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January 3, 2017

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

Issue: XV-1January 3, 2017
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The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) is hosting its convention on 5th and 6th of January, 2017 at Hotel Le Meridien, Bengaluru in conjunction with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conducted by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. This convention in Bengaluru attracts investors, political functionaries, business leaders from India and abroad and would be an important milestone which will chart out a course of action for the future. 
GOPIO, founded in New York in 1989, has been serving the 30 million global Indian community for the last 27 years. GOPIO serves as an effective platform to channel NRI/PIO talents and investments to India their motherland. Over the years, GOPIO has taken up issues of civil rights and human rights violations of the Indian Diaspora around the world and are pleased to say that our communities have joined the political mainstream in many of the Diaspora countries. The philanthropic and social causes undertaken by GOPIO among the needy and distressed NRIs and PIOs are acclaimed by one and all. 
GOPIO will have its Executive Council and General Body Meetings followed by a session on major issues and prospects of the Indian Diaspora community (NRIs/PIOs). The convention will be formally inaugurated by Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shri. M.J. Akbar. 
On 6th starting at 10.00 a.m., five sessions will be held on Indian Women, Rural Development, GOPIO Intl Chamber of Commerce, Opportunities in Start-up/Make in India and Digital and India, Start-up Pichathon and Diaspora Direct Investment.The formal part of the convention will end with a Valedictory Session and Excellence Awards Starting at 7 p.m.,GOPIO Community Service Awards will be presented at the Finale Banquet event. 


It is with great pleasure we invite you to the GOPIO Global Convention 2017.
GOPIO Convention 2017 - Bengaluru, India
Venue:  Le Meridian Hotel, Bangalore


Day 1 - Thursday, 5 January, 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 International Bahrain, The Middle East
     Dr. Mohan Jain, Chairman, India Development Coalition, Chicago, IL, USA
4.00 pm - 6.00 pm:    Convention Inauguration
Minister M.J. Akbar 
Chief Guest: Hon. M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs, Govt. of India

Keynote Speech    :               Sri. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
Presided by:                          Hon'ble Justice Gopala Gowda, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India
Felicitation Speech:       Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman GOPIO Intl
                                    Sri. Niraj Baxi, President, GOPIO Intl
                                    Sri. Noel Lal, Exec. VP, GOPIO Intl.
Sri. Raj K. Purohit, MLA, Chief Whip - Maharashtra Legislative Assembly
Sri. Sunny Kulathakal, Global Ambassador, GOPIO
Sri. Isaac John, Middle East Co-ordinator, GOPIO
6.00 pm - 8.00 pm              Cultural Programme
9.00 pm - 10.00 pm            Welcome Dinner
Day 2 -  Friday, 6 January, 2017
10.00 am  - 11.00 am  Session 1 - Indian Women. Global Living.
Dr. Arathi Krishna, Dy. Chairman, NRI Forum, Karntaka
Smt. Geetha Kannan, Managing Director, Anita Borg Institute
Smt. Geetha Varghese, (Ex. State Bank of India - CSR)
Smt. Rini Johar, (USA)
Moderator: Dr. Neeraja Gupta, GOPIO
11.00 am - 12.00 noon    Session 2 - Representing Indian Capabilities for the Rural and Under Privileged.
Introduction: Sri. Maaney Paul, Motivation Trainer & Corporate Consultant
Lord Daljit Rana , Former President GOPIO International
Sri. Inder Singh, Chairman, GOPIO Foundation
Sri. Thomas Mattackal, Industrialist, New Jersey, USA.
Dr. Abraham M. George, Founder, Shanthi Bhavan Education Trust
Moderator: Adv. Sivan Madathil, GOPIO Human Rights Chairman
12.15 pm - 1.00 pm         Session 3 - GOPIO Chamber of Commerce
An Introduction to GICC -  A new beginning for GOPIO.
Sri. Niraj P. Baxi, President, GOPIO Intl.
Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO Intl.
Sri. Nitin Shah & Sri. Prakash Shah, Co-chair persons, GOPIO Business Council
Sri. Raj K. Purohit, MLA, Chief Whip - Maharashtra Legislative Assembly
Sri. M.K. Ramachandra, Former President, Chamber of Commerce, Bangalore
Sri. Kurien Abraham, Managing Editor Dhanam Magazine

