October 5, 2011
A Publication of the Global
Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
October 5, 2011
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GOPIO INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION
2011 TO BE HELD ON NOVEMBER 18-20 IN NEW JERSEY, USA
The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) invites
everyone to attend and participate at GOPIO's Biennial Convention 2011scheduled
to be held in Iselin, New Jersey, USA from November 18 - 20, 2011.
A planning meeting to kickoff the covnention organization was held on Saturday,
October 1st at the Royal Albert Palace in Edison, New Jersey. Over 30 peopole
attended this meeting which was organized by Dr. Piyush Agrawal, GOPIO's USA
Coordinator and Vice President (North America) of GOPIO International. It was
addrssed GOPIO Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Thomas Abraham. In attendance
were GOPIO chapter presidents and life members including GOPIO-Edison President
Arvind Sood, GOPIO Central Jersey President Dr. Rajeev Mehta, GOPIO Trenton
President Dr. Greesh Sharma, GOPI Upper New York President Sat Sukhdeo,
GOPIO-CT President Shailesh Naik and GOPIO Cultural Council Co-Chiar Jaswant
Photo above: Participants at
the Convention Planning Meeting held on October 1st in Edison, New Jersey.
GOPIO's conference on November 19, 2011 will evaluate, assess, debate, discuss
and deliberate on the current, critical issues of interest and concern that
confront persons of Indian origin of more than 25 million people living in many
countries outside of India. The overall theme is "Issues and Concerns of the
Indian Diaspora" and will
examine issues of: Consular services, property, taxation and related issues; NRI
marriages and abuses of marriage laws; issues related to health, women and
youth; challenges and opportunities for political and economic empowerment and
successful adaptation in adopted countries.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Executive Meeting (Not Open to the Public)
2:00pm GOPIO General Council Meeting:
Country, Chapter and Council Reports (Open to the Public)
6:00pm Reception & Dinner
Saturday, November 19, 2011
9:00am GOPIO Meetings
10:00am Session I: (Inaugural Session) Issues and Concerns of the
11:00am Session IIA: Consular Services, Property, Taxation
& Foreign Accounts Disclosures
Session IIB: Indenturedship, Indianness &
1:30pm Session IIIA: Health, Nutrition & Wellness
for the Indian Diaspora
Session IIIB: Issues of Abuses,
Inter-Generations & Women
3:15pm Session IV: Challenges & Opportunities for
Political & Economic Empowerment
and Successful Adaptation in
4:45pm Session V: Conclusions,
Sunday, November 20, 2011
10:00am GOPIO Executive & General
qualified speakers are invited to participate. Please contact Conference Program
Chairperson Ashook Ramsaran at firstname.lastname@example.org (tel
Registration fees for all events nominal $125 per person ($200 per couple)
except registered delegates from outside USA & Canada. Choice of all events or
selective events per registration fees schedule. Register on line via PayPal or
payment by checks. Make checks payable to GOPIO International at a US bank.
Contact Registration Chairperson Jaswant Mody at email@example.com (tel +1-732-236-7084).
and supporters are invited to participate. Contact General Convener Dr Piyush
Agrawal, at firstname.lastname@example.org (tel
+1-954-648-6494). Refer to sponsorship rates at www.gopio.net
Venue: Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel, 515 US
Highway 1 South, Iselin, New Jersey 08830 USA. Tel: 1-732-634-3600 (Toll-free:
Accommodation: Rooms at $99 USD per night
(including breakfast) at the Renaissance
Woodbridge Hotel. Tel: 1-732-634-3600 (Toll-free: 1-800-468-3571).
Dr Piyush Agrawal, General Convener at email@example.com (tel
Arvind Sood, Co-Convener at firstname.lastname@example.org (tel
Dr Rajeev Mehta, Co-Convener at email@example.com (tel
Dr Greesh Sharma, Co-Convener at firstname.lastname@example.org (tel
Jaswant Mody, Chair, Registration at email@example.com (tel +1-732-236-7084)
Inder Singh, Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org (tel
Ashook Ramsaran, Advisor at email@example.com (tel
Dr Thomas Abraham, Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org (tel
GOPIO SEEKING RELIEF ON
PENALTIES STIPULATED BY US TAX RULES ON FOREIGN ACCOUNTS
GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh met with US Congressman Howard Berman on September 1,
2011 soliciting his help for relief on penalties under Report of Foreign Bank
and Financial Accounts (FBAR) and Offshore
Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI)
schemes. Singh informed the congressman that the letters sent to the US
President and IRS Commissioner did not receive any positive response from the
Commissioner. Copies of both letters were provided to the Congressman Berman.
Inder Singh sought help
from the congressman on the following issues:
a. The current limit to report about someone having a foreign bank account is
$10,000. The limit of $10,000 was fixed several years ago, and if cost of living
index is applied, that amount could be as high as $50,000. He urged raising the
limit to $25,000 as most of the cases will automatically get resolved.
b. Waive the penalties if the money has been sent for supporting
parents or members of the extended family and is less than $25,000;
c. Waive the penalties for the inheritance or the money in the foreign banks
prior to migrating to the United States;
d. Exempt the temporary workers, such as H1B and L1 visa holders as they did
not know anything about the US Tax laws, their accountants never told them about
such laws and their employers, while offering employment never mentioned about
compliance of such laws in the offer of employment.
e. That even if a penalty were to be imposed, it should be on the income
rather than the highest balance from 2003 to 2010. Some people have sent money
for buying property, for investment or children's education. Once the money has
been invested, the balance left is small. IRS should not charge penalty on the
highest balance. After all, it was not money laundering but genuine transfer of
Congressman Berman assured Inder Singh that he would have his staff look into
various situations and extend help where possible and practical.
