOPIO sends best wishes to this young and talented director who has a
very promising future.
above: Director Prashant Nair with Dr. Najma Sultana, Co-Chair GOPIO Cultural
Council at the Tribeca Theater on May 26th 2012.
SPONSORS ANNUAL GOLF OUTING AT THE SPLIT ROCK GOLF COURSE
GOPIO-UNY will be hosting its Annual Golf Outing for 2012, which will be held on
16th June, 2012 at the Split Rock Golf Course, Bronx, NY. Tee time starts at
12.00 noon and all golfers are requested to be the court at least one hour
before the tee time. Golf Chairmen are Sat Sukdeo and Jhairam Persaud.
Venue: Split Rock Golf Course, 870 Shore Road, Bronx, NY 104564.
Price: $110.00 per golfer, includes Golf Fee & Cart, Box Lunch and
$ 35.00 for cocktail hour and dinner for non golfers.
The event includes a
cocktail and dinner with an unlimited supply of draft beer and soft drinks. The
cocktail and presentation dinner will kick off at 5.30 pm.
Prizes will be awarded to the winner and runner-up of the game. The winner will
be selected based on the golfer who has the longest drive and closest to the
pin. A Sportsman of the Year award will also be presented to a deserving person.
Golfers will have to be confirmed at least 6 days before the game.
GOPIO UNY is requesting those parties interested in 'hole' sponsors, which
caused a minimal fee of $20.00. Sponsors will then have the option
of distributing their business cards and/or other promotional materials. Also, a
small gift will be presented to each hole winner. This token is to be donated by
each hole sponsor. Thus far, GOPIO UNY has secured two 'hole' sponsors, for
the ninth hole and the first hole.
JOINS WORLD AFFAIRS FORUM WITH INDIAN AND PAKISTAN AMBASSADORS
World Affairs of
Stamford held a special event where Indian and Pakistani UN ambassadors spoke on
"Indo-Pakistani Relations: An Emerging
Economic Power Zone?" Several OPIO-CT members joined the event
held at the worldwide headquarters of MasterCard in Purchase, New York.
The panel was
moderated by Leonard A. Gordon, Professor of History, City University of New
York and Senior Research Associate at Southern Asian Institute, Columbia
University. After brief remarks by
Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, India's Permanent Representative to the UN and
Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the
UN, Prof. Gordon raised many questions to both ambassadors. Both ambassadors
conveyed that both their countries want more bilateral trade and so as to
improve the relations between their countries. Many questions were also asked by
Photo above: GOPIO-CT officials with Indian and
Pakistani Ambassadors: From l to r: Shelly Nichani, Safia Mehta, Ambassador
Hardeep Singh Puri, Ambassador Abdulla Hussain Haroon, Ritu Johorey, Dr. Thomas
Abraham, Shailesh Naik and Pravin banker
GOPIO-VIRGINIA CHIEF ELECTED AS DEMOCRATIC PARTY NATIONAL DELEGATE
More than 1,700
people attended the Democratic State Convention held on June 2nd at
the George Masson University in Fairfax, Virginia. The convention
attracted political heavyweights, including, Senator Mark Warner, Jim
Webb, Governor Tim Kaine, Congressmen Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran and Bobby Scott,
who all spoke at the event.
President of GOPIO Virginia, won the prestigious position of National Delegate
at large to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia at the Democratic National
Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was the only male candidate of
Indian origin. Approximately 1700 state delegates voted and selected 10
male and 13 female candidates. The counting took almost seven hour. The
result was declared by VA Democratic Committee chair, Brian Moran in the
presence of Debbie Wasserman Schultz,Chairwoman of the DNC US House
Photo above: Jay Bhandari (first row in the middle)
at the Virginia Democratic State Convention
Mr.Bhandari is a long time democrat and grass-root worker, who dedicates alot
of his time and effort in projects that help to uplift and improve the lives of
the people in his community and further afield. He also represents the Indian
American and Asian American Pacific Islanders communities in the State of
Virginia. He was appointed onto the Citizens Advisory Committee by the Chairman
of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. He worked tirelessly as a volunteer
during the 2008 Democratic Presidential campaign, as well as, the VA State
Elections for Governor, Attorney General, Delegates, and Senators, Etc.
