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July 1, 2010
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Issue: IX-8July 1, 2010
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The new rule posted by the Government of India in May 2010 on Indian consulate websites stipulated that Persons of Indian Origin who had acquired citizenship of other countries should obtain 'Surrender Certificate' from the nearest Indian consulate. It further stipulated that Indian consulates would deny consular services for non-compliance of the new rules. GOPIO took up this issue on behalf of the Indian community and strongly objected to the retroactive enforcement of the rules and hefty fee and penalties for obtaining the "Surrender Certificate."
On May 23, 2010, GOPIO initiated an "on-line petition" and on May 28, 2010, submitted the petition to the Government of India together with a list of over 19,000 people who signed it including their comments in oppositions to the new rules. By early June, over 32,000 people signed the petition. In a major reversal, the Government of India on June 1, 2010 relaxed their retroactive enforcement of the rules, eliminated penalties and reduced the fee to $20. 

However, there are still valid issues that need prompt remedial action by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). These concerns include the following which need to be addressed in a timely and equitable manner:


1.  A large majority of the people of Indian Origin who have become citizens of other countries have their Indian passports and are surrendering their old passports to obtain Surrender Certificate. However, there are many people who have lost, misplaced or never kept in their possession after acquiring citizenship of other countries, are having difficult times in obtaining Surrender Certificate and consequently are deprived of obtaining visa and other consular services.


There are many people who had long term visas to India, renewed them multiple times and visited India several times but are denied renewal of visas as they do not have the old Indian passports with them. In this category, there are people who visit India to meet relatives, to oversee the philanthropic projects they have initiated and/or attend/participate in international events, such as annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD). We at GOPIO urge the government to accept the following suggestions in this respect:


7         For People of Indian Origin who have been citizens of their adopted countries for over ten years, the validity of their Indian passports which they had at the time of obtaining citizenship of the new countries had long expired. Their obsolete passports cannot be used in anyway and should no longer present security risks. The Government of India should relax the current rigid requirement and consider asking for the following documents to obtain Surrender Certificate:

a.       Affidavit giving details of the passport and reasons for loss.

b.       Police report, if necessary.


2. Many people have paid the fee of $175 and penalty of $250 to obtain his/her Surrender Certificate prior to June 1, 2010. It may be administrative inconvenience to issue refunds but it will continue to be source of anger in the minds of many people and somewhat tarnish years of goodwill built by the mutual healthy relationship between India and its Diaspora. 

Timely attention is required to address these outstanding issues in a fair and equitable manner. Indians who have become citizens of other countries must not be made to feel that the Government of India is preying on them. Such negative feeling could diminish their loyalty and continuing support for their motherland.


GOPIO urges Indian community groups, organizations and individuals to write to the Prime Minister at, the Secretary of the  Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) at, and the Secretary of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) at, with a copy to GOPIO at


The Australian Government is very close to passing a legislation which will change the lives of thousands of international students and graduates waiting decision on their residency, in particular those who have legally come to Australia to study with the hope to make this country a place of residence. The legislation proposes to terminate the applications of many existing visa applicants. This bill will also potentially affect thousands of students who have been waiting for their applications to be processed.


On an average Australia takes around A$60,000.00 (normal 2 years study A$25K fee and A$36K for living expenses) to complete 2 years study in Australia. The majority of international students come from middle class families and most families have put their life time earnings to make careers for their children. Some families have sold their homes and life time assets for that purpose. Many students came with their families and they made decisions to come to Australia by trusting the current law at that time, and keeping in mind the reputation of Australia being fair. This unexpected turn of events in the proposed change of the laws could lead to ruin the lives of many international students.


A community meeting was held at Harris Park at the Community Centre on 16 June 2010 where majority of Indian community leaders participated and a committee of 10 members was formed to raise a voice to save affected students. A petition has been drafted as 'Fair Go 4 International Students' is online now; http://fairgo4inter nationalstudents .org/petition/ for signing.

The content of the petition is:


"The Indian community does not oppose any genuine or equitable migration rule changes, but this Visa Capping Bill 2010 is unethical and this law should not be applicable with retrospective effect as proposed by the Government", remarked Harmohan (Harry) Walia, President of GOPIO Sydney North West.


Mr. Paul Szabo, MP, Mississauga South delivered the second petition signed by 45000 to the office of the Prime Minister on behalf different organizations that seek to request Prime Minister to nominate Dr. Bikram Lamba as the next Governor General.