For more information, please
contact GOPIO International at +1-818-708-3885, Email: GOPIO-Intl@sbcglobal.net.
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND
GOPIO TORONTO TO HOST NATIONAL
EVENT ON 15TH OCTOBER, 2011 IN TORONTO, CANADA
GOPIO Toronto chapter will be hosting its first national event on Saturday,
October 15th, 2011 at the Metropolitan
Center, 3840 Finch Avenue East, Toronto starting at 5:00pm.
The events would include topics such as Canada India FREE Trade and how it will
affect the Canadians; Challenges in owning property in India; Role and
Contribution of Indian Diaspora in the Dawn of Global Entrepreneurship.
Latest Bollywood songs and dances, provided by Bollywood singer, Shweta Subram
and her troupe. Top Toronto D.J. will provide music for the Dance Lovers.
Reception starts at 5.00 p.m. and will provide ample opportunities to network
for business and to make new friends. Arrive early to secure the best seats in
the house. This exclusive event is offered at a nominal cost of $25. ($40.00 at
the door). Attendance is limited, so register early.
For hotel reservations
and participation, contact: Jay Banerjei, Program
Coordinator at 647-273-1119
(alt 647-979-3220) email at:email@example.com
INDIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY
CELEBRATED IN CONNECTICUT WITH FLAG HOISTING AT THE STAMFORD GOVT. CENTER
On August 13, on a picture perfect Saturday morning, almost 200 members of the
Indian-American community gathered at Stamford Government Center to celebrate
the 64th anniversary of India's Independence.
The festive event was organized by the Connecticut Chapter of Global
Organization of People of Indian Origin, GOPIO-CT, which included hoisting of
Indian and American flags, recognition of recent Indian High School graduates
and singing of Indian patriotic songs by GOPIO youth members.
The event in its fifth year is becoming increasingly popular with Indian
Americans from across Fairfield and Westchester Counties of Connecticut.
The American Stars and Stripes and the Indian tricolor were hoisted by Hon.
Mayor Michael Pavia and Dr. Jean Jacob, A Platinum Life Member of GOPIO
International. The Indian-American youth attired in their colorful traditional
Indian outfits lead singing of American and Indian national anthems.
Mayor Pavia proclaimed August 13 India Independence Day. India became an
independent nation on August 15, 1947. Speaking on the occasion, Mayor Pavia
praised the Indian-American community and its contribution. He also praised
GOPIO-Connecticut for organizing the event. He said that Stamford is a mosaic
that encourages all cultures and invited the city to join the Indian community
in the celebration.
Mayor Pavia and the GOPIO-CT recognized and honored three Stamford Indian High
School graduates from the class of 2011. Anika Advani, valedictorian of the
class, plans to study finance and international business at New York
University's Stern Business School. Eesha Mathur will attend Georgia Institute
of Technology to study biomedical engineering and Atisha Vaghji is planning on
attending school of architecture at the University of Connecticut Stamford
President of GOPIO-CT, Shailesh Naik, said the flag raising is a time when
Indian people from all over Fairfield and Westchester counties can come together
to celebrate their culture. He said that the land that gave us the
number zero and fractions, is rediscovering itself. More importantly, it is
working towards achieving freedom from poverty, deprivation, discrimination and
inequality of opportunity. Naik in his welcome address quoted Jawaharlal Nehru,
India's first prime minister at his first Independence Day speech in 1947, "Long
years ago, we made a tryst with destiny and now the time comes when we shall
redeem our pledge... At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps,
India will awake to life and freedom."
Louella D'Silva, board member of GOPIO, said. "The event provides us an
opportunity to keep our roots alive. It's great to meet fellow Indian families".
A bake sale was organized by the youth group to raise monies for Akshya Patra
foundation and was completely sold out.
For further information and upcoming events, visit www.gopio-ct.org.
Photo below left - Children singing Indian and American national anthems. Photo
below right - GOPIO Platinum Life Member Dr. Jean Jacob raising Indian glag
GOPIO-CT officials with Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia at the India Independence
Day Flag Hoisting ceremony in Stamford on August 13th, From L. to R.: Prakash Chakravarti,
Ritu Johorey, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Dr. Jean Jacob, Stamford mayor Michael Pavia,
Harry Arora, Shelly Nichani, GOPIO-Ct President Shailesh Naik, Louella D'Silva,
Anita Bhat and Meera Banta
For more information, contact Shailesh Naik, President, GOPIO-CT, Tel:
914-409-2552, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO WAIKATO CELEBRATES
INDEPENDENCE DAY WITH THEME "INDEPENDENT WE LIVE - UNITED WE STAND"
GOPIO-Waikato (New Zealand) Chapter celebrated India Day in Hamilton on August
13th. The theme was INDEPENDENT WE LIVE -
UNITED WE STAND. The program highlights included patriotic songs, Desh Bhakti
poems and dance cultural items followed by lunch with -South & North Indian
Cuisine served by Zyka Restaurant at Victoria Street in Hamilton (New Zealand).
Labour Party Member of Parliament Sue Moroney shared the joyous occasion with
people of Indian origin.