Agrawal and Lovely Lal are also winners, among the Female Delegates.
Indian community of Washington DC Metro area is proud of Mr. Bhandari's election
and congratulated him on his achievement. Many Community activists and leaders
including Sunny Wycliffe, Ram Singh, Satish Korpe, Zafar Iqbal (President of
GOPIO DC) and many others congratulated Mr. Bhandari on winning the election.
Many Organizations such as NCAIA, ICCC and GOPIO that Mr. Bhandari is part of,
also expressed their excitement on this achievement.
Bhandari no doubt will continue to work hard, diligently and dedicatedly to
provide a strong voice for his community and the people he represents. GOPIO
International wishes him well and all continued success.
ROYAL SOCIETY ELECTS SIX PIO SCIENTISTS AS NEW FELLOWS FOR 2012
Six Indian scientists, including two Indian Americans, with exceptional
expertise in their respective fields, were recently announced as newly elected
Fellows of the prestigious Royal Society for 2012.
Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world's most
distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and
Prof. Varinder Kumar Aggarwal, Professor of
Synthetic Chemistry, University of Bristol - Aggarwal is distinguished for
his outstanding contributions to the field of asymmetric synthesis, particularly
applications of ylide chemistry where he is the world leader. His productivity
and breadth make him one of the foremost organic chemists of his generation and
one who is very widely recognized internationally.
Prof. Shankar Balasubramanian, FMedSci,
Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Cambridge Research Institute -
Balasubramanian is an internationally recognized leader in the field of nucleic
acids who is distinguished for pioneering contributions to chemistry and its
application to the biological and medical sciences. He is a principal inventor
of the leading next generation sequencing methodology; Solexa sequencing that
has made routine, accurate, low-cost sequencing of human genomes a reality and
has revolutionized biology. His work on the intervention of nucleic acid
function has revealed a number of molecular mechanisms that can be exploited,
e.g. to modulate the biology of cancer.
Prof. Mathukumalli Vidyasagar, The University
of Texas at Dallas - Vidyasagar has made outstanding contributions to
control and systems theory and statistical learning. He developed the feedback
linearization approach to nonlinear control, and provided a general separation
principle for nonlinear control. His notion of inverse dynamics feedback
converted highly nonlinear equations describing robot motion into decoupled
linear equations, and he extended the theory of rigid robots to flexible robots.
Prof. Chandrashekhar Bhalchandra Khare, Professor of
Mathematics, University of California at Los Angeles - Khare is an extremely
original mathematician studying the relationship between Galois representations
and modular forms. He and Wintenberger proved Serre's conjecture on the
modularity of mod p Galois representations, a conjecture that was widely
considered completely out of reach even after Wiles' work on Fermat's Last
Theorem. This conjecture in particular implies the modularity of all odd rank
two motives over the rationals.
Prof. Tejinder Singh Virdee, Professor of
Physics, Imperial College London - Virdee is primarily distinguished for the
design, construction and exploitation of the huge CMS experiment at the CERN
Large Hadron Collider. Virdee devised a new technology for the large CMS
electromagnetic calorimeter and one of his earlier innovations was employed for
the hadron calorimeter. The superb performance of CMS since high energy
collisions began at the LHC is testimony to his foresight, expertise and
appreciation of the complex interplay of techniques which are needed for such
US SENATE CONFIRMS
DEEPA GUPTA AND ANUJ DESAI TO US POSTS
The U.S. Senate
recently confirmed the nominations by President Barack Obama of two Indian
Americans - Deepa Gupta of Illinois, as a member of the National Council on the
Arts; and Anuj Chang Desai of Wisconsin, as a member of the Foreign Claims
Desai who teaches
Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School will join as Member, Foreign
Claims Settlement Commission. Before joining the University of Wisconsin faculty
in 2001, Desai practiced law at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.
