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January 22, 2017

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

Issue: XV-2January 22, 2017
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A Gala function was held at the Garware Club in Mumbai on Jan. 10th at which the Governor of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu Shri Vidyasagar Rao inaugurated the launch of GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC}. Applauding the formation of GICC, Governor Rao expressed confidence that GICC will have the most fruitful and fulfilling engagement and will play a big role in the future of India and in connecting Businesses in India with Diaspora Businesses.
Addressing GOPIO delegates, Governor Rao said, "Success of Overseas Indians are due to their hard work and determination and you are making significant contribution to your adopted countries and at the same time contributing to India."
Governor Rao also suggested GOPIO to have an active Women's wing and a network for Indian youth and young professionals.
Global Organization of the People of Indian Origin or GOPIO currently headquartered in New York, having been founded by many Enterprising NRI's in 1989 and having developed 70 chapters in 30 countries around the world, did establish at its general body meeting in June 2016 in New York, a GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce or GICC to function worldwide as a networking organization for Indian businesses in the Diaspora.
Indian Diaspora, 30 million strong and well established over many decades has also established over 3 million businesses overseas. These overseas business ventures by People of Indian Origin represent the true entrepreneurial spirit of the Indian people.
GICC wishes to bring these diverse businesses spread throughout the world together onto one platform. GOPIO in establishing GICC is filling a void and a felt need. The interconnection opportunity is immense given GOIO's already established network of connections
GICC through its networking and educational efforts and by eventually establishing chapters in various countries and many key cities throughout the world, wishes to encourage these businesses to harness their energies towards mutual advancement and benefit.
Such initiatives, it is believed will also assist and support the very massive transformation taking place in India today. India will hopefully benefit from the massive inputs from People of Indian Origin. Many new business growth opportunities will likely present themselves to the Diaspora Indians and to Resident Indians for mutual benefits.
The program hosted by the Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM) and was organized by GOPIO Advisor Advocate Raj K. Purohit, MLA who is Chief Whip of Maharashtra Assembly.
"This is a great initiative to connect Indian businesses to the Indian Diaspora businesses, entrepreneurs and technologists," said Purohit.
FAM President Vinesh Mehta and GICC-Mumbai Chapter Coordinator Suresh Chokhanji welcomed the guests.
GOPIO President Niraj Baxi said that with 70 chapters in 30 countries GOPIO is uniquely positioned globally to connect Diaspora Indians and businesses with India and the world.
GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham said, "GOPIO International is the most networked Indian Diaspora organization which is a brand, and unlike other chambers, GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) will cater to the Indian Diaspora businesses and entrepreneurs and will be the only globally networked Indian Chamber of Commerce."
GOPIO Executive VP Noel Lal, based in Sydney, Australia said, "There are many developments and joint venture opportunities available in the Pacific Theatre and Indian companies can work with the Diaspora businesses to benefit from all the vast opportunities available." 
GICC co-chair Prakash Shah envisages a mushrooming of collaborative efforts among Diaspora and between Diaspora and Resident Indian businesses that will assist further the transformative changes taking place in India to propel India as the dominant economy of the 21st Century - what PM Modi has called the Century of India.
Mr. Nitin Shah, former chairman of Asian American Hotel Owners Association and co-chair of GICC described the numerous ways in which GICC will integrate Diaspora businesses by forming chapters in many countries and in all the key cities of the world and by offering networking opportunities so that in future Indian companies can be the world leaders.
The program ended with a vote of thanks by GICC-Mumbai Co-Coordinator Vinod Juneja.
Governor Vidyasagar Rao Inaugurating GOPIO Intl.Chamber of Commerce in Mumbai
Photo above: Governor Vidyasagar Rao delivering inaugural address at the GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) launch in Mumbai on Jan. 10th. Sitting from l. to. R.: Viinod Juneja, Suresh Chokhanji, Noel Lal, Raj Purohit, Niraj Baxi, Vinesh Mehta, Prakash Shah, Dr. Thomas Abraham and Nitin Shah
GOPIO International has planned a Global Indian Business summit on May 17-19, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.
For further Information, please contact Niraj Baxi, President, GOPIO International at +1.408.307.9845 or in India +91.98193.02221 or Prakash Shah at +1.908.267.5021, e-mail at or
The two-day convention of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in Bangalore struck the right note in articulating the problems faced by the Diaspora. PIOs/NRIs from over 60 countries who gathered in Bangalore under the shadow of demonetization had the opportunity to exchange views on the diverse issues dogging Pravasis. Speaker after speaker mentioned the problem of cash crunch following the demonetization of Rs.1000 and 500 notes.
Through several sessions GOPIO managed to put across to the government the difficulties faced by NRIs/PIOs due to note ban. A resolution passed by GOPIO specifically requested the government to make the exchange of demonetized notes held by NRIs trouble-free.