Photo above: Anubhav Yadav, Jaskirat
Bindra, Jaswinder Singh,, Suman Kapoor, Sue Moroney, Richa Khattar,Somnath
Gupta, Tarun Pragji,Minakshi Pragji, Pradeep Kapoor
GOPIO Virginia chapter celebrated 65th Independence Day of India on a grand
scale. The program was held on Sunday August 14th at Bombay Tandoor Restaurant in
Northern Virginia. . More than 100 people gathered to celebrate the Festivity
with joy and fun. Chief Guest of the program was Datta Padsalgikar, Community
Affair Minister at the Indian Embassy in Washington, DC. Special guests were
Virginia State Senator Chap Peterson, VA House of Delegate Mark Keam and
Maryland State Delegate Sam Arora.
The program started with 'Vande Mataram', Sung by Sumangala Bhandari. Flower
bouquets were presented to the Guest by Vibha Jhalani, Renuka Sharma, Anshu
Matalia and Attorney Sheena Gil. Program was MC'd by famous TV host Nilima
In his welcome speech, GOPIO Chapter president Jay Bhandari congratulated
everyone and briefly gave the history of India's Freedom from British rule on
August 15, 1947, becoming a sovereign nation. He told the audience that
many people sacrificed their life to achieve the freedom. He mentioned the names
of great leaders such as the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel,
Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Maulana Azad, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Chandra
Shekar Azad, Shahid Bhagatsingh and many more for their contributions and
sacrifice. Bhandari also mentioned that India is now capable of making almost
everything from needle to aeroplanes and rockets to nuclear energy to life
saving drugs. He also introduced the guest and recognized the community leaders
present in the program. Joint Secretary Pradeep Sharma gave the brief
information about the mission, activities and achievements of GOPIO VA chapter.
Chief Guest Datta Padsalgikar congratulated every one and told that India has
progressed a lot in 65 years and its GDP rate is above 8%. The relations between
India and America as a strategic partners are of great importance. The trade
between the two countries is now grown very fast. We have 100,000 students from
India in US for higher study. He thanked the Community for working hard to
maintain and to grow US-India friendship.
Senator Chap Peterson was very impressed about the relations between India and
US. He said that Virginia and Washington DC's growth has large contributions
from Indian and Asian community.
VA Delegate Mark Keam who was also the chief guest last year for the charter
presentation ceremony of GOPIO Virginia said that India and Korea both have
Independence Anniversary and both countries have similarities in many ways. Both
countries believe in peace and prosperity and are good friends and working for
the betterment of the humanity. He extended his full support and cooperation for
safety, security and education for the future generation.
On this occasion a felicitation was given to Dr. Surya Dhakar of Richmond and
Vice president of GOPIO Virginia for his nomination in the Dental Council of
Dentistry by Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell. Chief guest Datta presented a
bouquet to him.
Photo above: Singers, speakers, dignitaries and GOPIO-Virgina officials at the
Independence Day Celebration
A mesmerizing musical program comprises of patriotic songs was presented by "Sur
Sargam Sanch Musical Group" members VIbha Jhalani, Renuka Sharma and Sumangala
Bhandari. Tabla was played by Ganesh and Key Board by Sri Kumar. Audience had
given a standing ovation when the group sung the patriotic song "A Mere Vatan Ke
Logo Tum Khub Lago Nara, Ye Shubh Din Hai Ham Sabaka, Lahrao Tiranga Pyara".
Many community leaders and dignitaries attended the function including Ranveer
Singh Counselor at the Indian Embassy, Debupriya Datta Science & Technology
Counselor at the Embassy, Pannalal from State Bank of India, Dr. Prakash
Ambegaokar of Bridging Nations, as well as senior community activists Ram Singh,
Kumar Singh, Sunil Singh, Renuka Mishra, Walton Dawson and Yogendra Gupta.
The program was ended with a delicious Indian Dinner after vote of thanks and
National Anthem "Jan Gan Man".
GOPIO-DETROIT JOINS HANDS WITH
INDIA LEAGUE TO CELEBRATE I-DAY
Gopio-Detroit headed by Radha Krishnan joined hands with India League of America
(ILA) to celebrate the India Independence Day on Sunday, August 14th. ILA is the umbrella organization of
Indian Americans in the Detroit area collaborating with about 65
regional/language-based, professional, cultural and religious organizations in
Detroit area. As in previous years, it was a whole day event starting with a
procession by dozens of organization leaders, walking to the musical and
rhythmic beats of the drums. The attendees aligned themselves under the banners
of the different Indian organizations in Detroit area and the parade was led by
the officers of ILA and other associations, community and business leaders,
politicians, lawmakers and government officials, both local and State.
As in the past, the organization officials were highly successful in obtaining
many sponsorships from the local businesses such as Ford Motor Company, The
General Motors, DTE Energy, MacDonald's , Mercedes-Benz of Ann Arbor and BMW of
Ann Arbor to name a few. The event brought in about 110 vendors of Indian
clothes, jewelry, other Indian artifacts etc. from different states in USA who
kept open their colorful booths for about ten hours.
The typical huge attendance of more than 25,000 people made the event appear
like a "mini-India". India Day has been the largest event in Michigan which has
been show-casing to the American public, governments and media the Indian
culture, food, performing arts and business under one roof and the same day.
The daylong event includes un-interrupted cultural shows by the children from
the different Indian organizations in Michigan, intercepted by short speeches by
Mayors, Congressmen and other politicians and Government officials. Different
Indian restaurants serving delicious Indian food attract not only the Indian
population but the mainstream American public as well.
The event has been a feather in ILA's cap. and ILA can continue to take pride in
organizing one of the best and glorious events in the whole country, year after
year. This year the India Day committee was led by the ILA president Iqbal
Singh, India Day chair Ramesh Gudapuri, and ILA past present and GOPIO-Detroit
president Radha Krishnan.