Desai is the sixth
Indian American to be named to a top administration job this year alone. Obama
has more Indian Americans serving in high places than any other previous US
Gupta is a program
officer for Media, Culture and Special Initiatives at the John D. and Catherine
T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, where she manages the Foundation's grant
making in arts and culture in Chicago and the MacArthur Award for Creative and
Gupta earned her
M.B.A. from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and an M.P.A. from the
Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has an A.B. in Public
Policy and Biology from the University of Chicago.
ELECTED TO SUGARLAND (TEXAS) CITY COUNCIL
attorney Himesh Gandhi was elected May 12 to an at-large seat on the city
council in Sugar Land, Texas. 35-year-old Gandhi received 2,468 votes (52.11 per
Gandhi's focus is
to "strategically move Sugar Land forward through financial accountability,
quality development and public safety with an emphasis on the fundamentals of
"I am humbled and
honored that Sugar Land residents came out and showed their support by voting
for me," says Gandhi. "I am excited and ready to dive into the business of our
city and work with fellow Council Members on the policies and decisions that
drive Sugar Land and will keep it a great city."
serves on Sugar Land's Planning and Zoning Commission and has also served on the
Sugar Land 4B Corporation, the Building and Standards Commission and the
A graduate of
Clements High School, Gandhi has a bachelor's degree in business administration
from Houston Baptist University and a law degree from South Texas College of
ASHOK GADGIL WINS LAMELSON-MIT AWARD
Ashok Gadgil has
won this year's $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation for his
pursuit to blend research, invention, and humanitarianism for broad social
impact. He was recognized for his "steady pursuit to blend research, invention
and humanitarianism for broad social impact," the Lemelson-MIT program said.
"His substantial efforts to benefit those less fortunate inspire everyone around
him to want to do more for mankind."
A physicist by
training, his inventions include safe drinking water solutions, a
utility-sponsored energy efficiency program and fuel-efficient stoves for
displaced persons in Africa. The Lemelson-MIT program estimates his inventions
have benefited at many as 100 million people in four continents.
"The award is a
tremendous validation and encouragement of what I have been doing for a long
time, to bring science and technology to people at the bottom of the economic
pyramid," Gadgil told Mass High Tech.
innovations range from safe drinking water solutions and a utility-sponsored
energy efficiency program to fuel-efficient stoves for displaced persons in
Africa. His solutions, which integrate science with cultural needs, have helped
some 100 million individuals in dozens of countries across four continents.
He designed UV
Waterworks, which uses ultraviolet light to kill deadly pathogens. The
technology, disseminated by WaterHealth International, produces safe and clean
drinking water at just two cents per 10 liters.
The technology has
provided safe drinking water to approximately five million people in Ghana,
India, Liberia, Nigeria and the Philippines to date, with plans for expansion to
INDIAN STUDENT IN
DUBAI TOPS ICSE WORLDWIDE
With 99.5% marks
in his Grade 12 exams, India-born Rohan Sampath became the ICSE topper
worldwide. Born in Mumbai, Rohan scored 100% in mathematics, 100% in physics,
100% in computer science and 98% in English, becoming the highest scorer in the
history of the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) examinations.
"My first reaction
was disbelief. I thought it was a typo. I didn't expect it," Rohan, a science
student of Dubai Modern High School, said in an interview.
Rohan has chosen
to attend Stanford University and study either economics or engineering. Private
tuition classes have no place in Rohan's study mantra, defying a trend among a
majority of Indian families.
NRIs AND PIOs NEWS FEATURES
VERMA LAUNCHES WOMEN EMPOWERED (WE) IN LONDON
Verma, Minister for Women and Equality launched Women Empowered (WE) in London.
A social initiative, it aims to empower women to make the best of their
individual skills and talents and help them achieve their personal and
Under the Atrium at
the Bright Courtyard Club in Baker Street, 120 attendees came together to share
inspirational stories of their lives and successes. The launch was attended by
high profile guests like Mayor of Amersham Cllr Mimi Harker OBE, Seema Malhotra
MP, MOBO Awards Founder Kanya King MBE, Dr Kamel Hothi; Business & Community
Director at Lloyds Bank Group among several others.
