April 11, 2020
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Issue: XVIII-5
April 11, 2020
In This Issue
GOPIO NEWS SPONSORS - Attorney Megha Bhouraskar (USA), Nazareth Consulting (USA) and Vaastu Shastra Specialist Dr. Rashmi Jain (India)
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The world lockdown due the spread of Coronavirus continues. After China, Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain and France, the USA has now become the most vulnerable hot spot.

Worldometer.Info ( has published the following data on the Coronavirus cases and deaths as of April 10th, 14.36 (GMT).
Global cases: 1,799,099
Global deaths: At least 108,770
USA has surpassed all countries in terms of the number of confirmed cases (532,879) followed by Spain with 163,027. US also leads in the number of deaths with 20,577 followed by Italy with 19,468. UK is the newest hot spot with 78991 cases and 9,875 deaths.

India has put its 1.3 billion people in a 21-day lockdown on March 24th which is likely to continue till April 30th to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The impact of the lockdown on India’s informal sector, which includes many street vendors as well as taxi and auto drivers.

All international flights to India have been cancelled till 00.00 hours of April 14th. All visas, except that of diplomatic personals have been cancelled till April 15th. OCI card holders are also not permitted to travel to India now.
Indian Diaspora, being the largest ethnic group serving the healthcare field in the USA and UK especially as physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, etc., a good number of our health professionals and/or their family members have been confirmed with Covid-19. Every day we are hearing death of a friend or a loved one. The death toll within the Diaspora community has not been estimated but it is expected to be in couple 100s.
"We hope that this pandemic passes away without causing a big loss to our Diaspora community," said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman GOPIO International.
GOPIO chapters around the word have started providing services to our seniors in need as students and visitors stuck in foreign countries. Some chapters have taken initiative to help healthcare institutions with supplies including protective masks they need. Still other chapters are holding Zoom meetings to coordinate these efforts with Indian missions and other community organizations for joint efforts.
Many Indian missions around the world have announced services to Indian citizens living outside India. The Indian Embassy and consulates across the United States are working with local authorities and Indian American organizations to provide necessary assistance to the affected Indian nationals and students. Local city officials have reportedly been performing the last rites of the deceased, due to the travel restrictions and shelter-in-place regulations.

There are about 200,000 Indian students studying in various US universities. Following the growing cases of COVID-19, US universities have taken measures to shut down on-campus operations and/or move classes online. The Embassy of India/India Student Hub has the following advisory for Indian students who may be impacted by these decisions. Please note that this advisory is based on information available as of 8 April 2020. The WHO, CDC, Government of India Ministry of Health and Welfare ( for India-specific updates) and universities are the best sources for the latest information in this rapidly evolving situation.
The Embassy has also announced the advisory for students emergency contacts at the Embassy and the consulates. In addition, to help support Indian students during the COVID-19 crisis, the Embassy of India Student Hub has established a non-emergency Peer Support Line. Details for these are given at the end of the advisory.
1. Housing: If you are staying on-campus and are/will in the foreseeable future be asked to vacate, check with your university about retaining on-campus housing or options for accessing off-campus housing. If you are in off-campus housing, please check your state or your city's official '.gov' website and with your landlord/housing for information on how COVID-19 may have impacted leases and rent collection.
2. Access to services: If your university/program is shutting down on-campus services, check with your university/program on how to avail your university's health services, mandatory health insurance (via the university or a third-party insurance company), international student services, and any other essential service(s) that may be impacted, including any prorated refund options for campus services not availed.

3. Financial Assistance: If you are in need of financial assistance, please check your university or your program's website for information on funds set up to assist students during COVID-19. If you are searching for a job or an internship, your university's career services, your alumni group and your professional network are a good place to start. Check with your Designated School Official (DSO) to understand Department of Homeland Security's guidance on how to apply to work off campus in these extenuating circumstances:

4. Temporary Emergency Resources: The Embassy of India/India Student Hub will be happy to provide information on temporary emergency resources. The Embassy is grateful to the members of the Indian community who have made these resources available for Indian students in an emergency. During this extraordinary situation created by the pandemic, our commitment remains steadfast to ensure welfare of our students in the best possible manner within available resources and with the support of the US government.