GOPIO WAIKATO ORGANIZES
GOPIO Waikato hosted Dr Pushpa Wood, Education Manager from the Retirement
Commission on 30 June, 2011 at Celebrating Age Centre Hamilton (New Zealand). Dr
Wood conducted a workshop session with key community leaders who are actively
involved in working with senior citizens in the region. Dr Wood is President of
GOPIO WELLINGTON chapter.
'Financial literacy issues for the senior citizensin the ethnic communities'
with special reference to senior citizens of Indian Origin an open discussion
about the issues encountered in work and community involvement, as well examples
shared by the community leaders. The group also identified the type of
information and education needed to improve the financial literacy levels. There
is an opportunity for the Indian community to take some leadership in organising
some targeted financial literacy programmes.
One of the main spin-offs of this gathering was that a number of follow-up
sessions have been organised by various organisations including Refugee Support
Services. GOPIO Waikato has taken a lead role in initiating discussions on such
an important yet 'little talked' about topic.
INDIAN-AMERICAN ISHA JAIN
IS FIRST IN GLAMOUR MAGAZINE'S TOP TEN LIST
Harvard student Isha H. Jain,
daughter of Drs. Himanshu and Sweety Jain (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA) was on
the cover page of the October issue of Glamour magazine being selected to the
magazine's Top 10 College Women for her lifelong work in the biological fields
and involvement in Harvard's National Symposium for the Advancement of Women in
Science. Jain was prompted to enter Glamour's competition by her pre-frosh host
at MIT, who was also a winner of the award. Jain said her interest in science
was sparked by role model and Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, whose
articles inspired Jain as a seventh grader.
After her application was considered based on
a variety of qualifications including merit, leadership, and service, Jain
underwent a long interview process last spring.
The chemical and
physical biology major performed her first experiment in the fourth grade,
testing candy to figure out why some is chewy and some is hard. Since then, her
accomplishments have only gotten sweeter: At 16 she won $100,000 for her
research on bone growth in zebra fish at the Siemens Science Competition. Isha
has coauthored six published scientific papers, and she helped direct Harvard's
National Symposium for the Advancement of Women in Science. Isha's dream is to research disease mechanisms, and
help find cures.
STUDENTS NAMED 2011 DAVIDSON FELLOWS
Nine Indian Americans accounted for half of
the 18 bright young people recently named 2011 Davidson Fellows who exemplify
the extraordinary work that can be accomplished by students in the United States
when given opportunities to excel.
Based on their achievements in the fields of science, technology, mathematics,
music and literature, four of the Indian American students will receive $25,000
while the other five will receive $10,000 scholarships from the Davidson
Institute for Talent Development, a national non-profit organization
headquartered in Reno, Nev., that supports profoundly gifted youth.
The $25,000 scholarship recipients are Arjun Aggarwal, 16, of Columbia, South
Carolina; Siddhartha Jena, 17, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Caleb Kumar, 15,
of Blaine, Minnesota; and Sunil Pai, 17, of Houston, Texas.
The $10,000 scholarship recipients are Cheenar Banerjee, 16, of Rochester,
Minnesota; Jayanth Krishnan, 17, of Mahopac, New York; Anirudh Prabhu, 16, of
West Lafayette, Indiana; Shalini Ramanan, 17, of Richland, Washington; and Raja
Selvakumar, 15, of Alpharetta, Georgia.
Priyanka Menon, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, received honorable mention for her work
on "Indo-US Relations Through Philosophy and Literature."
To win his $25,000 scholarship in the category of technology, Aggarwal created
GNut-III, an Anthropometric Interactive Robot with Vision, Intelligence and
Speech. He found the lack of an economically efficient and functional human
robot has prohibited researchers from continuing to expand the field of
robotics. To counter this, the GNut-III is economically efficient and functional
for testing robotic algorithms.
In the science category, Jena demonstrated that the immediate effect of elevated
cholesterol is dysfunction of active water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide transport
by the red blood cells.
Using a spectrofluorometer and Zeta Sizer, he showed that exposure of red blood
cells to two compounds, ONO-RS-082 and glyburide, results in an amelioration of
cholesterol's detrimental effects.
Also in the science category, Kumar developed an algorithm that automates the
diagnosis of bladder cancer. The software is accurate, quick and inexpensive
compared to current methods, and has the potential to provide faster, cheaper
and more precise diagnoses of cytological diseases.
In science as well, Pai constructed an inexpensive, nanotechnology-based system
to determine quantum energies of superoxide. By examining oxygen in the liquid
phase instead of the gas phase, his potentiostat system can determine the
quantum structure for the electron attachment reaction of oxygen to superoxide.
This will offer new insights into biological and environmental processes.
In the category of technology for the $10,000 scholarship, Banerjee developed a
method for emotion detection by computers.
In the science category, Krishnan developed an approach to infer regulatory
mechanisms governing changes in gene expression and identified possible proteins
that induce cancer.
In mathematics, Prabhu established the first nontrivial analytic lower bounds
for odd perfect numbers. The search for odd perfect numbers is one of the oldest
unsolved problems in mathematics.
In science, Ramanan worked with Bisdemethoxycurcumin, a natural dietary
component of the spice turmeric, to test its effectiveness in treating
Also in science, Selvakumar developed the Gastro Microbial Fuel Cell. Based on
the microbial fuel cell, the GMFC generates electricity using gastrobacteria to
be used to power capsular nanobots.
