GOPIO Special Bulletin, December 18 2016
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GOPIO NEWS

December 18, 2016

A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)

Issue: XIV-12December 18, 2016
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In This Issue
FIVE INDIAN-AMERICANS ELECTD TO US CONGRESS, TRUMP APPOINTS INDIAN AMERICANS
GOPIO SCHEDULES ITS CONVENTION IN CONJUNCTION WITH PBD ON JAN. 5TH AND 6TH BANGALORE
GOPIO TO LAUNCH GOPIO INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN MUMBAI ON JAN. 10TH
GOPIO NEWS SPONSOR
MEA AND KARNATKA GOVT. GETTING READY TO HOST PRAVASI BHARATIYA DIVAS (PBD2017), JAN 7-9, 201
GOPIO TO LAUNCH DELHI/NCR CHAPTER ON DEC. 23RD
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
NRIs/PIOs ACHIEVE
NRIs AND PIOs NEWS FEATURES
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs and PIOs
GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION
EDITORIAL BOARD
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GOPIO is a community supported non-profit organization taking up issues of the Indian Diaspora and attempting to unifying the community in its common causes. Support GOPIO by becoming a Life Member or chapter member. Once can become Life Member online by visiting http://www.gopio.net/online_membership.html.

FIVE INDIAN-AMERICANS ELECTD TO US CONGRESS, TRUMP APPOINTS INDIAN AMERICANS

 
Five Indian-Americans Elected to US Congress, Trump Appoints Indian Americans
 
As a result of the US elections, five Indian Americans were elected to the US Congress.
 
Kamala Harris is the daughter of an Indian mother who emigrated from Chennai in 1960 and a Jamaican American father. She is a two-term attorney general from California, and created history by winning the US Senate seat from the state.
 
Pramila Jayapal won the Congressional seat from Seattle to enter the House of Representatives, the first Indian-American woman to accomplish this feat.
 
Jayapal entered the US Congress on her maiden try. Born in Chennai, she left India at the age of five for Indonesia, Singapore and eventually for the US.
 
Raja Krishnamoorthi was also elected to the House of Representatives.
 
Ro Khanna, a Democrat and former U.S. Commerce Department official whose parents emigrated from India, also won a Congressional seat in California.
 
Ami Bera was elected for a third successive term which makes him the longest serving Indian-American Congressman ever.
 
INDIAN AMERICANS SELECTED FOR IMPORTANT ROLES IN TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
 
In spite of being a Republican critic, Nikki Haley was Donald Trump's choice as US ambassador to the United Nations. Trump's nomination of South Carolina's 44-year-old governor, Nikki Haley, as US ambassador to the United Nations will be seen as a sign that he is ready to broaden his political base.
 
This cabinet ranking post ensures that Haley will become a powerful figure in world diplomacy.In this role, she will advise the White House on foreign policy issues and represent the US in discussions with other countries.
 
The daughter of Indian immigrants and the first woman tapped for Trump's cabinet, Haley will also inject a measure of diversity in a group that until now has consisted solely of white men.
 
President-elect Donald Trump also selected another Indian-American, Seema Verma, for a high-level post in his administration.
 
Verma, who has worked closely on healthcare with Vice President-elect Mark Pence in Indiana, will be the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, overseeing government health insurance programs. Since Medicare provides insurance for over 46 million retirees and senior citizens and Medicaid, which covers the poor, has about 60 million people enrolled in it, Verma's work will have a considerable effect on the success of the new administration.
 
"I look forward to helping him tackle our nation's daunting healthcare problems in a responsible and sustainable way," Verma said after Trump's announcement.
GOPIO SCHEDULES ITS CONVENTION IN CONJUNCTION WITH PBD ON JAN. 5TH AND 6TH BANGALORE

GOPIO will have its General Body Meeting and Convention Inauguration on January 5th and a full day conference on Jan. 6th. The venue is Le Meridian, Bangalore.
 
GOPIO Convention 2017 - Bengaluru, India
 
Detailed Program
 
January 5 - 6, 2017
 
Venue:  Le Meridian Hotel, Bangalore
 
GOPIO Meetings, Regional & Country Reports, Conference Program & Community Service Awards Banquet
 
5thJanuary 2017
 
GOPIO Board and General Body Meetings, Council Reports, Session on Issues and Challenges of Indian Diaspora, Convention Inauguration, Session on Art and Culture for the Diaspora and Welcome Dinner
 
11:30am - 1.00 pm    GOPIO Executive Council Meeting
Chaired by Niraj Baxi, President, GOPIO Int'l, USA
(Not Open to the Public)
 
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm     Lunch
 
2.00 pm -2.45 pm       GOPIO General Body Meeting (Not Open to the Public)
 