5. Matters pertaining to the US Government: The Embassy of India is in touch with the US government, which is monitoring the implications that this evolving situation may have for international students.

Please check your university website and official campus advisories for the latest university-specific information;

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), provides updated information on visitor visas, expiring visa status and on student CPT/OPT applications/extensions at;

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has confirmed that international students can temporarily engage in distance-learning, either from within the U.S. or outside the country, in light of COVID-19, without any penalty to their visa status. The five-month temporary absence rule will not apply for students who remain in Active status. Read the full SEVP guidance here:;
For F-1 students, your DSO can also provide more information or clarification on F-1 visa or work authorization questions. If you have any concerns that your DSO is not able to address, you may contact SEVP at;
J-1 Visa Holders should contact their sponsoring program for questions on visas, extension of visas, and health insurance. J-1 visa holders have a built-in 30-day grace period following the program-end-date for their visas. For J-1 specific queries that are not answerable by your sponsoring program, you may contact or visit;
The US Government is yet to issue guidance for students on/awaiting OPT who may be accruing unemployment days or are otherwise nearing/are out-of-status. Your DSO remains the best resource to access the most up-to-date information. You can also monitor the 'Nonimmigrant Students' section for the latest 'Guidance Documents' and 'FAQs': 
If you, a relative, or a friend were admitted on a visa that may be expiring (and were not admitted as an F-1 student for Duration of Status), you may need to take action to extend the authorized stay. We are given to understand that DHS is currently not in a position to offer a blanket extension of visa cases. However, they are working hard to quickly process urgent requests from individuals. We have been asked to advise Indian nationals whose visa status may be expiring (for any reason) to apply online as early as possible through USCIS. You may direct yourselves/family members to for specific information regarding extensions of status for individuals who are unable to depart as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
6. Travel: Please avoid all non-essential domestic or international travel, as recommended by the WHO and CDC:
For official advisories for travel within (domestic) or departing (international) from the US, consult the US Department of StateUS Transportation and Security Administration, and the relevant local, state, and transit/destination government websites;
Kindly note that India has currently suspended all scheduled international commercial passenger flights until 1830 hrs GMT on 14 April 2020. In addition, all domestic passenger flights within India are also suspended until 14 April 2020. This action has been taken in the interest of public health and safety of all Indian citizens. The latest Government of India travel advisories can be found at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website:;
The Embassy of India Student Hub has received a number of messages and lists about rumored 'evacuation flights' or 'airlifts' for Indian students in the United States to return to India. As of 8 April 2020, no special flights are planned by the Government of India from the United States to India. Please continue to monitor official channels, including and your local Embassy/Consulate in the United States' website, to receive the most up-to-date information.
Remain in contact with your DSO for information on any possible impact international travel may have on your F-1 or J-1 status.
We understand that many of you are anxious and concerned, and desire to return back to India at the earliest. However, it may be remembered that our country is dealing with an unprecedented situation and any lapse at any end by anyone results in loss of precious human lives. We again request you to avoid travel, for your own safety and in the interest of general public health. There are no exceptions for travelling to India during the aforementioned travel ban for the reasons explained above. We will issue updates as soon as commercial flights to India resume.
7. Keeping Safe and Healthy:
Based on the latest information from the CDC and the Government of India, we recommend all students to wear at minimum a cloth mask, if available, in places where social distancing is difficult to maintain. For simple immunity-boosting ideas, please also visit
Please practice social distancing (staying at home as much as possible, except to access essential services) and maintain a distance of at least 2 meters (6 feet) away from other people to minimize the transmission of COVID-19.
If you have flu-like symptoms, please self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. Consult the WHO and CDC websites for further information about the disease, preventative measures, and what to do if you experience any symptoms. Reach out to your healthcare provider.
This is an unprecedented situation, but we can successfully manage it and mitigate risk by making prudent decisions with a calm mind. Continue to take prudent health precautions and carefully review information and future advisories.
The Embassy of India Student Hub is working with Campus Leads on creating programs and events across campuses. Details on upcoming events will be added on and updated every 3 days.
To receive the latest Embassy of India Student Hub advisory(s), register here
Contact Information
For peer support and advice, contact the India Student Hub's COVID-19 Peer Support Line by phone or text (414)-404-6342 or (414)-40-INDIA (11 AM - 5 PM EDT daily), or by email at:
For emergency consular services by jurisdiction, please visit:
Residents of Bermuda, Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia
Tel: 202-213-1364 and 202-262-0375
Residents of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virgin Islands
Tel: 404-910-7919 and 404-924-9876
Residents of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin
Tel: 312-687-3642 and 312-468- 3276
Residents of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Nebraska
Tel: 713-626-2149
Residents of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont
Reach out through PRAMIT available on our website:
Tel: 212-774-0607/347-721-9243
Residents of Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming
Tel: 415 483 6629
The following organizations/ individuals have offered help through Community Support Groups or as volunteers towards providing guidance/ accommodation / food aid to Indians stranded in UK due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
An Indian American-owned pharma firm An Indian American-owned pharma firm Amneal Pharmaceuticals has pledged to donate 3.4 million Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate tablets to some of the key COVID-19 battleground states, including New York and Louisiana, joining the war against the dreaded coronavirus which by had taken lives of more than 18,000 people in the US alone AS OF Friday, April 10th. Owned by Chirag and Chintu Patel, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, which is one of the largest US-based manufacturers, has also announced ramping up production of Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate at several of its manufacturing sites and expects to produce approximately 20 million tablets between now and mid-April.
Chirag and Chintu Patel, co-chief executive officers of Amneal, said, "All of us at Amneal are committed to supporting our communities in the global fight against COVID-19. We are working with urgency to assist the hardest hit states and hospitals around the country to benefit as many patients as possible during this critical time."
The Louisiana State University School of Medicine is working to launch two different clinical trials using hydroxychloroquine in relation to COVID-19. One trial will utilize hydroxychloroquine on those who have significant COVID-19 disease. The other trial protocol will use and test the drug as a preventative measure for those healthcare workers on the front lines battling the epidemic. Trials will be conducted at the University Medical Center in New Orleans and at the LSU Medical School locations in Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
"I sincerely appreciate the efforts of Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator Fred Mills working with Amneal to bring this donation to the citizens of Louisiana," said Dr. Steve Nelson, dean of LSUHSC School of Medicine. "This donation will allow us to conduct clinical trials examining how hydroxychloroquine may help clear the virus from the lungs of infected patients and to potentially help shield healthcare workers who are on the front lines treating patients."
The National Institutes of Health is tracking other similar clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. The University of Minnesota is undertaking a trial as well as Columbia University.
Hydroxychloroquine sulfate was first synthesized in 1946 and is in a class of medications historically used to treat and prevent malaria. Hydroxychloroquine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of COVID-19; but it has been identified as a possible treatment for COVID-19, and the U.S. Government has requested its immediate availability.
The U.S. government's top infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci has been vocal about his concern that there is not enough evidence to suggest that hydroxychloroquine is the drug that cures COVID-19.
In related news, India said it will be supplying hydroxychloroquine to some nations that have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic, such as the U.S.
Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc., headquartered in Bridgewater, New Jersey, is a pharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacturing, and distribution of generic and specialty drug products.
GOPIO President Sunny Kulathakal has written to Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to revoke NRI status from 120 days to 180 days in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic worldwide 
In his letter Kulathakal wrote that GOPIO has been striving to promote the Prime Minister's initiatives such as Make in India, Skill India and Digital India among the NRI-PIO community and that the NRI-PIO community has been contributing to Indian economy substantially. As per the World Bank report, India is the world's top recipient of remittances. In 1918 the Diaspora sent a whopping USD 79 billion back home showing a rise of 14% from the previous year.
“PIOs and NRIs are dismayed by the provision in the Union budget this year redefining the status of NRIs. An Indian national who wants to claim the Non-Resident status can't stay in India for more than 120 days in a year. The earlier limit was 180 days. This provision will deal a hard blow to many NRIs.” 
“In view of the world-wide lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented disruption of economic activities, GOPIO has appealed to the Government of India for immediate repeal of the revised NRI Status Duration Rule of 120 days, instead of long existed duration of 180 days. The new rule is akin to penalizing all NRIs. Entire nation is suffering due to the closure of borders, shutdown of airlines and other means of transportation. Many NRIs are forced to stay longer in India due to quarantine and travel restrictions imposed on them to combat the pandemic, resulting in losing their NRI status perforce.”
“In view of these disruptive developments which are beyond our control, we plead before you to revoke the provision on NRI status introduced in the Union budget.”
GOPIO International has condemned the attack on Sikhs in Afghanistan on March 25th, 2020. GOPIO International President Sunny Kulathakal has written Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help in protecting Afghanistan Sikhs. The letter reads;
“I am writing to you at a time of great urgency. As you are aware, on the morning of March 25th we were awoken to the news of Daesh (Islamic State) attacking a Gurdwara Guru Har Rai in Shor Bazar, Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 25 people, and scores injured after holding about 150 plus community hostage inside the complex which included men, women and children. The Sikh worshippers had gathered to pray for the world in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that has gripped the globe. Sadly their prayers were shattered by the bullets of terror.”