INDO-CANADIAN CEO KAMA
GUPTA TO HEAD TOP IT BODY
Karna Gupta, a widely respected senior
executive with over 30 years experience in the Canadian and international
information and communications technology industry, has become the next
President and Chief Executive Officer of Information Technology Association of
Canada (ITAC). Gupta's last CEO role was with Certicom Corporation, a
Mississauga based encryption technology company. Gupta led Certicom through a
significant turnaround and also defended
the company against a hostile takeover bid. He
led the ultimately successful transaction which resulted in a friendly
acquisition of the company by RIM.
Prior to joining Certicom, Gupta was President
for the Real-Time Billing Division of New Jersey-based Comverse Technologies.
Under his leadership, Comverse became the de-facto leader in telecom billing in
emerging economies. He was also President of Sitraka Mobility, leading that
company from start-up to a successful merger in 2001. He also held a number of
executive positions with Bell Canada including Vice-President, Product
Development and Management.
"The future of our industry in Canada lies
with the business leaders who, in spite of a global recession, fierce
competition and constantly changing technology, are working hard to build the
next great global hitech companies," Gupta said. "In Canada, we need to do a
better job of improving their chances for success. ITAC is a respected and
influential voice in public policy and is also a dynamic and strong business
forum. I am excited to be working with our members to build a strong ICT
industry in Canada."
RAMSARAN HONORED AS ONE OF TOP
25 INFLUENTIAL INDIANS IN NORTH AMERICA
Guyanese born Ashook Ramsaran
of the USA was among nine persons of Indian origin honored at a very high
profile awards event held on Sunday, August 14, 2011 at the Sutton Hotel in
Toronto. Hon Dalton McGinty, Premier of Toronto, released the GLOBAL INDIAN
ORIGIN publication profiling the "Top 25 Most Influential
Indians in North America" and
presented GLOBAL INDIAN ORIGIN recognition honors and appropriately inscribed
awards to nine of those profiled as notable recipients. Premier McGinty was
assisted by Dr Roseann Runte, president Carleton University in Ottawa. Also
participating in this prominent event was Hon Preeti Saran, Indian Consul
General in Toronto. The event moderated by actressSupinder Wraich of Toronto,
Participants included members
of the organizing POA Education Foundation, the Global Organization of People of
Indian Origin (GOPIO International, Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) from the
Caribbean and India; Non-resident Indians (NRIs); members of the Greater Toronto
area and media.
The "Top 25 Most Influential
Indians in North America" is
another in the series of notable publications from GLOBAL INDIAN ORIGIN. The 25 honorees profiled in "Top 25 Most Influential
Indians in North America"are: Mr Vasu Chanchlani (Canada), Dr Ram Charan
(USA), Mr Sant Singh Chatwal (USA), Mr Bharat Desai (USA), Mr Gururaj Despande
(USA), Mr Bob Dillon (Canada), Mr Ujjal Dosanjh (Canada), Dr Aron Govil (USA),
Hon Gov Nikki Haley (USA), Dr Valluvan Jeevnandan (USA), Dr Aditya Jha (Canada),
Mr Asa Singh Johal (Canada), Mr Vinod Khosla (USA), Ms Indra Nooyi (USA), Mr
Deepak Obhrai (Canada), Mr Vickram Pandit (USA), Dr Sudhir Parikh (USA), Mr
Hasmukh P. Rama (USA), Mr Ashook
Ramsaran (USA), Dr C S Ranawat (USA), Mr Kuldeep Rai Sahi (USA), Mr Ram Kavitark
Shriram (USA), Hon Harinder Takhar (Canada), Ms Sunita Williams (SA).
The citation on the "Indian
Diaspora Heritage Award 2011" presented to Ashook Ramsaran states: "In recognition of his
outstanding contributions through broader community service and individual
achievements in numerous activities".
Ashook Ramsaran was
recognized for his many significant and notable achievements as an active and
versatile civic leader in the local New York community as well as the global
Indian diaspora community of Non-resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian
Origin (PIOs). Ramsaran is Executive Vice President of the Global Organization
of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) and CEO of Ramex, Inc an
electronics manufacturing company he founded in 1988 and based in New York.
Ramsaran's most recent and notably significant accomplishments include India's
prestigious 2011 Pravasi Samman Award conferred on him by the President of India
on January 9, 2011, and the success of his initiatives and collaboration to
establish the Kolkata Memorial which was unveiled on January 11, 2011 in
Photo above: (l-r) Hon Dalton
McGinty, Ashook Ramsaran
DR. INDARJIT SINGH MADE
MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS
Dr Indarjit Singh, OBE (1996),
CBE (2009) was honored with a Life Peerage and will sit as an independent Lord
in the House of Lords. When asked about his feelings on the award of a life
peerage, Dr. Singh commented: "I'm delighted
to be the first turbaned Sikh in Parliament. It gives me a new opportunity, to
do what I have always tried to do; to work with people of all beliefs to
increase tolerance and understanding and work for greater social and political
justice in society."
Dr Singh is the Vice Chair and founding member
of the Inter Faith Network UK, a national body promoting inter faith
understanding, and is Head of the Sikh Chaplaincy Service, which works for the
pastoral care of Sikhs in prisons. He is also the coordinator of
pastoral care for Sikhs in hospitals and in the Armed Forces, and a trustee of
the World Congress of Faiths.
Dr Singh has served on the British Medical
Association's Medical Ethics Committee; and was a member of a working group
which advised the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for
International Development on issues of third world debt and poverty relief.