   Chaired by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman GOPIO Int'l, USA
   President's Report - Niraj Baxi, President
   Treasurer's Report - Kewal Kanda, Treasurer
   Foundation Report - Inder Singh, Exec. Trustee, GOPIO Foundation
   GOPIO Intl. Chamber of Commerce - Nitin Shah and Prakash Shah
   GOPIO Ambassador's Report - Sunny Kulathakal
   Conclusions - Dr. Thomas Abraham
 
2.50 pm -3.45 pm       Session "Issues, Opportunities and Challenges of the Indian Diaspora" (Open to the Public)
 
    Moderator: Inder Singh, Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation, USA
    Panelists: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman GOPIO International, USA
                   Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, Gujarat Univ. and Chair, GOPIO Academic Council, India
                   Dr. Asha Samant, Chair, GOPIO Health Council, Livingston, NJ, USA
                   Prof. Prasad KDV Yarlagadda, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
and Chair GOPIO Science and Technology Council
                   Dr. Sai Giridhar, Secretary, GOPIO Internationall Bahrain, The Middle East
                  
4.00 pm            -           Convention Inauguration
 
   Chief Guest: Hon. M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs
 
5.30 pm            -           Tea Break
 
6. pm - 7.30 pm             Session - India Soft Power and the Diaspora
 
8.00 pm to 10 pm           Welcome Dinner
 
6thJanuary 2017
 
Full Day Conference concluding with Finale Awards Banquet
 
9.00 am Conference Session Inauguration - Inaugural Address: Hon. Dr. Shashi Tharoor, MP, Former Minister of State for External Affairs
 
10 am to 5.30 pm - Conference Sessions
 
7 pm - Finale Awards Banquet with Dignitaries including Karnataka Governor and Chief Minister and others
 
Convention Hotel -Le Meridian Hotel, Bangalore
           28 Sankey Road, P B No. 174, Bangalore 560 052, India             
 
Deluxe rooms on single occupancy @ INR 5750 + 21% tax (inclusive of buffet breakfast and wifi)
Deluxe rooms on double occupancy @ INR 6750 + 21% tax (inclusive of buffet breakfast and wifi)
 
For reservation, contact Jen Varghese, Director of Sales and Marketing, Le Meridian, Tel:+91 80 22262233 / 22282828  M +91 9980014000  Fax +91 80 22262050 / 22267676, jen.varghese@lemeridienbangalore.com 
 
Convention Registration: Please register for the GOPIO Convention which includes the Welcome Dinner on Jan. 5th and Lunch and Finale Awards Banquet on Jan. 6th. The registration fee is $35 per person.
 
To register, 
Go online to:
www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/make-online-payments
Choose:
Make online payment
Select option:
Pay for items or services quickly and securely
GOPIO Email:
 
Registration for youth and young professional - Gratis. Register by sending a e-mail to Geroge Varghese at geevarghis@gmail.com.
 
For more information, contact: GOPIO Global Ambassador Sunny Kulathakal in India at 09845756692, e-mail: kulathakal44@gmail.com or Convention Convener Shaji Baby John at 09567471111, E-mail: shajibabyjohn@kingsgroup.co.in.
GOPIO TO LAUNCH GOPIO INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN MUMBAI ON JAN. 10TH 
  
GOPIO's General body Meeting on June 26th, 2016 adopted a constitutional amendment to launch GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC). It will be a worldwide body working within the GOPIO organization. The new Executive Council is business oriented and keenly interested to connect with businesses with India and across the world. The new chamber GICC will focus on some of Indian Prime Minister's initiatives such as Make in India, Skill India and Digital India. With our 80 chapters in 30 countries, name recognition and with our extensive level of contacts, GOPIO hopes to grow this new chamber as a globally networked business promotion group.
 
The new chamber of commerce will be launched in Mumbai at Garware Club in Mumbai on January 10th at 5 p.m. GOPIO's advisor Raj Purohit MLA is the chairman of GICC Launch Committee. Many dignitaries from Mumbai including several political leaders and head of corporate houses will participate. For participation, contact gopio@optonline.net.
GOPIO NEWS SPONSOR
  
Viiaan Realty LLP

Viiaan is a Real Estate company facilitating clients and developers buy & sell properties in Western & Central parts of India. Viiaan is preferred marketing partners to some of the best developing companies in the region. Viiaan also focus into development activities itself in the city of Mumbai with currently 3 projects in pipeline. Contact:
Viiaan Realty LLP,
2, Vireshwar Kunj, Tejpal Road, Vile Parle East, Mumbai, 400057, Maharashtra, India, Tel: +91 22 2610 5127, 


MEA AND KARNATKA GOVT. GETTING READY TO HOST PRAVASI BHARATIYA DIVAS (PBD2017), JAN 7-9, 2017
  
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will organize the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) from January 7-9, 2017 in Bengaluru, Kranataka, India. It will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 8. The President of India will deliver the valedictory address on January 9 and also confer the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards. The pre-conference seminars will also be organized on January 7 followed by plenary and panels sessions beginning on January 8. 
 