Baroness Verma said,
"The launch of WE shows that work still needs to be done to get a fair deal for
women in society. No society can move forward whilst treating more than half of
its population as unequal." She pledged her support to inspire those women who
do not have easy access to professional networks.
Remtulla said, "WE aims to provide women with a forum, a platform and a network
where they can find support, mentoring and inspiration. WE will support them
through the journey by putting them in touch with organizations that can nurture
their ideas and mentors who can assist in achieving those goals."
ROSHNI, THE LIGHT
OF SOUTH ASIA PUBLISHES SECOND EDITION
contributions of people of Indian origin (PIOs) throughout North America are
showcased in a second book in the series, Roshni, the Light of South Asia:
North American Edition. The book details profiles and interviews with 56
people of Indian origin in the United States and Canada who have found creative
and effective ways to give back to the community. It features leaders in their
fields as medical journalist and author Dr. Sanjay Gupta; political commentator
and author Fareed Zakaria; technology entrepreneur Naveen Jain; Cirque du
Soleil performer Raj Bhavsar; yoga celebrity Bikram Choudhury and many
Roshni Media is in
the process of accepting nominations for a third book, Roshni, the Light
of South Asia: the Global Indian which will highlight the achievements of
people of Indian origin in all far-flung corners of the world.
The Roshni books are
the brainchild of award-winning writer and educator Dr. Rashmee Sharma. "A
distinct lack of South Asian documentation irked me for years...It's my hope via
Roshni to reach the first and future generations by building a bridge to
communicate pride, strength and sacrifice of the first generation immigrants. My
intent is also to focus on enlightening and making younger generation proud of
our heritage and culture," Dr. Sharma said.
Roshni honorees are
nominated by peers and the public who admire them. Anyone can nominate a
potential Roshni honoree using the convenient form at
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
US IRS TO REFUND
CERTAIN 2009 OVDP PENALTIES
The IRS first introduced its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) in
2009. The program aimed to help people hiding offshore accounts to get current
with their taxes. While the penalty if discovered by an IRS audit was as high as
50% of highest aggregate balance in foreign accounts along with imprisonment,
the 2009 OVDP was offered with a penalty of 20% and waiver of imprisonment. In
2009 alone, the IRS announced collections of USD 3.4 billion vide its OVDP.
Subsequently in 2011, the IRS announced the second OVDP. This time, the highest
penalty was 25%. But there were also two lower slabs - 5% penalty and 12.5%
penalty, if the taxpayer fulfilled certain conditions. Since these slabs were
not offered in the 2009 OVDP, the IRS decided to refund penalties to those
individuals who, in 2009, would have been eligible for the lower penalty
The penalty refunds are based on certain
conditions which set the tone for IRS' policy on this matter.
Conditions for 5% penalty slab:
A taxpayer may fulfill any of these 3 conditions to be eligible for the 5%
penalty (that is, if you paid a 20% penalty, you may be eligible to get a 15%
1: The taxpayer had minimal use of the offshore account
In order to determine this, the taxpayer must
meet all four of the following conditions: (I) did not open or cause the account
to be opened; for instance the taxpayer inherited offshore accounts (ii) have
exercised minimal, infrequent contact with the account, for example, to request
the account balance, or update accountholder information such as a change in
address, contact person, or email address; (iii) have, except for a withdrawal
closing the account and transferring the funds to an account in
the United States, not withdrawn more than
$1,000 from the account in any year for which the taxpayer was non-compliant;
and (iv) can establish that all applicable US taxes have been paid on funds
deposited to the account.
Condition 2: Taxpayers who are foreign residents and who were unaware
they were US citizens
Condition 3: Taxpayer paid all taxes in foreign country
To be eligible under this condition, taxpayers must be foreign residents and
must meet all three of the following conditions for all of the years of their
(i) taxpayer resides in a foreign country; (ii)
taxpayer has made a good faith showing that he or she has timely complied with
all tax reporting and payment requirements in the country of residency; and
(iii) taxpayer has $10,000 or less of US source income each year.