GOPIO Bangalore Convention Poster  
Another issue that figured prominently in the discussions was the inadequate representation of GOPIO in the PBD event. GOPIO President Niraj Baxi and Global Ambassador Sunny Kulathakal aired GOPIO's disappointment over the development. Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar who inaugurated the two-day convention promised to look into the complaint.
The idea 'GOPIO Means Business' got a boost in Bengaluru, brightening the prospect of broadening the business linkages of the Diaspora with the Motherland. Two sessions on start-ups while touching on the emerging scenario in the fastest growing sector, explored the possibilities of partnerships and investments by NRIs. The participants got a thorough briefing on the impending launch of GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC).
GOPIO Convention being inaugurated
Minister M. J. Akbar inaugurated the convention on January 5. Addressing the gathering, Akbar appreciated the role of non-resident Indians (NRIs) and person of Indian origin (PIO) in strengthening relations between India and other countries. "India will have its first-ever strategic discussion with UAE on January 20 and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, will be our guest at the Republic Day," he said.

Photo left: from l. to r.: Minister M.J. Akbar, Maharashtra Assembly chief Whip Raj Purohit, MLA, Justic Gopala Gowda, GOPIO Intl Coordinator Issac John, GOPIO Life Member Manu Kumar and GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham
GOPIO Officials and Conv. organizers with dignitaries at the Inauguration
Photo above: GOPIO Officials and Conv. organizers with dignitaries at the Inauguration

The external affairs ministry will soon launch portals to help Indians who are travelling abroad in search of jobs, he said. On demonetization, Akbar said, "A single, historic move by the Prime Minister has converted black money into white and this will now be used for the nation's development."

GOPIO Bangalore Conference attendees
Photo: Conference attendees
Highlighting the significant role that global Indians had played in strengthening international relations, Akbar said, "Once, we had the song, 'Mera jota hai Japani'. India no longer buys shoes from Japan. We are, in fact, in talks with Japan to build high-speed railway corridors. Nor is India buying Lal Topis (Red hats) from Russia. Instead, we are strengthening our defense, space and nuclear ties with Russia, besides becoming a major defense partner for America. This has materialized largely because of the global Indians in these countries," Akbar said. He also referred to the bilateral agreements signed with Gulf countries to ensure a better deal for Indian workers. In this connection, he lauded the initiatives taken by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to solve problems faced by Indians abroad.

GOPIO Bangalore Convention - Releasing the Book of 28 Years of GOPIO
Photo above: Releasing he book "28 Incredible Years - Re-inventing the Indian Diaspora," from l. to r. Raj Purohit MLA, Rajeev Chandrasekhar MP, Sunny Kulathakal, Minister M.J. Akbar, Justice Gopala Gowda, Niraj Baxi, Issac John and Dr. Thomas Abraham 

Thomas Abraham, chairman of the organization, raised the issue of provisions for NRIs to exchange old currency. "We are thankful that the deadline has been extended to June 30. However, notes can be exchanged only in certain branches of the Reserve Bank of India. For a few thousand rupees, people cannot travel to a different city." To ensure that the money does not go waste, he requested the government to make provisions for NRIs to exchange notes in other banks.
President of GOPIO Niraj Baxi told Akbar that the body had played a vital role in helping the government formulate the idea of PBD. "We have requested the government to allow our members to speak on this occasion, since we will be able to present the problems faced by the Diaspora in a more convincing manner," Baxi added. Akbar said that he had received a complaint in this regard, and would look into the same.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar MP, in his keynote address, said that non-residential Indians (NRIs) were a powerful asset to the country. "The process of institutionalizing the NRI and PIO communities is a long one. Many problems they are faced with today are very old. However, the principle of 'leaving no Indian behind', which the Centre has espoused is starting to yield results," Chandrasekhar added.
Justice Gopala Gowda too called for empowering the Indian Diaspora, which, he said, would, in turn bolster the country. Raj Purohit, MLA and Chief Whip of the BJP in Maharashtra, used the occasion to praise demonetization which he described as a fight against corruption. He wanted the expatriate Indian community to back the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his efforts to transform India through various programs like Make in India and Swach Bharat.