“Afghanistan has historically been home to hundreds of thousands of Sikhs for centuries. However due to the constant targeted violence the Sikh population has dwindled to barely one thousand, a number which has significantly decreased from 200,000 in the 1980s. One of the reasons some have been hesitant to leave Afghanistan has been to safeguard and protect their historical institutions. However, with the constant carnage and devastation there remains very little in an alternative. The miniscule community has faced and continues to face very clear and grave danger living in Afghanistan at the hands of the Islamic militant groups
“We, Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) condemn the attack carried out against innocent Sikh people who are vulnerable minorities in Afghanistan. They are peace loving people and law abiding citizens wherever they live. They are facing this violence for decades. Sikh men, women and kids deserve safe and violence free life.“
"We appeal before you to urge the Afghan Government to secure the lives and properties of Sikh community. Also, we plead to direct necessary action to repatriate the remnant Afghan Sikh community for a safe and decent settlement in India, in the interest of justice.'
GOPIO NEWS SPONSORS - Attorney Megha Bhouraskar (USA), Nazareth Consulting (USA) and Vaastu Shastra Specialist Dr. Rashmi Jain (India)
The Law Offices of Megha D. Bhouraskar [MDB] is a NYC/USA-based law firm specializing in Business Transactions, Company Formations, Real Estate, Investments, Intellectual Property, Entertainment, and Entrepreneurial Mentorship. MDB advances the business opportunities for Indians Worldwide by using a specific set of skills that include: personal strengths, creativity, intuition, discretion, sense of community, attention and interactive collaboration. 
Contact: The Law Offices of Megha D. Bhouraskar,P.C.,
139 Fulton Street, Suite 902, New York, NY 10039, United States, Tel: (212)571-1770
Contact: Nazareth Consulting, Cecil Nazareth, International Tax and Accounting,, The book on Intl Tax & Compliance can be ordered through the website or from Amazon.
Vaastu Specialist Dr. Rashmi Jain
For Consulting, contact: Dr. Rashmi Jain, +91-9971610440,,
GOPIO News offers display advertising in the format shown above will also be displayed in GOPIO website. This form of marketing allows you to effectively reach over 50,000 people by direct mail
GOPIO-CT Raising Funds for Masks for Frontline Workers
Several officials of GOPIO, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, together with the leaders at the Indian Consulate of New York had an engaging interactive session via Zoom online video conferencing technology on April 3, 2020 at 5 p.m. EST.
India’s Consul General in New York, Sandeep Chakravorty, joined by Deputy Consul General Shatrugna Sinha. initiated and led an interactive session with GOPIO leaders and members. Several GOPIO Life Members and Chapter Presidents participated, raised questions and provided suggestions to provide support for our NRI/PIO community in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut TriState area through these Coronovirus times.
Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty hosted the online interactive session for GOPIO Life Members and GOPIO chapter presidents and members including GOPIO youth. Other officials from the Indian Consulate present at the interactive session included Deputy Consul General Shatrugna Sinha, Consul for Political and POC Mr. Vipul Mesariya and Community Affairs Consul A.K. Vijayakrishnan. GOPIO International officials included its Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Vice President Ram Gadhavi, Secretary Dr. Rajeev Mehta, International Coordinator Dr. Asha Samant, Media Council Chair Jasbir "Nami" Kaur, GOPIO-New York President Beena Kothari, GOPIO-CT President Ashok Nichani, GOPIO-Central Jersey official Kunal Mehta, GOPIO Manhattan officials and several other chapter officials.
Consul General Chakravorty gave a brief description of the Indian Consulate functioning and how it has been helping the Indian American community as well as Indian students and visitors who are stuck in the US because of lock down due to Coronavirus. GOPIO chapters highlighted their activities during the lockdown period especially arranging online webinars and helping the community including senior citizens. There were several questions to the consulate officials on when the Indian visitors can return back to India and lifting of travel ban of OCI card holders. Consul General Chakravorty said that it would take several weeks to get back to normalcy on these issues.
“During these times of social distancing, there is a tendency for our people to feel isolated and depressed. So, we are hosting these online sessions with our community to keep them informed and engaged… And, we look to GOPIO and other local Indian organizations to join us in these efforts to provide different types of support to our overseas Indian community”, said CGI Chakravorty.
GOPIO Chairman Dr. Abraham said that GOPIO members and chapter officials are ready to help those in need. “GOPIO through its chapters has been providing services to those students and visitors from India who are stuck in many countries,” said Dr. Abraham.
GOPIO health professionals Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Dr. Asha Samant, Dr. Vimal Goyle and Dr. Lisa George offered their services for Indian visitors who have been stuck in the New York area. As a service to the health professionals, GOPIO-CT is taking an initiative to supply N95 masks to Connecticut hospitals.
The Indian Consulate plans several other online interactive sessions covering talks by eminent persons, webinar on important topics, musical events and children’s activities. The CG provided the links below to stay informed and attend the online activities planned by the Consulate.
The following text messages were exchanged by the CGI New York with Everyone during the Online Chat at this session:
All program details are available on our Facebook, Instagram and official website, twitter Please follow us on our Facebook page @indiainnewyork. Also please see the Consulate website
This interactive online session was a big hit with the GOPIO attendees, as expressed by individual expressions of appreciation and kudos for the Consulate initiative and offers to be of service going forward. GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and Media Chair Ms. Nami Jasbir Kaur officially thanked the CG Amb,. Chakravorty on behalf of GOPIO and committed to stay engaged in such joint community communications.
GOPIO Webinar with Amb. Sanddep Chakravorty
Photo: Zoom screen image of GOPIO's interactive session with Amb. Sandeep Chakravorty