2.00 pm - 2.30 pm       Session 4 - Startup India. Make in India to Digital India.
Indian Startup Eco System is the World's 3rd largest & fastest growing.
Sri. Prashant Gupta, Director of Cloud Division, Microsoft
Sri. Sidharth Blachandran, Leader, Airbus Bizlabs
Smt. Shanti Mohan, Lets Venture
Moderator: Sri. Rajesh Johnny, GOPIO Program Convener
3.00 pm - 4.30 pm       Session 4 - Startup Pichathon
Sri. P.C. Cyriac, IAS (Retd.), Former Chief Secretary to Tamilnadu
Sri. Varadarajan Krishna (The 100 Open Startups Movement)
Sri. Neeraj Baxi, President, GOPIO International
Sri. Shaji Baby John, Int'l Co-ordinator for South Asia -GOPIO
5:00 pm- 6.30 pm            Session 5 - Diaspora Direct Investment Opportunity and
Investment Options in India 
Guest of Honor: Sri. K.J. George, Minister for Bengaluru Devt. & Town Planning
Dr. Christy Fernandez, IAS (Retd), Chairman, KSIDC
Dr. Ruby Dhalla (Former MP & Business Leader, Canada
Sri. Noel Lal, Executive VP, GOPIO, Australia
Moderator- Sri. Shaji Baby John, Regional Coordinator for South Asia

Dignitaries (invited)
Vajubhai Vala, Siddaramaiah and Prof. P.J.Kurien 
Photo above: Governor Vajubhai Vala, Chief Minister S. Siddaramaiah and Deputy Speaker Prof. P.J. Kurien

7.00 pm                       GOPIO GLOBAL CONVENTION - Valedictory Session & Excellence Awards
Sri. P.J. Kurian, Deputy Speaker, Rajyasabha
Hon'ble Vajubhai Vala, Governor of Karnataka
Sri. S. Siddaramaiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka
K.J. George, Minister for Bengaluru Devt. & Town Planning
Dr. J. Alexander IAS (Retd.), Former Minister, Govt. of Karnataka
Day 3 - Saturday, 7 January, 2017
(Transportation and Lunch Provided)
This year's GOPIO Community Service Awardees are as follows:

Dr. Abraham M. George, New Jersey, USA and Tamil Nadu, India

Dr. Abraham M. George
Abraham M. George is engaged in several social projects including: Shanti Bhavan Residential School ( for children from socially and economically disadvantaged families; Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM -; Baldev Medical & Community Center to address the healthcare needs of over 15 villages in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. His work in the field of environmental health was instrumental for the removal of lead from gasoline tin India in 2000 and the creation of National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning. George is the author of four books in international finance and environment. His recent book was "India Untouched: The forgotten face of rural poverty.

Chandu Patel, California, USA and Gujarat

Chandu K. Patel
Chandu Patel has set up the Sabarkantha Health and Research Foundation (SHRF) to augment the state's healthcare system. He started Krishna General Hospital in Himatnagar and plans to upgrade it to a medical college. The SHRF has also set up Geeta Girls Hostel for 300 college students and C. K. Patel Mahila Arts College. Chandu has also contributed to projects for abandoned children, senior citizens and other marginalized sections of society. His donations helped the victims of the Gujarat earthquake (2001), the Odisha super cyclone (1999) and other natural disasters. Chandu has been bestowed with many honors and awards for his community service and philanthropy.

Dr. George Cherian, Bahrain

Dr. Cherian George
After a 25 year career in Neonatology that spanned 3 continents, for the last 7 years Dr. Cherian has taken leadership of the American Mission Hospital in Bahrain. The hospital has been providing high quality care regardless of the ability to pay for the last 120 years. The Indian migrants who cannot afford insurance for healthcare have largely been the beneficiaries of hospital's policy.  A sustainable model of financing to provide this care has been created to enable us to grow and expand our reach. This model of not for profit care can be modeled in all economies of scale in both developed and developing economies.