Since 1984, Dr Singh has been a regular
contributor to 'Thought for the Day' on Radio 4's Today Program and has made
frequent World Service broadcasts. He worked on mining and engineering projects
in the UK, India and Dubai.
NATIONAL HUMING BIRD AWARDS
PRESENTED TO PIOs IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Prominent PIOs in Trinidad
and Tobago were among 56 persons conferred with various honors by the President
of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago at a National Awards Ceremony on
Wednesday, August 30, 2011 in Port of Spain. Among the honorees was Dr Kumar
Mabahir of University of Trinidad and Tobago, noted anthropologist, historian
and diaspora writer, who was awarded the highly prized Humming Bird Silver
Medal. Dr Mahabir was honoured for his loyal and devoted service to his country
in field of education.
Other PIOs recognized various
other categories are: Zalayhar Hassanali, Helen Bhagwansingh, Pundit
Hardath Maharaj, Errol Mahabir, Basharat Ali, Reverend Ralph Umraw, Deonarine
Jagdeosingh, am Kapoor Rampersad, Gladys Gafoor, Dr Noel Kalicharan, Ousman
Ali, sor Surujpal Teelucksingh, Ranjit Ramnarine, Kemchan Ramdath, Addison
Masefield Khan, Krishendath Ramoutar, Amarnath Kamal Rampersad, Pundit Hardeo
Persad, Esahack Mohammed, Hardeo Ramsingh, Derrick Sharbodie, Patrick
Jugmohansingh, Diana Mary Mahabir-Wyatt, and Brenda Gopeesingh.
INDIAN AMERICAN SHWETAK
NAMED 2011 MAC ARTHUR FELLOW
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation has named 22 new Mac Arthur Fellows for 2011, including Indian
American Shwetak Patel. Each recipient will receive $500,000 in
no-strings-attached support over the next five years.
Patel is a computer scientist who has invented
a series of sensor technology systems for home environments with the goal of
saving energy and improving daily life through a broad range of applications.
Much of his work to date has focused on the development of low-cost and
easy-to-deploy devices that can detect and measure household energy consumption
without an elaborate network of expensive instruments.
To allow residents to track their energy usage
down to the level of individual appliances and fixtures, Patel's distinctive
approach leverages existing infrastructure - such as gas lines, electrical
wiring, plumbing, and ventilation ducts - and requires only a minimal number of
small, wirelessly connected sensors attached to the central hookup of each of
these utility sources. When coupled with a machine learning algorithm that
analyzes patterns of activity and the signature noise produced by each
appliance, the sensors enable users to measure and disaggregate their energy and
water consumption and to detect inefficiencies more effectively.
In addition to the resource conservation
applications of his sensor systems, Patel is also exploring their potential for
home security or elder care, as they serve the related function of sensing human
activity and monitoring movement throughout a building's rooms. While
envisioning cutting-edge new tools to address pressing social challenges and to
make the buildings we live in more responsive to our needs, Patel devises
elegant, simple solutions that dramatically reduce the cost of implementation.
Patel received a B.S. (2003) and a Ph.D.
(2008) from Georgia Institute of Technology. Since 2008, he has been an
assistant professor in the Departments of Computer Science and Engineering and
Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington.
MacArthur Fellowships come without stipulations or reporting requirements and
offer Fellows unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and
explore. The unusual level of independence afforded to Fellows underscores the
spirit of freedom intrinsic to creative endeavours. The work of MacArthur
Fellows knows neither boundaries nor the constraints of age, place, and
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs
AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
INDIA GOVT. NODS FOR LENDING
$200,000 TO NRIs AND PIOs IN RUPEE TERMS
The Reserve Bank of India has allowed Indians to lend up to USD 2 lakh in rupee
in a fiscal yearto NRIs and PIOs, who are their close relatives, for personal
purpose or business activities other than agriculture, real estate or relending
"The extant position has been reviewed and it has been decided to permit a
resident individual to lend to a Non- Resident Indian (NRI)/Person of Indian
Origin (PIO) close relative...," the central bank said in a notification.
It said residents can avail of the new rules, subject to the condition that "the
loan amount should be within the overall limit under the Liberalised Remittance
Scheme of USD 200,000 per financial year available for a resident individual."
Besides, the loan should be free of interest and with a minimum maturity of one
In addition, the loan should be utilized for meeting the borrower's personal
requirements or for his own business purposes in India.
"The loan shall not be utilized, either singularly or in association with other
person, for any of the activities in which investment by persons resident
outside India is prohibited," the notification said.
The prohibited areas include the chit fund business, agricultural or plantation
activities, real estate business, or construction of farm houses and trading in
Transferable Development Rights (TDRs).
"For the purpose... real estate business shall not include development of
townships, construction of residential /commercial premises, roads or bridges,"
According to the notification, the loan amount is not allowed to be remitted
In another notification, the apex bank allowed resident individuals to gift up
to USD 200,000 per fiscal in rupees to their NRI close relatives.
The central bank's latest move comes a day after it liberalized the foreign
exchange rules and allowed NRIs to hold joint account with Indian residents.
NRIs DEMAND PROVISION FOR
NOMINATING REPRESENTATIVES TO INDIAN PARLIAMENT
London based Indian Overseas Congress has urged Indian government to make
Constitutional provision for nominating a representative of non-resident Indians
to the country's Parliament.