PBD has become a significant forum to connect the overseas Indians from all over the world and the PBD-2017 will be focusing on more connectivity with overseas Indians with a theme "Redefining Engagement with Indian Diaspora." Karnataka will be the Partner State of the 14th PBD, which would provide the Diaspora an opportunity to understand the vibrant culture as well as the business and investment potential of the State. More than 2000 delegates are expected to participate in PBD-2017 from all over the world.
 
Please see more details below or at https://pbdindia.gov.in/.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 Flyer

https://pbdindia.gov.in/how-register

 
DISCOUNT REGISTRATION FOR GOPIO MEMBERS
The Ministry of External Affairs has approved discount registration by GOPIO delegates to PBD2017 at 50% rate of $125. 
 
REGISTRATION DETAILS WHICH HAS SPECIAL MENTION & RATES FOR GOPIO
 

 
For all registering under GOPIO with Group code is # 5805c35dd6950, Proceed on the registration till you hit the page for payment. Save the document on the server itself. Then make the payment of $125 to GOPIO using your credit card through PayPal as follows:
 
Choose: Make online payment
Select option: Pay for items or service quickly and securely
GOPIO Email: gopiofunds@gmail.com
 
GOPIO will make a lump sum payment for all those registered through GOPIO International.
GOPIO TO LAUNCH DELHI/NCR CHAPTER ON DEC. 23RD
 
NRIs, former NRIs, PIOs and those with children/parents and siblings living abroad and have interest in the NRI/PIO affairs and staying in the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) are invited to attend the function at the India International Center on Dec. 23rd at 2.30 pm. Contact Chapter President and GOPIO Life Member Dhiraj Ahuja, 09717112272, globallinkoverseas@yahoo.co.in.
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS

GOPIO SYDNEY-NW ORGANIZES ANNUAL CARING AND SHARING EVENTG
 
The 7th annual "Caring & Sharing" event of GOPIO Sydney North West chapter was held on November 19th, 2016 at Bowman Hall, Blacktown (Sydney). GOPIO Sydney North West Chapter team has been conducting Caring & Sharing events for the last 7 years, raising much needed funds for the less privileged in India and Australia. The chapter has also supported the victims of Fiji cyclone and Nepal earthquake.
 
The GOPIO Sydney North West Chapter President, Prof. Balkar Singh Kang and his team - Sumit Joshi, Baljit Pelia, Parmjit Multani, Harmohan Singh Walia, Aman Singh, Neeru Singh, Amrit Buttar, Tia Singh, Sanjeet Hooda, Baljinder Singh and Ravi Singh have worked passionately towards the success of the 7th Caring & Sharing event. Such events are a result of the spirit, we all have in us to care for the less privileged. Therefore, the funds raised through these events become a symbol of hope for the needful. 

GOPIO-Sydney NW team 2016
Photo: GOPIO-Sydeney NW team 2016 from L - R: Aman Singh, Amrit Buttar, Raj Singh, Sanjeet Hooda, Sumit Joshi, Paramjit Multani, Harmohan Walia, Prof. Balkar Kang, Ravi Singh, Baljit Pelia, Neeru Singh & Tia Singh.
 
During the night of great cause and fun unlimited, there were scintillating performances from Shyamak Davar dance group, Phulkari group, Bass Bhangra group, Vinod Rajput, Jyoti Dixit and Dhamma Yoga kids; that kept the audience at the edge of their seats. Neeru Singh and Aman Singh, in their best attire, engaged the wonderful audience through their stage anchoring. Other attractions of the night, such as quiz prizes and Facebook photo competition attracted the zeal and enthusiasm of all the guests. 

 GOPIO-Sydeney Fundraiser 2016 Entertainment
Photo above: Entertainment for the evening

Generous offerings from the sponsors in Australia and the support of the dedicated individuals in India has made it possible for the team to extend a helping hand to  more than 3000 less privileged primary school children in India for the last 7 years. A few necessities that will be provided again to the primary school kids are - warm clothes, shoes, socks, sports items and other basic commodities as per the requirements of the remote area schools. This year, Caring & Sharing event not only raised funds for kids in India, and also gave donations to 'Salt of the Earth Production' for a film on Indian heritage written and directed by Anita Brar, Cancer Council, Heart Foundation and Tear Australia for the righteous cause. Caringly, funds were also donated to Manmeet Sharma Alisher's family in India. 