For these taxpayers only, the offshore penalty will not apply to non-financial
assets, such as real property, business interests, or artworks, purchased with
funds for which the taxpayer can establish that all applicable taxes have been
paid, either in the U.S. or in the country of residence. This exception only
applies if the income tax returns filed with the foreign tax authority included
the offshore-related taxable income that was not reported on the US tax return.
Conditions for 12.5% penalty slab
Taxpayers whose highest aggregate account balance (including the fair market
value of assets in undisclosed offshore entities and the fair market value of
any foreign assets that were either acquired with improperly untaxed funds or
produced improperly untaxed income) in each of the years covered by the 2011
OVDI is less than $75,000 will qualify for a 12.5% offshore penalty. So if you
paid a 20% penalty, you may be eligible for a 7.5% refund.
How to claim a refund
If you participated in the 2009 OVDP and your case was closed with a Form 906
closing agreement, but you believe that you would be eligible for a lower
penalty as per conditions above, you can make an application including all
pertinent contact information (name, address, SSN, home/cell phone numbers), the
name of the Revenue Agent assigned to your case, and a copy of your agreement.
You can send this information to the office of the IRS.
PROGRAM FOR DIASPORA KIDS
Authorities from 40
countries across the world have invited applications from eligible candidates
for the "Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC) 2012-13". The last
date for submitting applications for the programme is June 10, 2012.
The admission is
open only to Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs)
from the specified 40 countries below. The SPDC programme was launched by the
ministry of overseas Indian affairs in 2006 for Diaspora children to study at
higher and technical institutions in India.
covers a wide range of subjects, including engineering, humanities, commerce,
management, journalism, hotel management and agriculture, agriculture/animal
husbandry, science, law etc.
List of eligible
countries: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Guyana, Hong Kong,
China, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia,
Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman,
Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Reunion Island, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South
Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Surinam, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago,
U.A.E., U.K., U.S.A and Yemen.
INDO-ARAB FORUM TO
HELP EXPATS START BUSINESS
Confederation Council, a socio-cultural organization working to strengthen
Indo-Arab relationship and welfare of expatriate Indians employed in Gulf
countries, will start an Expatriate Guidance Centre to provide direction and
guidance for the expatriates in taking up various entrepreneurial ventures.
The centre will also
provide assistance for the rehabilitation of Gulf returnees and to set up
various investment and industrial projects.
NOVEMBER TO BE
SIKH-AMERICAN AWARENESS MONTH IN CALIFORNIA
Assembly has passed a resolution declaring November 2012 as Sikh American
Awareness and Appreciation Month. The passage of the resolution in this regard
by the California Assembly has been welcomed by the influential Sikh community
of the State.
Sikh heritage deserve to be recognized for their significant contributions to
our state. They came here around 100 years ago and have made their mark in
agriculture, trucking, medicine, and technology," said Assemblyman Dan Logue.
Some 20 eminent
Sikhs community members were present in the Assembly when the resolution was
passed without any opposition.
Prominent among them
were Pashaura Singh Dhillon, who had initiated the move, Gurjatinder S
Randhawa (chairman NRI Front USA), Charanjit Singh Bath, M S Sandhawalia, Gurdip
S Nijjar, Nirmal Singh, Dr Onkar Singh Bindra.
ADDRESSES CONCERNS OF NRIs IN GULF COUNTRIES
Expat Ride, a book
by Mohammed Saifuddin, addresses many concerns of NRIs residing and working in
government is trying to bring NRIs under the tax net, through introduction of
the New Direct Tax Code, in place of old Income Tax Act. Concerns of the Indians
in Gulf about this issue are dealt by the author.
The book reveals
that the resident Indians not only outnumber the NRIs in wealth, but they are
almost double in numbers and their net worth is much higher than NRIs.
In 2011, the ministry of overseas Indian affairs established the Indian
Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) in the 43 Indian missions across the world, in the
countries that have a significant number of Indians. The "Expat Ride" author
explains how the Indian Consulate General in Dubai has used this fund to get
release of Indian prisoners from various jails. Lauding the consulate, the
author suggests similar steps by the Indian missions in other Gulf countries.