GOPIO Conference Sessions in Progress at Bangalore Convention
Photos: Conference Sessions in Progress. Photo Left: Dr. Charan Singh speaking at the session, sitting from l. to r.: Serial entrepreneur Dr. Nanua Singh, CEO of RGBSI; GOPIO Intl Coordinator for South Asia Shaji Baby John and GOPIO Executive VP Noel Lal' Photo Right: Start-Up session moderated by Rajesh Johny in the left.
Describing himself as a soldier for the GOPIO, motivational speaker and author Shiv Khera stressed the relevance and importance of the three P skills - people skills, persuasive skills and prioritizing skills. Khera opined that the reservation policy in the country had outlived its utility and needed to change. "Reservation should not be based on caste, but education and economy. GOPIO should work with the government, and press for these changes," said Khera.

Dr. Ruby Dhalla and Shiv Khera with GOPIO delegates
Photo left: Dr. Ruby Dhalla with convention attendees. Photo right, Shiv Khera with convention attendees
On January, 6 there were different sessions devoted multiple topics of interest to the Diaspora. Sessions on women empowerment, social Indian with focus on rural India, underprivileged, GOPIO Chamber of Commerce, Start-up India and Startup pitchathon saw interesting presentations. The winner of the Pichathon was Siddartha Goel from Bengaluru.
Sysfore Co-founder Ajit George moderating Pichathon at GOPIO Convention in Bangalore
Photo left: Sysfore Co-founder Ajit George moderating Pichathon, Photo right: Pichathon Winner Siddartha and Anjali Goel receiving Award, grom l. to r. Dr. Thomas Abraham, Siddartha and Anjali Goel, Niraj Baxi and Sunny Kulathakal
At the valedictory function, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah presented the GOPIO community service awards to six eminent NRIs who have excelled in their professions and/or contributed substantially to the cause of Indian community and society at large. They are Dr. Abraham M George (USA and India), Chandu Patel (USA), Naliandra (Jay) Naidu (Durban, South Africa), Dr. Ram Buxani (Dubai), Dr. George Cherian (Bahrain) and Vinod Patel (Fiji). A special recognition Pravasi Mitra Award was presented to Karnataka Police DGP Om Prakash for his service excellence in helping and recovering money of NRI's cheated by a real estate developer in Bengaluru.

GOPIO Bangalore Convention Awards Banquet Awardees GroupPhoto above: GOPIO officials and awardees with Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, From to r.: Convention Convener Dr. J. Alexander, Karnataka NRI Forum Vice Chairperson Arti Krishna, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, GOPIO Exec. VP Noel Lal, Award Recipients Vinod Patel (Fiji) and Chandu Patel (USA), C.N. Siddaramaiah, Award Recipient Dr. Geroge Cherian (Bahrain),  GOPIO Intl Coordinator for the Middle East Issac John, Jay Naidu (South Africa), GOPIO's Pravasi Mitra Award Recipient DGP Om Prakash of Karnataka, GOPIO's Global Ambassador Sunny Kulathakal, GOPIO President Niraj Baxi GOPIO Intl Coordinator for South Asia Shaji Baby John 

GOPIO Convention - DGP Om Prakash is presented Pravasi Mitra Award
While appreciating GOPIO's role in promoting the interests of Pravasis, the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urged Non-Resident Indians to build schools and hospitals in their native states. He also referred to the new NRI policy unveiled by Karnataka government that aims to help residents from the state working abroad. Arathi Krishna, Deputy Chairman, NRI Forum of Karnataka Government extended all support to GOPIO convention.

Photo left: GOPIO Convention - Karnataka DGP Om Prakash is presented Pravasi Mitra Award for his service to the NRI community settled in Bangalore
GOPIO Convention passed resolutions including one on Demonetization in which NRIs/PIOs are left with over Rs. 15,000 crores of old currencies in small amounts at an average of Rs. 5000 per person. GOPIO resolution calls upon the Government of India to provide the NRIs and PIOs an opportunity similar to the one given to Indian nationals; that is, allowing them to deposit up to Rs. 250,000.00 of Indian currency in either the Reserve Bank of India or the State Bank of India or any bank where the NRIs keep their NRO account.