GOPIO of Central Jersey, in partnership with Shah & Associates (Neel and Pinky Shah) and the Fairway Mortgage Corporation, held a webinar titled ‘Taking Control in a Coronavirus World’ on Thursday, April 02, 2020. The focus of the webinar was to furnish a platform for the South Asian community and GOPIO team member to come together and get perspectives on managing their personal, business, financial and legal matters during this unprecedented COVID pandemic. Highlights of the discussion are as follows describing topics and key considerations:
News & Social Media
While there is a lot of information floating on the internet, social media and news platform, it is strong recommended that we limit our exposure to it.
·        Practical Guidance: Manage your consumption of the new to maintain your sanity. Schedule some time to spend on social media and new channels to understand general progress BUT avoid continuous monitoring and intake of negative news.

Physical & Mental
Life at home can get basic and sedentary. Don’t go the ‘couch potato’ route as it can be debilitating and very harmful to your mental and physical health.
·        Practical Guidance: Look for opportunities to get some exercise, including using home gym equipment, going for a walk, bicycling, local hiking, yoga, etc to get your body moving. Try to get between 7,000 - 10,000 steps a day.
Personal Finances
Market conditions are bad. Stock markets have taken a big hit. 401k and other retirement accounts have been significantly impacted. Many folks are losing their jobs or are being furloughed. During such times of stress and uncertainty, it is important to evaluate your current situation and seek opportunities to make adjustments, as follows:
1.   Emergency Funds Do you have 6 months of living expenses saved? If not, plan for it and begin saving now. If you do, evaluate whether you can safe off 9 months of living expenses.
2.   Lifetime Funds Assess long term wealth impacts. How much are you living off of – Is it $5k, $10K, etc per month. Where will this funding come from? If you cannot opportunistically answer this, then consider putting a monthly budget together and cutting out / more effectively managing your expenses.
3.   Legacy Funds These are funds that you are not planning to touch during your lifetime. Rather, these are funds earmarked for your next of kin. Losses in this pool will likely be recovered over time and should not be a cause for frustration. That being said. It is important for you to evaluate whether these funds should be utilized for Emergency or Lifetime needs based on your current situation.
The present time is also ripe for individuals to consider whether migrating 401K and Traditional IRAs to a Roth IRA is meaningful, considering:
1.   Taxation: When you retire, you will need to pay taxes on capital gains in your 401K and Traditional IRAs. If you are able to convert those to a Roth IRA now, then you may be able to convert it at a lower rate, pay taxes right now but likely not have to pay taxes in the future. This assumes that that gains would be substantial since the market has taken such a major hit. 2019 Roth IRA contribution deadline has also been extended to July 15, 2020.
2.   Required Minimum Distribution: For those in retirement at present, the government has said you do not need to take required minimum distributions until you are 72 years of age, meaning you may not have to pay taxes on certain retirement monies leading to opportunities for you to consider doing some Roth IRA conversions.
Mortgage Management
Mortgage rates have continued to fluctuate. Presently they are at ~ 4%.
1.   Refinance: Considering refinancing your mortgage if your current mortgage rates are over 4%. Particularly if you have any other debt or need equity for renovations, you can consider this options to avail the needed finance to you.
2.   Mortgage Payments: For those who are unable to make mortgage payment, the government has agreed to allow Forbearance which is an agreement made between a mortgage lender and delinquent borrower in which the lender agrees not to exercise its legal right to foreclose on a mortgage and the borrower agrees to a mortgage plan that will, over a certain time period, bring the borrower current on his or her payments. However, please note that Forbearance is NOT Forgiveness. It is recommended that you work with your mortgage provider to understand the terms and expectations that they have set.
Business Owners
For business owners (including 1099, Schedule C, etc) needing funding and support, the government has agreed to provide assistance as follows:
1.   Payroll Protection Program (PPP): A 100% federally guaranteed loan up to 2.5x your monthly payroll, that can be forgiven if you meet selected criteria. This loan is provided to enable you to employee people and stay in business. There is no personal guarantee or collateral needed.
2.   Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL): A SBA Disaster Loan where you need to apply with the SBA. The rate is set to 3.75% for a loan up to 30 years. This loan can be used for business expansion. This loan does need to be collateralized and must be paid back. SBA is offering a $10,000K advance just for applying for the loan which DOES NOT need to be paid back. This $10K is literally free money whether you choose to subsequently move forward with the loan or not.
Stimulus Package
The government has authorized a stimulus package for individuals and families as follows:
1.   Individuals earning $75K or less (per your 2019 tax filing) will get $1,200 check from the government.
2.   Joint Filers earning $150K or less (per your 2019 tax filing) will get $1,200 check from the government.
Tax Filing
Nationally, the tax filing date has been extended to July, 15, 2020. However, each states individually, may have localized criteria that should be confirmed. NY, NJ & PA states have officially adopted the July, 15, 2020 tax filing deadline.
Estimated tax payments for Quarter 1 has also been extended to July, 15, 2020. However, Quarter 2 payment are still due June 15, 2020 until further notice. As such, please keep funds handy to accommodate these payment.
Charitable Contributions
You can take an additional $300 charitable contribution on your taxes ,on top of any normal contributions you make without penalty.
Estate Planning
This is a great time to establish or update your Estate Planning, Wills, Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directives, particularly for the elderly members, who may not be able to get out their homes due to COVID. NJ, allows remote notary, enabling people to establish / update selected document without physical presence. This is not yet allowed for Wills, Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directives.
The event turnout was outstanding. We had 400+ viewers across Facebook Live and Zoom. GOPIO of CJ thanks Neel and Pink Shah for proactively reaching out to us and availing their services to us and our community. We look forward to many more such events and opportunities to service our communities in the future.
Zoom image of GOPIO-Central Jersey Seminar
Photo: From top left clockwise, Dr. Tushar Patel,  Neel Shah and Pinky Shah 