 GOPIO-Sydney NW Annual Frundraiser.Officials with Sponsors
Photo above: GOPIO-Sydney NW Organizers with sponsors

Sponsors of the evening included Kewal Kalra of Kalra Group, Sumit Joshi of My Loan Expert, Surjit Rahi of Khanna Khazana, Yogesh Manav & Jasbir Kang of Auburn Sapphire Function Centre and Ravi Singh. Additional sponsors were Fred Khurana of Ray White Quakers Hills, Fortune World Tour, Bathla Group, Winning Smile Dental Surgery, Granville Cellars, Lucky 7 Stores, Gurpreet Chadha & Aman Brar of G&A Roadline, Ripudaman Gill of Gill Roadways, Sanjeet Hooda of Gain Home Loans and Parmjit & Rosie Multani. Evergreen Photography and Rao Srini captured all the beautiful moments of the event. Special thanks to Umesh Chandra, Mrs. Usha Chandra, President GOPIO Brisbane Chapter, Harmohan Walia, Associate Editor GOPIO News, Jodi McKay MP, Member for Strathfield, Hon. Julia Finn MP, Member for Granville. Hugh McDermott MP, Member for Prospect, Mr. Rajiv Kumar Vice Consul, representing Consul General of India, Sydney for their gracious presence. 
 
For more information please contact Prof. Balkar Singh Kang (President), 0413789716 or Harmohan Singh Walia, 0402842375, harrywalia123@yahoo.com.au. Web: www.gopiosydneynorthwest.com.au
 
GOPIO - INLAND EMPIRE CHAPTER IN CALIFORNIA INAUGURATED
 
On December 4, 2016, the opening of another New Chapter, in Southern California, GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter, was inaugurated at the Mantra Indian Cuisine in Ontario, California.
 
At the opening were present, the GOPIO Chairman, Dr. Thomas Abraham, The GOPIO Foundation Executive Trustee Mr. Inder Singh, and the Gopio-International Treasurer Mr. Kewal Kanda. There were many supporters and Presidents and CEO of various organizations, Corporations, President of National Federation of Indian Associations, Ashok Madan, President of Chamber of Commerce in Artesia Parimal Shah, President of Rajput Association of America Rajinder Dhunna, ASEI Foundation Chairman Subba Gopavarupa, President of County of Los Angeles Indian American Professional Association Ramesh Ramnani, Executive Member of Indian Cultural Society of Los Angeles Manmohan Chopra, Executive Member of BAPS Swami Narayan Temple (Chino Hills, CA) Kanaksinh Zala, Finance Director of City of Hawthorne Rickey Manbahal, Yogesh Patel of ICS-LA, IT Project Manager Sof uperior Court of California Venkateshwar Rao Peddi, and Franchisee, 7-Eleven Stores Tarlochan Rangi, Chief Marketing Officer of ICB International Inc. Dr. Gurmeet Multani, MD, Dr. Atul Karia D.D.S of Sierra Gateway Dental Office, Madhur Shrivastav of Sunbelt Systems and Dr. Devdat Maheshwari of Vedic Temple of Montclair, Award Winning Fashion Designer Shekhar Rahate, Chair of Inland Empire IARCA Rajbir Bagga and Founder of EVP Technology & Innovation Piyush Malik. There were over 50 attendees at the Event and majority of them were from the Inland Empire Region.
 
The Foundation Executive Trustee, Mr. Inder Singh, gave a scenario of what GOPIO Foundation is all about and the many accomplishments since the establishment of GOPIO in 1989. Dr. Thomas Abraham, the Chairman of GOPIO Foundation, gave the New Chapter members of GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter, advice and explained what the goal of GOPIO International is "Think globally and Act Locally" and how GOPIO International does things differently from other Indian Organizations and is connected with the Indian Diaspora, throughout the World. He also discussed the GOPIO News Publications that reaches throughout the world.
 
GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham Installed the New Gopio Inland Empire Chapter, along with Inder Singh.
 