GOPIO Bangalore Convention Banquet Audience
 Photo above: GOPIO Bangalore Convention Banquet - Part of the Audience

Both evenings, during the convention, had superb cultural programs students of Monisha Arts and other artists and put together by Monisha Arts director Sreedevi Unni. The meeting ended with an outing and a luncheon at a farm at the outskirts of Bengaluru.

Cultural program finale dance at GOPIO Conv.
Photo: Cultural program finale dance with all artists. Dance Director Sreedevi Unni is in the center.
The convention was hosted by GOPIO-Bengaluru Chapter and under the direction of GOPIO Global Ambassador Sunny Kulathakal with support from Convention Convener Dr. J. Alexander, GOPIO International Coordinator Shaji Baby John and GOPIO- Bengaluru Secretary George Varghese. Mr. Rajesh Johny served as the Chairman of Conference Program Committee.

Cultural program coordinator Sreedevi Unni, Director of Monisha Arts at GOPIO Convention
Photo: Cultural program coordinator Sreedevi Unni (in the center), Director of Monisha Arts with some of the dancers.
Cultural Program at the GOPIO Convention in Bengaluru - YouTube Videos
Bharatha Natyam Dance -
Bharatha Natyam Dance (Cont'd) -
Semiclassical Dance on Krishna Leela -
Kuchipudi Dance - n
Contact: Sunny Kulathakal, GOPIO's Global Ambassador, Bahrain Tel: +973 39441956, India Tel: 09845756692

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 Convention in Bangalore passed the following resolution:
Demonetization of the higher end Indian currencies and issues affecting NRIs and PIOs
GOPIO supports demonetization of the higher end Indian currencies so as to curtail black money and terrorism funding. 
GOPIO thanks the Government of India for accepting our request on behalf of the Indian Diaspora for an extension until June 30. 2017. However, the Reserve Bank of India is accepting any demonetized currencies from those who do not have an Indian passport and the Diaspora needs further simplification and further extension of the current proclamation
  • Earlier a statement had been made to the effect that up to "Rs 250,000.00 could be deposited with a pan card (where the individuals can show evidence of withdrawal from a bank).
  • As per the latest announcement by the RBI dated 30th December 2016, a customs declaration is required upon arrival at the airport along with copies of statements of all bank accounts in India evidencing that no old currency was deposited during November - December 2016. All this will be required for the small sum of Rs 25,000.00 only.
  • GOPIO calls upon the Government of India to provide the NRIs and PIOs an opportunity similar to the one given to Indian nationals; that is, allowing them to deposit up to Rs. 250,000.00 of Indian currency in either the Reserve Bank of India (if convenient) or the State Bank of India (since it has more branches) or at Consulate General of India that is closest to their place of residence.
Moreover, because not all NRIs and PIOs may be able to visit India prior to June 30, 2017, NRIs and PIOs should be given six more months (i.e., until December 30, 2017) to exchange the old currency notes at either the Reserve Bank of India or a State Bank of India, which has more branches (as long as they provide documentary proof that they are NRIs/PIOs and they had not visited India between November 8, 2016 and December 30, 2016.

The 14th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) convention was a colorful, three-day gathering of high-flying Indians from abroad, including physicians, engineers, scientists and business magnates. They were urged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee to contribute to India's development and become part of its growth story.
Traditionally, the PBD has been held on Jan. 9 every year to commemorate the return of Mahatma Gandhi as a Pravasi from South Africa to India.
Formally inaugurating the PBD convention, Modi urged the Diaspora to develop India by investing and contributing its expertise in the land of its origin.
"To me, FDI means First Develop India through Foreign Direct Investment, whose norms have been fully liberalized for Non-Resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin and made on par with domestic firms for availing the same benefits," Modi said.
Modi urged the 1,500 NRI and PIO delegates and an additional 6,500 Indian delegates to participate in the government's flagship programs, such as 'Digital India', 'Make In India', 'Start-up India', 'Swacch Bharat' and 'Namami Gange', or Clean Ganga, for the country's all-round development.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating PBD 2017 Convention
Photo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating PBD 2017 Convention on Jan. 8th
Modi stated that NRIs and PIOs have made outstanding contributions and that by engaging with the overseas Indian community, the government was trying to convert 'brain drain' into 'brain gain' by inviting the Diaspora to help make India strong and self-reliant. A major focus of the discussions was on the young Diaspora who were urged to take up social projects as part of their contribution to the motherland.
While conferring the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman on 30 expatriate Indians, President Pranab Mukherjee noted that the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has been a flagship event for the engagement of the government with the Diaspora spread across the world.
"This convention does not only provide an interface between the government and the Indian Diaspora, it also provides an excellent opportunity for both the government of India and the state governments to showcase policies, initiatives and achievements in various sectors and invite the Diaspora to contribute and give back to the country of their origin," Mukherjee said.
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The record number of Indian American politicians who had successful run in the recently concluded elections is an indication of the growing influence that the community, which comprises 1% of the population, has on the political spectrum in the US. For the first time ever in the history of US Congress, Indian Americans will comprise 1% of its total members.
The US Congress has a total of 535 members - 435 in the House of Representatives and 100 in the Senate.  In the November election, four Indian Americans were elected to the House for the first time, while a fifth member was re-elected for a third term. The newly elected Indian Americans Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal and Raja Krishnamoorthi and re-elected Ami Brea were sworn as House of Representatives and Kamala Harris as a Senator.  