For those who may want to listen to the webinar, in full, please use the following link to access it à
Contact: Kunal Mehta, GOPIO Central Jersey, or Dr. Tushar Patel, President GOPIO-Central Jersey,
GOPIO France Paris was about to celebrate the HOLI festival on the Sunday 29th of March 2020 at Jardin d’Acclimatation, one of the best garden park in Paris. This is the biggest festival for our association where we gathered a record crowd of 30 000 people in 2019.Preparation was at its best when the outbreak of Corona virus reached France and quarantine measures imposed by the government of France.
France imposed the lockdown or restriction on Tuesday 24th of March 2020, closing all but essential businesses and urging residents to stay indoors, under penalty of fines and arrest. The ordinary show of French joie de vivre stopped with the cafes, bars, theatres, restaurants, schools and universities closed. Many people had to work from home and families faced problems when children are young and not still independent.
But GOPIO France Paris and GOPIO Europe are never locked down. A new life and new initiatives started popping out for GOPIO. The members reorganized special activities in a constructive positive dynamic way for children to transform this lockdown in a great moment of family sharing. Some of our keywords were: relaxation, freedom in the home and pleasure.
GOPIO France Paris used innovative ideas. In order to limit the TV screen time for the children, drawing/painting program for the kids was immediately organized. This resulted in a nice video which can be viewed at this below click.
GOPIO France Paris Children Drawing on Coronavirus
Photo: GOPIO France:Children showing their drawings/paintings done during lockdown period in France