Executive Committee members are as follows: President: Vasu Pawar, Executive Vice President: Dr. Kanan Modi, Secretary: Ramesh Ramnani, Jt. Secretary: Dinesh Sharma, Treasurer: Rickey Manbahal
 
Executive Members: Rajbir Husson, Dr. Gurmeet Multani, Baljit Kaur Toor. Venkat Peddi, Shyamal Leonard, Taneja Husson, Bharati Lunagaria, Raj Lunagaria, Raj Bagga, Suren Sabkota, Atul Karia, Tarlochan Rangi, Chanel Beery. Deepicka Mehta
 
GOPIO Intl officals with GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter Officials  Photo above: GOPIO-Inland Empire chapter officials with GOPIO International officials
 
Ms. Vasu Pawar, shared information on the Inland Empire region of S. California, which covers approximately 27,000 square miles. All of West Riverside County, S. West San Bernardino County, and E. Los Angeles County, Cities like Pomona Valley through Palm Springs. Inland Empire has a population of approximately 4 million and in the 19th century was predominantly a major agricultural region, of Citrus, Dairy Farms, and Wine making. Now it's more of a Residential, Industrial and Commercial Development.
 
Pawar said that that our strength lies in the inexhaustible resources of our people. It is important that we renew that strength and create energy, to secure our Indian heritage, the pride of our nation and the people of Indian Origin. Our voices have to be heard. When we work together with our common values and principles and with confidence, we must reach our destination.
 
Pawar plans to make GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter, to be the biggest and the most productive chapter in the History of the GOPIO Establishment. The President of GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter, Ms. Vasu Pawar wishes to distinguish herself and her chapter, with uniqueness, and exceptional performance, and professionalism. She looks forward to the wholehearted support and participation of the community in the Inland Empire Region in making the GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter, a Chapter to be remembered.
 
The GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter President, Ms. Vasu Pawar, with a background in English Literature, Education, Finance, and Information Technology, started her carrier in the U.S., as a Systems Analyst and further transitioned into Finance.
 
She expressed that she has various projects on her mind, which address, Charity, Entertainment, Motivation and Strength to the Indian Diaspora. Life has to be better. The world is all Motion. We either move forward or backwards. There is no standing still. She urged everyone to participate in the many projects she has outlined. One of the charity projects that she specifically mentioned, is to open libraries in Villages, in Maharashtra, India, so kids from all neighboring villages could come to the library and read books covering economics, technology, science and math but not limited. She plans to duplicate that effort in other regions in India. Her plan is to have variety of books where even adults could indulge, like novels, biography, stories, magazines, reference books, and publications. It is important that we continue to establish and emphasize the value of education to the younger generation.
 
GOPIO-Inland Empire chapter  launch participants
Photo above: Some of the participants at the chapter launch
 
Pawar thanked everyone for attending the opening of the GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter, to accomplish a very important task to focus and address issues of our fellow Indians and to help each other, to bring recognition and fame to each and every Indian in our community, and to address values and principles, which guide us.
 
Contact: Vasu Pawar, President, GOPIO-INLAND EMPIRE, Tel: 909-389-8262, Email: vasu_b_pawar@yahoo.com
 
 
INDIAN CONSTITUTION DAY CELEBRATED IN OCEANIA REGION
 
Constitution Day, also known as Samvidhan Divas, is celebrated in India on 26 November every year to commemorate the adoption of Constitution of India. On this day in 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India, and it came into effect on 26 January 1950. 
 
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi made the declaration on 11 October 2015 on laying the foundation stone of B. R. Ambedkar memorial in Mumbai that 26 November will be marked as Constitution Day. This was declared on 19 November 2015 by a gazette notification. Constitution Day is not a public holiday.
 
The "Constitution Day" was celebrated in Oceania region, especially in Sydney, Canberra and New Zealand on 26 November 2016. Here are the highlights...
 
In Sydney, at the Indian Cultural Centre, the Consul General Mr. B. Vanlal Vawna highlighted how the Indian Constitution came into effect. The Consul General introduced Mr. K.P. Dandapani, former Advocate General Kerala High Court followed by his address on constitution of India through live video call. Prof. Balkar Singh Kang and Harmohan Singh Walia attended the celebrations on behalf of GOPIO.
 
A panel discussion on constitution was organised with Hon. Julian Leeser MP, Mr. Douglas McDonald and Prof. Kama Maclean. It was moderated by Ms Pallavi Sinah, noted lawyer of Sydney. The panel compared similarities between the constitutions of India and Australia.  

Indian Constitutiion Day in Sydney.Nov. 2016  
In the photo sitting L-R: Hon. Julian Leeser MP, Mr Douglas McDonald, Prof. Kama Maclean & Ms Pallavi Sinah.
 
In Canberra, the High Commissioner of India in Australia organised Constitution Day on 26 November at the office of the High Commission of India, 3, Moonah Place, Yarralumla and GOPIO Canberra Inc attended the celebrations. Panel Discussion was facilitated by Dr. Mohan Singh with Mr. Ajay Kumar, Deputy High Commissioner on Fundamental rights enshrined in Indian Constitution, Mr. Arvind Kalia on a citizen's perspective of Indian Constitution; First Secretary, Press Information and Culture and Mr. Nachiketa Jha on Indian Constitution and Human Rights. 