"NRIs holding Indian passports must have their representative in the Parliament
and the Indian Government must make constitutional provision for it," said D L
Kalhan, President of Indian Overseas Congress (London) UK. He made the remarks
at a reception hosted in honor of Gulchain Singh Charak, permanent invitee to
Congress Working Committee and in-charge of Punjab, Chandigarh and Bihar
Kalhan regretted that no one was paying any heed to tap NRI voting or the
influence they could have back home. Answering a question regarding the demand
for NRI representation in Indian parliament, Charak said the matter needed a
thorough study and he would take it up with the concerned authorities.
Virendra Sharma, leading Labour MP; Manjit Lit, Chairman of the IOC; Councillor
Sunil Chopra, General Secretary of IOC; Councillor Ajmer Dhillon, senior Vice
President of the IOC and
Councillor Satpal Parmar, also spoke on the occasion.
NRIs GUIDE TO DEAL WITH
Buying a property in India is a decision that most NRIs can take after weighing
the pros and cons of various tax and regulatory implications. But getting a
property as inheritance is often not a choice, especially for first generation
NRIs and PIOs whose parents bequeath to them, property situated in India. In
such cases, NRIs must know how to deal with such inheritances.
Columnist Deepa Venkartraghavan has written a series of articles on NRIs guide
to buying and selling properties in India and has been posted at Times of India
website. The latest article is on NRIs Guide to Deal with Inherited Properties.
To read this article, visit the Times of India website athttp://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/nri/other-news/NRIs-guide-to-deal-with-inherited-property/articleshow/9983461.cms.
NRIs CAN NOW OPEN JOINT
ACCOUNTS WITH RESIDENT INDIAN
the foreign exchange rules, the Reserve Bank has allowed NRIs to hold joint
account with Indian residents, a move that would help increase remittances. The
central bank has also permitted sale proceeds of foreign investments in India to
accrue to NRE/FCNR accounts after tax deductions, under the Foreign Exchange
Foreign Currency Non-Resident (FCNR) account and Non-Resident External (NRE)
account are opened by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) with the Indian banks.
As per the recommendations of the committee constituted to review facilities
available under FEMA, the central bank has taken such steps.
RBI has allowed residents of India to include non-resident close relative in
their resident bank accounts on 'former or survivor' basis. However, such
non-resident relative shall not be eligible to operate the account during
resident's lifetime, it said in a notification.
It also permitted NRIs to open NRE/FCNR account with their resident close
relative. In this case, the resident relative can operate the account as a power
of attorney holder.
Similarly, the central bank has doubled the slab under which securities worth
USD 50,000 per fiscal can be transferred by resident Indians to non-resident
individuals 'by way of gift' from the present level of USD 25,000.
RBI has also allowed resident individuals to include resident close relative in
their EEFC (Exchange Earners Foreign Currency) or RFC (Resident Foreign
Currency) as a joint account holder.
RBI ALLOWS RESIDENTS TO PAY
HOUSING LOANS OF NRI RELATIVES
Reserve Bank has allowed resident individuals to repay housing loans in rupee on
behalf of their close relatives, who are non-resident Indians (NRIs) or People
of Indian origin (PIO).
"..It has been decided that where an authorized dealer (bank) in India has
granted loan to a non-resident Indian..., such loans may also be repaid by
resident close relative of the non-resident Indian by crediting the borrower's
loan account through the bank account of such relative," the apex bank said in a
However, this repayment facility is restricted to housing loan only, it noted.
In another circular, the central bank allowed resident individuals to pay for
medical expenses of their non-resident close relatives, who are on visit to
Presently, a resident individual can pay bills of their NRI kins for boarding,
lodging, travel to and from and within India.
INDIAN EMBASSY IN ABU DHABI
LAUNCHES WEB-BASED ATTESTATION FOR INDIAN WORKERS RECRUITING
The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi will launch a web-based attestation system of
employment documents for recruiting Indian workers for employment in the UAE on
August 25 on a trial basis,
The embassy requested all foreign employers wishing to recruit Indian citizens
as employees to register themselves on www.uaeindians.org/recruitment. Currently, the job
contracts of Indian workers carrying the passports with 'Emigration Clearance
Required' stamp [those who have not passed matriculation] have to be attested by
the Indian Protector of Emigrants [an Indian authority] and the Indian Embassy.
But the unscrupulous agents make separate [fake] contracts for the above
mentioned two authorities to get around the rules and regulations. However there
was no system to detect the discrepancy between the contracts submitted with the
The new online attestation system is expected to stop the practice of making
GOVT. OF INDIA'S SPECIAL CELL
TAKES UP ISSUES OF INDIAN WORKERS ABROAD
recently set up special cell takes up parliament members' complaints regarding
problems faced by Indian workers aboard, the government announced recently.
"A cell has been set up in the recent past. Any complaints by the MPs are
addressed by the secretary," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said
replying to questions in the Rajya Sabha regarding 17 Indian laborers stranded
He was replying
to a suggestion for setting up a special cell to address situations where Indian
workers face difficulties abroad.
"Usually the workers face difficulties, but they are not able to get in touch
with the ambassador there. They then approach their families, which approach MPs
or MLAs (legislators) and then we come to the minister," Congress member P.J.
Some other members also suggested a mechanism to be developed in India, wherein
the families of the workers can approach authorities.
The minister first said he will consider the suggestion but later said the
overseas Indian affairs ministry was already there to take care of the issue.
Replying to the question on 17 Indian workers from Jharkhand being stranded in
Malaysia after being denied the promised wages, the minister said the workers
were with the Indian high commission in Kuala Lumpur and the issue was being
taken up by the authorities.