As it was not possible to do any outdoors activities or to keep certain virtual social contacts, GOPIO used the ZOOM video technology to pursue with its activities. Almost, every 2 days. the members came online together to discuss about impact of Covid-19 on economy, health issues, group discussions, quiz competitions, motivational speech, etc.
Thanks to Dr. Ezhil Anand of GOPIO London West, who has initiated many programs where many friends and GOPIO chapter members joined. GOPIO France Paris thanked Mr Ignaci Arulanandu, First Secretary (Research, Technology, Community Affairs & Education) of Embassy of India in Paris who supported and participated in our ZOOM programme with the community.
GOPIO France Paris organized two topics in its last Zoom session, ‘Maintaining Emotional Health and Well-Being’ by Thendral Chetty of University of Paris and ‘Ayurveda’s Immunity Boosting for Self-care’ by Joyce Villaume – Le Don. These sessions were followed by group discussion.
 GOPIO France Webinar programs using ZOOM Video Conf.
Photo: GOPIO France Webinar programs using ZOOM Video conference system. On top left, Mr Ignaci Arulanandu of Embassy of India in Paris and on the right, Thendral T.Chetty of University of Paris doing the presentation.

Finally, COVID-19 has helped in a certain way to reunite or make some chapters in Europe coming closer. It is comforting for everyone to think that we’ll able to live again. However, our earnest hope is that everything must be done to stop this virus from travelling around the world. A future without COVID-19 is possible.