Indian Americans in the US Congress
Photo above: Indian Americans in the US Congress: From l. to r.: Senator Kamala Harris, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal and Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ami Bera
The Indian American congressmen will follow the legacy of Judge Dilip Singh Saund, the first Asian-American to be elected to the Congress in 1956. After Saund, it took over four decades for an Indian origin to get a seat in the Congress till Bobby Jindal was elected as a representative of Lousiana before launching a successful gubernatorial bid in the state.
Mr Rangaswami, the founder of the San Francisco-based nonprofit Indiaspora recently said: "Indian Americans are approximately 1 percent of the US population and for the first time ever they now make up 1 percent of the US Congress."
"This doesn't count the scores of Indian-Americans senior staffers serving on Capitol Hill working for dozens of members on both sides of the aisle," he added.
In addition to the Indian American representation in the Congress, the president-elect Donald Trump has also named a number of Indian Americans to head important roles in his administration.
The transition team had earlier announced the appointment of Nikki Haley as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Seema Verma, as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and this week Balaji Srinivasan, as the commissioner nominee to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In addition, Trump has also appointed Raj Shah as his deputy assistant and research director on the White House staff.

GOPIO-CT held its Annual General Body Meeting and Holiday Party on Friday, December 9th at the Hampton Inn and Suites, Stamford, CT. President Shelly Nichani in his report said that GOPIO-CT had its most active year in 2016 with its Awards Banquet attended by US Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Jim Himes, Stamford Mayor David Martin, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rillings and several other CT state legislators. GOPIO also hosted US Senator Chris Murphy. Consul General Riva Ganguly Das, Congressman Himes and Mayor Martin with interactive sessions.
GOPIO-CT also increased the scholarship from one in 2015 to four in 2016 and hope to increase it further in 2017.
The election followed at which a new team was elected unanimously. The new team is as follows:
President - Anita Bhat, Exec VP - Pradeep Govil, VP - Bhavna Jhuneja, Secretary - Prasad Chintalapudi, Treasurer - Biru Sharma, Trustees: Sanjay Santhanam and Varghese Ninan

GOPIO-CT New Team for 2017Photo: GOPIO-CT's newly elected team for 2017 taking tghe Oath of Office, From l. to r.: Bhavna Jhuneja, Biru Sharma, Prasad Chintalapudi, Anita Bhat, Pradeep Govil, Varghese Ninan and Sanjay Santhanam
The Holiday Party followed which was also a fundraiser for Women's Mentoring Network. A sum of $2,000 was donated to this organization which does mentoring service to single woman.
Contact: Anita Bhat, President, GOPIO-CT, TeL: 203-324-2935, e-mail:
After holding the 7th annual Caring & Sharing fundraiser event in November 2016 in Blacktown, GOPIO Sydney North West chapter's active member Neeru Singh distributed basic amenities to disadvantaged children in January 2017 in Zira (Punjab) during her visit to Punjab, India. Basic amenities include warm clothes, shoes, socks, ceiling fans, stationary, furniture, sports items etc. as per the requirement of the schools.
Around 4000 children have benefitted so far under Caring & Sharing project in the last seven years and more children will benefit when Harmohan Singh Walia visits India in February 2017.
Events like Caring & Sharing are the result of spirit we all carry to care for those in need of love and support. It's not how efficient GOPIO Sydney North West chapter is in raising funds or generating any profit, it's all about how effective we are in igniting a candle of compassion in each and every heart that support the event like this. This event wouldn't have been possible without each and every individual's contribution, especially those who attended the event, the rocking performers, generous sponsors and a team of GOPIO Sydney North West chapter.
GOPIO-Sydney NW official Neeru Singh distributes school materials to children in Zira
Photo: GOPIO-Sydney NW official Neeru Singh distributes clothes, socks and shoes to school children in Zira in Punjab
GOPIO Sydney North West chapter's team include Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, Harmohan Singh Walia, Neeru Singh, Aman Singh, Paramjit Singh Multani, Amrit Butter, Ravi Singh, Sumit Joshi, Baljit Singh Pelia, Raj Singh, Baljinder Singh, Sanjeet Hooda, Tia Singh and Vinod Daniel, who worked tirelessly to make the Caring & Sharing event a grand success.
For more information please contact Prof. Balkar Singh Kang (President), 0413789716 or Harmohan Singh Walia, 0402842375, Web:

GOPIO Washington DC region joined with other Indian American community groups to organize a welcome reception on December 4th in Fairfax, VA for the newly appointed Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna and farewell to Deputy Chief of the MissionTaranJit Singh Sandhu.
Over 350 people packed the elegant ballroom of the Waterford at Fair Oaks on a Sunday evening for a sparkling community reception spearheaded by activist Dr. Yogendra Gupta. Ambassador Sarna extolled the Indian-American community which he noted forms only one percent of the US population, but its members make up 9 percent of physicians, 30 percent of start-up founders in Silicon Valley, and 50 percent of the hospitality industry. These are awe-inspiring figures given the size of the community.
GOPIO's Washington DC Regional Coordinator Jaisingh Bhandari, in his welcome speech, complimented the outgoing DCM Sandhu and his contribution to strengthening relations between US and India. A plaque was presented to Ambassador Sandhu and well wishes for his tenure at SriLanka High commissioner.
Welcome reception for Ambassador Navtej Sarna by Washington Indian community
Photo: Top - GOPIO Coordinator Jay Bhandari welcoming Ambassador Sarna. Sitting from l. to r.: DCM Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ambassador Navtej Sarna and Dr. Yogendra Gupta; Bottom" Some of the organizers with Ambassadors Sarna and Sandho. From l. to r.: Sunil Singh; Satish Korpe; Jay Bhandari; Indian Ambassador Navtej Sarna; Dr. Yogendra Gupta; Kumar Singh; Ashok Batra; and DCM Taranjit Singh Sandhu
Mr. Bhandari speaking at the occasion emphasized how Indian community supported the embassy in many occasions to bring both countries together. He further assured the Ambassador that Indian community will support, cooperate and do everything to make efforts in strengthening US-India relations.

The GOPIO-CT Annual Youth and Young Professionals Networking Luncheon and Holiday Party was held on December 24th, 2016 at the Hampton Inn and Suites, Stamford, CT. The guest speaker at the event was Mr. Nitesh Banta, Co-Founder and CEO of B12, Forbes 30 under 30, who shared his path of career and his experiences in the business world. 
Several young achievers including college students were also present and shared their experiences in college admissions. Speakers were Priya Gada (George Washington University), Mahir Nichani (Wake Forest University), Ashish Ramachandran (New York University) and Sanjana Chintalapudi (Lehigh University). 

GOPIO-CT Youth and Young Professional Networking
Photo above: Networking Party organizers, speakers and some attendees, from l. to r.: Ashwin Mathur, Pailyn Tayjasanant , Pongsa Tayjasanant, Megha Gupta, Vedant Gannu, Priya Gada, Siyan Shaikh, Pratyusha Chintalapudi, Nitesh Banta, Sanjana Chintalapudi, Rahat Nichani, Yuv Nichani, Amit Ramachandran, Ashish Ramachandran
The event was organized by the Youth Coordinator, Siyan Shaikh along with the youth co-coordinators, Rahat Nichani, Amit Ramchandran, Vedant Gannu, Rahul Kahurana and Yuv Nichani.  The next annual youth networking event will take place on December 24th, 2017.
Contact: Louella D'Silva, Youth and Young Professional Coordinator, GOPIO-CT, e-mail: 