INDIAN STUDENT VISA
APPLICATIONS TO AUSTRALIA DROPPED BY 63%
recorded a drop of almost 63 per cent in offshore international student visa
applications from India in the last financial year, according to latest official
The figures also show an overall drop of 20 per cent in the offshore
international student visa applications, media reports said on Wednesday.
The Indian market has been the hardest hit by the fall in offshore applications
with a drop of 63 per cent. The June month Immigration Department's quarterly
report on the student visa programme revealed that the number of offshore
applicants from India dropped from 18,514 in the 2009-10 financial year to just
6875 in the 2010-11 financial year.
Apart from this even applications from China, Australia's largest source country
for international students, also dropped 24.3 per cent.
University higher education expert Simon Marginson said the drop showed the
sector was still a way off from a recovery. "[There is] no sign that we have yet
reached the bottom of the curve," he said.
Marginson said the steep drop-off in offshore applications was largely because
of federal government changes to the visa criteria and skilled migration list.
"Demand for Australian education in India always was relatively soft and the
elimination of the migration-related industry run through education agents, plus
the image problems triggered by the violence, has permanently depressed the
prospects of recruitment in that country," he said.
Professor Marginson said the drop in applications from Vietnam - down 31 per
cent - and China was of greater concern.
"China and south-east Asia are our core markets [and] far more worrying is the
defection of part of the student market in China and Vietnam, where demand is
more education-centerd, and the quality of students coming to Australia has been
higher than those coming from India," he said.
US ISSUES NON-IMMIGRATION
VISAS TO HALF A MILLION INDIANS EVERY YEAR
As per media
report, one half million Indians are issued non-immigration visa to visit
America every year whereas 800,000 Americans travel to India each year. Last
year, Indian citizens were the largest group of people receiving H1B and L
visas. As many as 100,000 Indian students are studying in the US universities.
INDIA GOVT. CANCELS PIO
Manmohan Singh during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in 2006 announced the setting
up of a multi-disciplinary university with seats for PIO children. The Manipal
Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) was selected by the Ministry of Overseas
Affairs (MOIA) to set up Rs 600 crore university. MAHE Trust had planned to
start this university by 2012.
was challenged by Charitable Educational & Welfare Society (Kadammanitta),
Kerala and Kerala state filed a writ petition in the Kerala High Court. As per
media reports, MOIA has informed MAHE that the government does not want to
proceed with the project at this time,
Most of the
universities in India function under the guidelines of University Grants
Commission (UGC). MAHE Trust which was authorized to set up the PIO university
felt that the proposed PIO University should be established under a new Act of
already acquired land for the purposed university. The multi-disciplinary
university was expected to be self-financed. The university was supposed to
reserve 50 per cent of the seats for PIOs, 15 per cent for NRIs and the rest for
Indian students. It had planned to offer courses in engineering, information
technology, humanities, biotechnology and Masters in Business Administration.
term plan included a medical college with 100 seats, attached to a
multi-specialty hospital. Manipal has already been running institutions in
Nepal, Malaysia and Antigua in the Caribbeans.
INDIA GOVT. CONSIDERING
CHANGING NAME TO OICS
After a long
and hard struggle by GOPIO, government of India agreed to issue a 20-year "PIO"
visa to overseas citizens of Indian origin. The relentless pursuit by GOPIO to
obtain dual citizenship, resulted in the grant of another type of card,
popularly known as Overseas citizen of India (OCI). The holder does not have any
political rights nor is he considered citizen of India residing overseas. OCI,
to a common person, guarantees lifetime visa to visit India and without
On January 8,
2011, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his inaugural speech at the PBD
2011, announced to merge the two schemes into one. The Union home ministry
manages the OCI scheme and has suggested that nomenclature OCI be changed to OIC
(Overseas Indian Card). Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs recommended the name
to be 'OICS' (Overseas Indian Card Scheme) which has been recommended to the
Cabinet for approval and amendment to the Citizenship Act.
As per the
Citizenship of India Act, an OCI card holder is eligible to apply for Indian
citizenship five years after obtaining the OCI card provided he resides in India
for one year out of the five years.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN
VIRGINIA UNER PROBE FOR VISA FRAUD
On July 28,
2011, government officials from different federal agencies including Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided
the Annandale campus of the University of Northern Virginia (UNVA) and took away
with them a large number of boxes full of documents and computer hard drives.
The raid was conducted by law enforcement agencies on suspected charges of
alleged visa fraud.
investigation by The Chronicle found that the university was
exploiting U.S. visa loopholes to admit foreign students. Like Tri-Valley
University in Southern California, nearly all the students numbering over 2000
are in the United States on visas, and the vast majority are from India. The
Tri-Valley has been closed since then.
GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND
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 India.
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:
GOPIO Chairman - Inder
Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: 818-708-3885, E-mail: email@example.com
GOPIO President - Lord
Daljit Rana, UK, Tel: +44 28-9807-8787, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO Executive Vice
President - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York City, Tel: 718/939-8194,
To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at http://gopio.net/online_membership.htmor fill up the form and send
it with a check to: GOPIO International, PO Box
560117, New York NY 11356, USA.
Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder
President and Chairman Emeritus, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO Executive
Vice President (New York, USA)
Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad,
India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)
Contributors of this
Singh (GOPIO Intl., USA), Suman
Jay Banerjei (GOPIO-Toronto),
Shailesh Naik (GOPIO-CT, USA), Dr. Piyush Agrawal (GOPIO Intl., USA), Ashok
Motwani (Mumbai, India) and Radha Krishnan (Detroit, 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: email@example.com.