Contact Mehen Poinoosawmy, GOPIO International Coordinator for Europe,

Indian origin physicians and nurses are in large numbers in USA, Canada, UK and a few other European countries. Indian Americans constitute over 10% of the total physicians and surgeons in the US and they are in the frontline to fight against COVID-19. The larger presence is felt because of mainstream media appearances of many well know physicians as follows:
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is ‘The face of calm during the storm’, a neurosurgeon, Emmy award winning medical reporter and a writer. In 2003 Gupta reported on the ground in Iraq, covering both the medical aspects of war, as well as operating on US soldiers and Iraqi civilians. In 2011 he was named ‘Forbes 10 most influential celebrities’. Now Dr. Gupta reports daily on the frontline covering medical news, updates, expert advise, analysis and engaging with professionals and public in town halls on the COVID-19 situation in the US and around the World.
Seema Verma has served as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, since March 2017 in the Trump Administration. She has been commended for her active part in the WH task force against COVID-19. In 2001 she founded a health policy consulting firm in Indianapolis to set up Medicaid programs under the affordable care act, that has worked with several other states. 
Dr. Vivek Murthy was the first Surgeon General of Indian descent and served in the Obama administration. He also served in the US Dept. of Health and Human Services 2011-2013. Murthy is known for his extensive work with the nation’s leading researchers to compile data on the opioid crisis, on public service campaigns to promote awareness and inspire a movement ‘Turn the Tide’ campaign. His expert insights and guidance are now much sought after by hospitals and professionals as the nation tackles the widespread Coronavirus pandemic.
Courtesy: National Indo-American Museum (NIAM)
Naicker passed away at his home in Newark, Tugela, at the age of 90 (GOPIO News, March 26, 2020)
GOPIO International leaders in South Africa Marlan Padayachee (GOPIO Media Council Co-Chair) and GOPIO Executive VP Ishwar Ramlutchman along with Venilla Padayachee paid tributes and homage to elder statesman and exemplary political leader SV Naicker who passed away during the country's height of the fight against the scourge of the coronavirus global pandemic. Gopio International will posthumously honour this renowned son of the soil who's roots are linked to his 1860 Indian indentured labourers to SA. 
Padayachee also paid homage in a message of condolences at the funeral
gopio iNTL. leaders paying tribute to S.V. Naicker at his funeral
Photo: GOPIO International leaders Marlan Padayachee (GOPIO Media Council Co-Chair and Ishwar Ramlutchman, flanking Venilla Padayachee
If you are a foreign visitor or a business traveler B1/B2 or temporary US visa holder, currently in the US, your I-94 is about to expire and unsure about your return due to the Coronavirus situation, It is recommended to file for Visa extension, here is a step by step guide to filing an online extension of stay.
ICCR Scholarships for Diaspora Students
Government of India has launched AYUSH Scholarship Scheme for Foreign students, who want to pursue Undergraduate/ Post Graduate/ Ph.D. Courses in Indian traditional medical system such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy or Yoga in Indian Universities/ institutes/ colleges. Acceptance of AYUSH at international level has resulted in growing demand from foreign students to study in Indian Institutions.
The detailed guidelines on the process for applying online and other eligibility criteria for ICCR Scholarships are given on
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 2/3rd 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 – Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, +973-39441956, India +91-9845756692, E-mail:
GOPIO Executive Vice President – Ishwar Ramlutchman, Durban, South Africa, Tel: +27-83-3578747, E-mail:
GOPIO Vice President – Ram Gadhavi, Wayne, New Jersey, USA, Tel: +1-973-699-8582, E-mail:
GOPIO’s Global Ambassador – Issac John, Dubai, UAE, +971-50 625 9941, E-mail:
GOPIO Secretary – Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA, Tel: +1-732-986-2584,

GICC Chairman - Niraj Baxi, San Jose, California, USA, Tel: 408-307-9845, 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)
Editor: J. Nami Kaur, Media Council Chair, GOPIO International (New York, USA)
Associate Editors: Layla Matthew (Bangalore, India), Harry Walia (Australia), Marlan Padayachee (South Africa)
Webmasters: Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA) and Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India)
Contributors of this issue: Ishwar Ramlutchman, Exec. Vice President, GOPIO International (Durban, South Africa); Mehen Poinoosawmy, GOPIO Europe International Coordinator (Paris, France); Rajneesh Misra, Secretary GOPIO-CT (Norwalk, CT, USA), Kunal Mehta, GOPIO Central Jersey (New Jersey, USA)

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