Four Indian American scientists were honored by the US government by being the recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). These awards highlight the key role that the Administration places in encouraging and accelerating American innovation to grow the economy and tackle challenges.
President Obama bestowed this honor on Pankaj Lal from Montclair State University, Kaushik Roy Chowdhury from Northeastern University, Manish Arora from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Aradhna Tripati from University of California, Los Angeles.
Pankaj Lal, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies and an Associate Director at PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies, Montclair State University.
Kaushik Roy Chowdhury is an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Northeastern University and Faculty Fellow of the College of Engineering.
Manish Arora, B.D.S., M.P.H., Ph.D., is the Director of Exposure Biology at the Senator Frank Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory in the Department of Preventive Medicine.
Aradhna Tripati is an Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at University of California, Los Angeles.
The President Obama stated that their work "helps keep the United States on the cutting edge, showing that Federal investments in science lead to advancements that expand our knowledge of the world around us"
An Indian schoolgirl based in UAE has won this year's International Children's Peace Prize for her fight to save the planet. Kehkashan Basu, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, was presented the award by Nobel Peace laureate Mohammad Yunus at a ceremony held in The Hague Dec. 3, Gulf News reported.
At the age of eight, Basu organized an awareness-raising campaign for the recycling of waste in her Dubai neighborhood.
In 2012, she founded her own organization, Green Hope, which carries out environment-focused campaigns. Basu went on to become the youngest ever Global Coordinator for the Major Group for Children and Youth of the UN Environmental Program.
Basu has addressed various international conferences and her organization Green Hope was now active in ten countries with more than 1,000 young volunteers.
"It is a great achievement for such a young person to already have such reach and impact with her important message," said Yunus.
"Kehkashan teaches us that we all have a responsibility to work towards a sustainable future," he added.
The schoolgirl won because she had proved her ability to start a movement with real impact, said Marc Dullaert, the founder of the Kids Rights Foundation. The Amsterdam-based global children's aid group runs the award program, which started in 2005.
After receiving the prize, Basu said she would "keep campaigning to encourage children and adults to create a more sustainable future." Basu currently divides her time between the UAE and Canada, where she has moved to study.
"I call upon everyone to think of how they can contribute to the preservation of the environment... Time is not on our side - we have to act now, or we will have polar bears under palm trees," she said.
Before leaving the White House, President Obama appointed two Indian-Americans to key administration positions.
Maneesh Goyal has been made Member of the J William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and D J Patil has been named as Member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council.
"I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to serve the American people in these important roles. I know they will serve the American people well," Obama said.
Dr. Rajiv Shah, the head of the US government's foreign aid operations (USAID), has been appointed the head of the Rockefeller Foundation, a multi-billion-dollar private global charity with programs in India.
Dr. Shah who was born in the US and educated in the US and Britain has a Master's degree in Health Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to his medical degree. During his student days he has volunteered in a poor community in India.  Before being appointed as the USAID head, he has worked in President Obama's administration as Chief Scientist and also for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2011 Dr. Shah received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award that is conferred on distinguished Indians abroad
The 43-year-old Shah will be the youngest person and the first Indian-American to lead the organization, which has a $75 million project to bring electric power to Indian villages. This will be a challenge for Dr. Shah, since at this time the Indian government is tightening their supervision of the work of foreign charities and NGOs.
Dr. Shah appears undaunted by this challenge as he states "I look forward to charting a course for the Rockefeller Foundation to engage with partners to promote the well-being of humanity, and to take on the challenges of today and tomorrow, both in the United States and around the world."