Indian Constitutiion Day in Canberra .Nov. 2016
Photo above: from l. to r.: Anil Gupta (Secretary GOPIO Canberra), Subhash Mohindra, Ravi Krishnamurti, ndian Deputy High Commissioner Ajai Kumar, Arvind Kalia & a panel member.

In Auckland, New Zealand, the Indian Constitution Day was celebrated at 54 Ward Street, Pukekohe and was organised by Indian High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli.

Indian Constitutuion Day in Aukland.Nov. 2016
Photo Above, from Left to right Manjit Singh, Narinder Singla, Mr. Mahesh Bindra (List Member of Parliament), Indian High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli, Mr. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (List Member of Parliament) & a guest in Auckland.

Constitution Day by GOPIO Waikato  in Hamilton
In Hamilton, New Zealand, Indian Constitution Day was celebrated by GOPIO team. In the photo from left to right: Mrs. Aditi Podder Das (Treasurer), Mrs. Jayanti Podder (Retired teacher from India, Senior Citizen wing), Suman Kapoor (GOPIO International Coordinator) Pradeep Kapoor (President), Jaspreet Singh (Secretary), Prashant Khanna (Vice President), Tarak Shah (Asstt. Secretary, IT support).

NRIs AND PIOs ACHIEVE


INDIAN AMERICAN STUDENTS WIN TOP PRIZES AT SIEMENS COMPETITION
 
Indian-American school students won a sweeping victory in the 17th annual Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology last week, bagging the top individuals and team prizes, and wining three out of six national individual finalist awards and the top award in a slate of six national finalist teams.
 
Vineet Edupuganti, a high school senior from Portland, Ore., won the $100,000 top individual prize while identical twin sisters Adhya Beesam and Shriya Beesam, both juniors from Plano, Texas, won the $100,000 grand prize in the team category.
 
The honors were presented at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in which 19 high school competitors - winnowed down from an original pool of more than 2,000 - were judged on their research in topics that addressed issues ranging from Alzheimer's disease to levitating cars, and from cancer to planets outside the solar system, the Siemens Foundation announced Dec. 6.
 
Edupuganti, a senior at Oregon Episcopal School in Portland, won the grand prize in the individual category for developing a biodegradable battery that can power ingestible medical devices that can track and diagnose conditions that affect internal organs. The Beesam sisters bagged the honor in the team category for their developing a new approach to diagnose schizophrenia earlier in patients with higher certainty using both brain scans and psychiatric evaluations.
 
"All of the judges, including myself, were very impressed that high school students - even juniors and sophomores - were able to produce such advanced research and with an extremely sound command of the science," said lead judge Megan Leftwich, assistant professor in the Department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the George Washington University.
 
"There was a real passion in what the students presented this year, as was shown by the depth of their research and by the relevance to what is actually being studied and valued in academia and society today. They looked at real problems today - and all tried to go a step further in their own journey and analysis. This was a very difficult group to have to choose a winner from," Leftwich said in a press statement.
 
Manan Shah, a senior from The Harker School in San Jose, Calif., got the $50,000 scholarship, winning the top position in individual finalist category while Prateek Kalakuntla, a senior from Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science in Denton, Texas, got the $30,000 scholarship in the same category and Pranav Sivakumar, a senior from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora got $20,000.
 
The top $50,000 scholarship in the team finalist category went to Nikhil Cheerla, a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif., and Anika Cheerla, a sophomore at the same school in Cupertino.
 
The competition is the nation's premier science research competition for high school students and seeks to promote excellence by encouraging students to undertake individual or team research projects.
 
THREE INDIAN AMERICAN RESEARCHERS ELECTED TO THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MEDICINE
 
Three Indian Americans, Mukesh K. Jain, Samir Mitragotri and K.M. Venkat Narayan have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine.
 
The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors. NAM works with the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions.
 
Mukesh Jain is the chief scientific officer at Harrington Discovery Institute, chief scientific officer at the University Hospitals Health System, chief research officer at University Hospitals Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute, the Ellery Sedgwick Jr. He is also the chair at the Case Cardiovascular Research Institute and a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio.
 
Jain has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Buffalo and a medical degree from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine. He served as a medical intern and medical resident at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Mass., and a chief resident at the Brockton/West Roxbury Veterans Administration Medical Center in Massachusetts.
 
Mitragotri is the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp chair professor in the chemical engineering department at U.C. Santa Barbara.
 
Mitragotrihas a Bachelor's degree from theInstitute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai and Master's and Doctorate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has published more than 200 works, and has invented over 100 patent/patent applications. In 2015, he was honored as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher.
 