Those Indians who
are seeking jobs in Gulf countries are much prone to exploitation by the agents
at the recruitment stage itself. To curb the ill deeds of these agents, the
Indian government has made some amendments in the Emigration Act 1983 by a
Gazette notification in July 2009. The author describes these changes and how it
will affect the intending immigrants.
After facing almost
two decades of brain drain, the much developed India is now attracting its
brilliant minds to return back and settle down. The author discusses this trend
in an article "reverse brain drain".
"Expat Ride" is a
useful source of information for the people interested in exploring the real
life of expatriates in Gulf countries. This is a first attempt to write a book
on the subject of Indians in Gulf countries.
RAVI ASKS INDIAN WORKERS IN GULF TP AVAIL PENSION PLAN
Overseas blue collar
Indian workers in the Gulf region have been asked to avail benefits of the
recently launched pension and life insurance fund ( PLIF) scheme by India to
ensure their financial and social security. The scheme was launched as a pilot
project in Kerala.
Overseas Indian affairs Vayalar Ravi said the scheme is meant to enhance the
social security net and rehabilitation plans of poor Indians working abroad and
has several important features.
life insurance cover, the scheme, jointly managed by LIC, UTI and Bank of
Baroda, is aimed for workers holding ECR (emigration check required) passports.
It will help them save for old age and provide financial security," said
PILF is meant for
Indian workers aged between 18 and 50 years who have a work permit or employment
contract and whose passports carry the 'Emigration Clearance Required'
stamp. The pension will commence after they cross the age of 60.
Initially, a worker
has to pay Rs 5,000 to become a beneficiary of this plan. The government will
contribute Rs 2,000 from its kitty. If the person is a domestic help, the amount
would be Rs 3,000.
PLEDGE TO ADOPT HEALTHY LIFESTYLES
Several Britons with
origins in the Indian sub-continent pledged to adopt a healthier lifestyle to
prevent heart disease during a campaign event in west London.
organized by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and a community group is
targeted at Asians who have a high incidence of heart disease and diabetes in
The event held at
Southall - which has a large population of Indian origin - was organized in
association with the community group Ajivan, led by senior Indian journalist
gathering, Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham and Heston said, "If we don't change
our attitude and be more aware of such health issues then our next generation is
going to see the same happening to them."
Dr. Onkar Sahota,
the newly elected Member of the London Assembly for Ealing and Hillingdon,
emphasized that Asians urgently needed to think about their unhealthy lifestyle
and address the tendency called 'central obesity', one of the main indicators of
"Asians have thin
arms and thing legs and large tummies. They need to reduce their abdominal girth
by reducing the consumption of unhealthy foods and by taking up more exercise,"
GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION
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
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 half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and
GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all
major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the
world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website (www.gopio.net)
and get details of
chapter initiation (visit
http://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). Process involves sending
a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For
more information, contact:
Chairman - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail:
President - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York, USA, Tel: 718/939-8194,
Executive Vice President - Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, Tel: +973 39441956 or +91
9845756692, E-mail: Kulathakal@yahoo.com
GOPIO Senior Vice
President - Dr Piyush Agrawal, Weston, Florida, USA, Tel: +1-954-684-6494,
To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at
fill up the form and send it with a
check to: GOPIO International, PO Box 560117,
New York NY 11356, USA.
Dr. Thomas Abraham,
and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO Intl. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation
(Stamford, CT, USA)
Editor: Nami Kaur, Secretary, GOPIO International (New York,
Co-Chair GOPIO Media Council, GOPIO International (Guyana-New York, USA) and
Nilofar Pardawala (Portland, Oregon, USA)
Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India)
and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)
Contributors of this issue:
Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO Intl.),
(GOPIO-Virginia), Sat Sukhdeo (GOPIO-Upper New York), Sangeeta Ahuja (GOPIO
Health Council Chair)
Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail: email@example.com.
GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a
volunteer correspondent or reporter.