A total of seven Indian Americans cracked the investor list that was announced Nov. 11, 2016. Indian American Kapil Venkatachalam was named the top investor in GrowthCap's 2016 40 Under 40 Investor List
The investors honored were initially nominated by their respective firms, peers or by GrowthCap itself. Following the nomination process, they then were evaluated based on volume of completed deals, capital invested, number of exits and realized returns, as well.
Aside from the top-ranked Venkatachalam, the other Indian Americans included on the list were Nehal Raj, Sachin Sarnobat, Nishita Cummings, Vinay Kashyap, Shamit Mehta and Ron Shah, as well as "Rising Star" Arjun Mehta.
Venkatachalam is the general partner of Technology Crossover Ventures. The Indian American was on the 2014 and 2015 GrowthCap lists, in addition to his No. 1 spot in this year's list.
Venkatachalam began his career in 2003 with Goldman Sachs. Following his time there, he served as an investor at numerous firms, including,, Genesys, Rapid7, OSIsoft, TOA Technologies, ExactTarget, Splunk and Seismic Micro-Technology. A member of the board at IQMS, Venkatachalam has been at TCV since 2006.
Raj came in at No. 9 on the list. A partner at TPG Growth, Raj leads TPG's technology investments across the firm's TPG Capital and TPG Growth platforms. His current investments include C3 IoT, CCC Information Services, Domo, IMS Health, Noodle Analytics, Sutherland Global Services and Zscaler, it added.
Sarnobat, managing director at Atalaya Capital Management, was ranked No. 15 on the list. At Atalaya, Sarnobat focuses on structured capital investments targeting high teen return profiles. The company, founded in 2006, manages in excess of $2 billion and focuses on making opportunistic credit and special situations investments, GrowthCap noted. Atalaya invests across the capital structure providing dilutive and non-dilutive capital with flexibility for control as well as minority investments. Prior to joining Atalaya, Sarnobat worked with Prospect Capital Management. He began his career as an early employee at a technology start-up that provided big data analytics to the consumer credit risk industry and was awarded a U.S. patent related to data mining.
Cummings is a partner for Kayne Anderson Capital adviser's growth private equity activities. She identifies, analyzes and executes on investment opportunities and monitors portfolio companies in healthcare and technology, GrowthCap said. Prior to joining Kayne Anderson in 2007, Cummings worked at Boston Avenue Capital, a value oriented activist hedge fund. Her current investments include Andover Healthcare, Azalea Health Innovation, Atlas RFID, Consero Global Solutions, Conservice, Cryptzone, DiCentral, Drivewyze, FaceFirst, Rage Frameworks, You.i and Zafin.
Kashyap is the principal at Mainsail Partners, a company he joined in 2013 to focus on growth equity investing in profitable, growing and bootstrapped companies, according to GrowthCap. GrowthCap ranked Kashyap as the No. 28 ranked investor in 2016. He has been investing in founder-owned software, technology-enabled services and healthcare technology companies for more than a decade. Kashyap, who currently serves on the boards at Nexus Systems, SentryOne, PlayMaker CRM and Zen Planner, was previously at Summit Partners.
Mehta came in at No. 30 on GrowthCap's list. The principal at North Bridge Capital, where he's been since 2014, Mehta is building on an already established career in growth equity investing, GrowthCap noted. At North Bridge, Mehta focuses on SaaS/software, fintech, security, healthcare IT and business/information services sectors. Prior to North Bridge, Mehta was an investor at Susquehanna Growth Equity and Great Hill Partners. Among his career investments are OutSystems, Jive Communications, Versafe,, SecureWorks and Passport Health Communications.
Shah is considered the No. 34 ranked investor by GrowthCap. The Indian American joined Stripes Group in 2007 as one of its first team members. He is currently a partner at the firm. Over the past nine years, he has played a key role in Stripes Group's technology, software and internet investments while also managing the firm's direct sourcing efforts. His current investments include Remitly, Flatiron Health, Craftsy, Udemy, GoFundMe, Upwork and Folica.
Mehta, this year's GrowthCap Rising Star, is a senior associate at BregalSagemount, where he is a board director for STEELE CIS, Discovery Data and Keg Logistics. He is a board observer for Network Merchants. Prior to joining BregalSagemount in 2013, Mehta was an investment banking analyst at Credit Suisse, where he focused on leveraged buyouts and recapitalizations.
GrowthCap provides growth capital advisory to a select group of family offices in addition to advising and working on behalf of growth-stage, private companies seeking a capital.

GOOD NEWS FOR PIO CARD HOLDERS: The Government of India is encouraging all PIO Card holders to convert it to OCI and has extended the deadline to June 30, 2017. If you convert your PIO to OCI before this deadline, you do not have to pay the Consular Fee of $275. 

GOPIO officials have been receiving hundreds of telephone calls and e-mails from OCI and PIO card holders that they are being turned away from depositing their demonetized Indian currencies at the Reserve bank of India branches. Govt. of India had extended the date for depositing these notes to June 30th for NRIs. However, Diaspora Indians with foreign citizenship are not included in GOI's definition of NRIs for depositing these notes. GOPIO plans to make a major campaign to include all OCI/NRI card holders and Diaspora Indians with foreign citizenship to be included so that they can deposit all their demonetized notes.
GOPIO is looking forward to your support in this regard. Contact
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)
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