VenkatNarayan is director of the Emory Global Diabetes Research Center and professor of epidemiology and medicine at Emory University's Hubert Department of Global Health, Atlanta, Georgia. He has served as the chief of the Diabetes Epidemiology and Statistics Branch at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and led a number of large U.S. national epidemiological, health service, intervention and economic studies.
 
He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, U.K., Fellow of the American College of Physicians and Fellow of the American Heart Association.
 
Prabhat Jha is a professor of global health and epidemiology at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Jha studied medicine at the University of Manitoba and earned his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. He currently serves on the editorial advisory board for the Demography India Journal and is on the board of directors at the University of Toronto Schools.
 
"These newly elected members are outstanding professionals who care deeply about advancing health and healthcare in the U.S. and globally," said National Academy of Medicine president, Victor J. Dzau in a statement. "Their expertise will help our organization address pressing health challenges and improve health, science, and medicine for the benefit of us all."
 
BRITISH INDIAN BUDDHDEV PANDYA INDIAN HONOURED WITH A 'LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD' BY A NATIONAL HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE BME NETWORK
 
Buddhdev Pandya MBE, Director of British Association of Service' was honoured with The EMBRACE AWARD 2016 and was presented at the British Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) by a national Health and Social Care Network on 29th October, 2016 at the Senet House, University of London. The event organised by the national BME Network was attended by the High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago and CEOs and Medical Directors of many trusts and other dignitaries. Others who were also recognised in various categories were leaders of communities, nurses, NHS Trusts and Regulatory bodies such as CQC.
 
Pandya who had helped to found one of the national and most influential India doctors' body in the UK received the prestigious award in recognition of his 'Lifelong Service' to Health and Social Care. Pandya, who has served BAPIO for almost two decades which was step for supporting the doctors in difficulties.
 
Mr Pandya currently is Director of Policy and Promotion and holds additional brief as Director for BAPIO Training Academy. He was involved in establishing a unique initiative - Medical Defence Shield and became its Deputy CEO to develop its infrastructure.
 
He has campaigned for many health care awareness initiatives and initiated a number projects including, an Indian Community Centre, a mental health home for black youths, Asian centre for elderly and women refuge and welfare care centres during his forty years of contribution to the public life.
 
MAANASA MENDU IS AMERICA'S TOP YOUNG SCIENTIST 2016
 
Maanasa Mendu's innovation "Harvest" won her the prestigious America's Top Young Scientist award, along with a prize of $25,000.  Harvest is a bio-inspired energy device that captures energy in the form of wind, rain and sun and converts it to power. This innovation was inspired by a visit to India where she discovered that many people lacked basic necessities, such as clean water and lighting.
 
Mendu is a ninth-grader at William Mason High School in Mason City School District and her scientific thinking reflected the competition's goal of applying science to everyday life by creating solutions to improve lives and strengthen communities around the globe.
 
Since its inception in 2008, the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in student prizes and paired students with world-renowned scientists to give them real-world insights and experience.
 
During the past three months, Mendu and the other nine finalists worked with 3M scientists to develop their personal inventions as part of a unique summer mentorship program. Under the guidance of Margaux Mitera, a 3M senior product development engineer, Mendu advanced her idea from a concept to a physical prototype.
 
As America's 2016 Top Young Scientist, Mendu is one of her generation's best and brightest scientific minds. With her innovative spirit, humble attitude and amazing drive, she is sure to make an impact on our world.
 
INDIAN AMERICAN PRADEEP GUPTA IS MAYOR OF SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO
 
On December 6, 2016, South San Francisco Council members nominated and voted Pradeep Gupta as Mayor and Liza Normandy as Vice Mayor. Gupta served on the city's Planning Commission for three years, before being appointed to the city council.
 
Gupta has been a mainstay in the biotech industry, specializing in the area of energy efficiency and long-term planning of electric utility systems. For more than three decades he has worked with electric utility industries, such as Systems Control Inc., Southern California Edison, Electric Power Research Institute, Decision Systems Inc., and Synergic Resources International.
 
Gupta has a Bachelor's Degree from IIT, Chennai and a Master's degree and a Ph. D from Purdue in Electrical Engineering.

NRIs and PIOs NEWS FEATURES

FIVE INDIAN AMERICANS AMONG AMERICA'S RICHES 400: FOREES
 
Five Indian-Americans figure among America's 400 richest people, in a list again headed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, according to the survey by Forbes magazine. They are Symphony Technology founder Romesh Wadhwani, co-founder of outsourcing firm Syntel Bharat Neerja Desai, airline veteran Rakesh Gangwal, entrepreneur John Kapoor and Silicon Valley angel investor Kavitark Ram Shriram.
 