 Naliandra (Jay) Naidu, Durban, South Africa

Naliandra (Jay) Naidu

Jay is currently employed as group head (home care) for Amka, a major toiletry and household company in South Africa. He has been with Amka for 28 years. He studied marketing and sales at various business institutions in South Africa. He has been involved in various community and charity drives within South Africa. He is very passionate about the plight of women and has worked on training women and placing them in employment. He is currently setting up a training academy where abused and unemployed women will be trained and employed.

Ram Buxani, Dubai, UAE

Dr. Ram Buxani
Dr. Ram Buxani is a 3 time Forbes awardee.  He is the Chairman of the ITL-Cosmos Group, a diversified global business entity.  He is a visionary entrepreneur, endowed with unfailing business acumen.  His autobiography "Taking the High Road", is now in its second edition.  He is often recognized as Mr. NRI in Gulf Region.  Truly multi-faceted, he is a community leader, spokesperson of NRIs, writer, theatre actor, cultural ambassador and social organizer. He has been conferred the Doctorate by Washington International University in 2004 and D.Litt Degree by D.Y. Patil University of Mumbai - for his contribution for NRIs and victims of natural calamity.

Vinod Patel - Fiji

Vinod S. Patel
Vinod Chandra Patel has served Town and District of Ba as a Councillor and Mayor and as an elected Member of Parliament of Fiji on two occasions. His contributions have been in the field of Education, Sports, Religion, Community Health, Local Government, and National Government and in Community and Philanthropy. He has provided outstanding service to business and commerce and in the field of sports especially in Soccer as the National Team Director and Vice President. He is the recipient of several awards given by the Government of Fiji and Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha. His philanthropic contribution to education in Fiji and India are legendary. 
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, 
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:
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 an e-mail to George Varghese at
For more information, contact: GOPIO Global Ambassador Sunny Kulathakal in India at 09845756692, e-mail: or Convention Convener Shaji Baby John at 09567471111, E-mail:
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. Chief Guest is Maharashtra Governor Shri Vidyasagar Rao. Many other dignitaries from Mumbai including several political leaders and head of corporate houses will participate. 

GICC unites will be started in all cities and regions of the world. GOPIO is looking for thoise intgererested and those who whown leadership in such chambers activities before. For information and participation in the chamber, contact 

RSVP for the function, contact: 09870767281.

GOPIO GICC Launch Invitation.Mumbai..Jan. 10th, 2017
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, 

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

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 Flyer

The Ministry of External Affairs has approved discount registration by GOPIO delegates to PBD2017 at 50% rate of $125. 

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:
GOPIO will make a lump sum payment for all those registered through GOPIO International.
GOPIO-Delhi/NCR was successfully launched at a function at the India International Center on Dec. 23rd. More details will follow in the upcoming GOPIOI-News. To becoem a memebr or participate in the chapter, contact Chapter President and GOPIO Life Member Dhiraj Ahuja, 09717112272,
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 ( and get details of chapter initiation (visit This process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more.  For more information, contact:
GOPIO Chairman - Dr. Thomas Abraham, Stamford, Connecticut, USA, Tel: +1-203-329-8010, E-mail:
GOPIO President - Niraj Baxi, San Jose, California, USA, Tel: 408-307-9845, E-mail:
GOPIO Executive Vice President - Noel Lal, Sydney, Australia, Tel: +61 417448293, E-mail:
GOPIO Vice President - Ram Gadhavi, Wayne, New Jersey, USA, Tel: +1-973-699-8582, E-mail:
Execuitve Trustee of GOPIO Foundation - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail:
GOPIO's Global Ambassador - Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, +973-39441956, India +91-9845756692, E-mail:
To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to:. GOPIO International, PO Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.


Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International (Stamford, CT, USA), (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: Sunny Kulathakal (GOPIO's Global Ambassador and Convention Convener) and Shaji Baby John (International Coordinator for South Asia)

GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. 
Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail:

Visit GOPIO's Official site at or