Wadhwani is 222nd on the list with a net worth of $3 billion. He is the chairman of Symphony Technology Group that controls data, technology, healthcare and analytics companies.
Desai's company Syntel generates over $950 million and Desai ranks 274thwith a net worth of $2.5 billion.
 
Aviation entrepreneur, Gangwal is ranked 321st on the list with a net worth of $2.2 billion. He is the co-founder of InterGlobe Aviation, which operates the budget airline,IndiGo.
Kapoor, who ranks 335th on the list with a net worth of $2.1 billion, is the chairman of two drug companies - Akorn, which specializes in "difficult-to-manufacture" prescription drugs and Insys Therapeutics, which produces an opioid for cancer patients.
 
One of Google's early backers, Shriram ranks 361ston the list with a net worth of $1.9 billion. Since 2000, he has been investing in young technology startups through his firm, Sherpalo Ventures.

NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD

INDIA DEMONETIZATION ISSUE - Q/A FROM BLOGSPOT NRI BANKING AND SAVING TIPS
 

How do NRIs living in US/Canada/Australia/Japan/Singapore change their old currencies which are no longer valid?

Answer: NRIs would personally need to exchange the notes in India or authorise someone to do it for them. The foreign branches of Indian banks, both public and private sector, are not accepting cash outside the country.

If you are travelling to the country any time before the 30 December deadline, you can exchange or deposit it in your NRO account. If you are travelling to the country between 02 January and 31 March, you can visit any of the specified offices of the RBI along with the required documentation and exchange the notes.
If you have the banknotes in India, you may authorize in writing enabling another person in India to deposit the notes into your bank account. The authorized person has to come to the bank branch with the notes, the authority letter given by you and a valid identity proof to deposit the money on your behalf.

If the money is with you abroad, you can send the money across to India through someone trustworthy and authorize them to deposit it on your behalf.
2.

Can NRIs deposit all their cash in NRO accounts? Will it be taxable?

Answer: The NRIs can deposit their cash in the NRO accounts. All cash deposits of more than Rs2.5 lakh to a bank account until 30 December will be reported to the tax department by banks. It will then be matched with the depositor's income tax returns and suitable action taken.
3.

Can Indians currently travelling to foreign countries exchange old denominations for the local currency, as they have no other source for exchange?

Answer: Those travelling abroad will have to wait to return to India before they can exchange their notes. For now, they will have to use debit and credit cards, travelers cheques, etc. to buy local currency.
4.

What will happen in Nepal, where Indian currency is used? Can the government impose their policies on cash holders in another countries?

Answer: The Indian government is within its rights to demonetise the currencies. I'm sure the government will make provisions for the exchange of these currencies in countries where Indian currencies are legal tender. However, this will take time as some of these places are suspected hot-spots for fake currency entering the country and any exchanges happening need to be monitored carefully.
 
 
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 various countries.
 
GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and 2/3 of the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.
 
GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world, so as to network with people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have a chapter in your city, please visit the GOPIO website (www.gopio.net) and get details of chapter initiation (visit http://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). This process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more.  For more information, contact:
 
GOPIO Chairman - Dr. Thomas Abraham, Stamford, Connecticut, USA, Tel: +1-203-329-8010, E-mail: gopio@optonline.net
 
GOPIO President - Niraj Baxi, San Jose, California, USA, Tel: 408-307-9845, E-mail: president@gopio.net
 
GOPIO Executive Vice President - Noel Lal, Sydney, Australia, Tel: +61 417448293, E-mail: evpgopio@gmail.com
 
GOPIO Vice President - Ram Gadhavi, Wayne, New Jersey, USA, Tel: +1-973-699-8582, E-mail: ram@gadhavi.net
 
Execuitve Trustee of GOPIO Foundation - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail: indersinghusa@gmail.com
 
GOPIO's Global Ambassador - Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, +973-39441956, India +91-9845756692, E-mail: kulathakal44@gmail.com
 
To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit http://www.gopio.net/gopio_membership.html, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to:. GOPIO International, PO Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.

EDITORIAL BOARD

Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International (Stamford, CT, USA), (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editor: Nami Kaur, GOPIO Media Council Chair (New York, USA)
Associate Editors: Layla Matthew (Bangalore, India), Ila Rosengarten (Denver, CO, USA) and Harry Walia (Australia)
Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)   
Contributors of this issue: Suman Kapoor (International Coordinator for Oceania, Waikato, New Zealand), Vasu Pawar (President, GOPIO-Inland Empire Chapter) 

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: gopio@optonline.net.

Visit GOPIO's Official site at www.gopio.net or www.gopio.com