45,000 people have petitioned seeking to create awareness of need to recognize the benefits that accrue from this recommendation. The petition says:"   The appointment of Dr. Lamba shall be of immense value to Canada: A person of South Asian origin, coming as he does from a clear visible minority, shall immediately focus the attention of the world, and, help Canada sustain and consolidate its image as a country that preaches and practices multi-culturalism in the real sense.


"It would help to a considerable degree in augmenting trade and commerce of Canada with the rising economies of Asia, and would help in establishing closely knit bonds with these countries.    


The intrinsic Canadian values shall be enhanced as Dr. Lamba is a passionate exponent and upholder of these values, which are so dear to the Canadians.


In view of his qualifications, experience and proven capabilities, he is eminently suited to hold the august job of the Governor General of Canada.


The first petition signed by 2000 families was submitted on April 29 and the second pettion signed by 25000 was submitted yesterday by Mr. Paul Szabo was submitted


The petitioners aver that the request is not intended to pressurize, but only to affirm that 50,000 families have expressed their desire in a democratic manner.

Petition to nominate Dr. Bikram Lamba as Governor General of Canada 
 Photo above: Canadian MP Paul Szabo holding petition supporting Dr. Bikram Lamba as next Governor General of Canada.

Dr. Lamba is perceived to have brought about a change in the political scene of Canada,  and Dr. Lamba stated that he stands for change to make the process more democratic and transparent. But this campaign in no way reflects on the prerogative of the Prime Minister to select the suitable person for the job. This campaign is a democratic effort to suggest a person who has the ideal credentials for the post. It is also an attempt to increase the awareness of the community's contribution.  He agreed with the idea of having a debate on this issue.


It is contended that in the growing global economy, it is imperative to have closer economic relations with the South Asia region. Canada's trade with this region is not significant as it ought to be. A person, who understands the economy and culture, can help strengthen the economic ties with the South Asian giants, and that is forte of Dr. Lamba. Canada would not only enhance its international prestige with this change but also gain economically. There is every reason to believe that this shall help change the perceptions perceptibly for the economic and political benefit.


Contact Info: Tel: 416-371-9849, 905-848-4205, Email:;




Indian-origin Conservative MP Shailesh Vara has been appointed a Minister in the UK's new coalition government headed by Prime Minister David Cameron. The appointment of Vara as a government whip makes him the first Indian minister for the Conservative Party.


Whips are responsible for ensuring that the legislative program of the government gets through Parliament as smoothly as possible.


In an interview with PTI, Vara said "I am delighted to have an opportunity to serve in the new government. It is a tremendous honor. There is a huge amount of work for the new Government to do, not least sorting out the economic mess that has been left by the outgoing administration. I look forward to playing my part in helping to bring about the changes that Britain so desperately needs." Vara has earlier been a Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.




Dr. Neeraj Patil, a leading NRI doctor, has been elected Mayor of the Borough of Lambeth. 40-year-old Dr Patil succeeded councilor Christopher Wellbelove.


Speaking after his election, Patil said "the trust in politicians is all-time low" after last year's MPs expenses scandal and it would be his endeavor to live up to the expectation of the people.

"Our main effort will be to restore the trust," he said. Dr Patil is currently working as a consultant with A&E and a governor of Guys and St Thomas Hospital in central London.


Born and brought up in Kamalapur in Gulbarga district in Karnataka, Patil completed his MBBS from M R Medical College, Gulbarga in 1992 and worked for some time in the Osmania Medical College before coming to the UK for higher studies. He worked as an Accident and Emergency Consultant and as a doctor in over 25 National Health Services hospitals across UK for 14 years.




An NRI Sikh councilor Jagjit Singh Grewal has become new mayor of London Borough of Slough. 73 year old Grewal, who was honored with the Glory of India award last year by India International Friendship Society, succeeded Joginder Singh Bal.



President Barack Obama formally nominated MIT School of Engineering dean, Subra Suresh ScD '81, to act as the next director of the National Science Foundation.If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Suresh will serve a six-year term and will oversee the agency's $6.9 billion budget that currently funds nearly 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. He will replace the current director, Arden Berment, who was scheduled to leave the foundation on June 1.


With an annual budget of roughly seven billion dollars, the National Science Foundation is a federal government agency which serves to promote "opportunities for research and education funding in all areas of science and engineering," according to their website.


 "I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to take on these important roles in my administration. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years," Obama said.


As director of the National Science Foundation, Suresh will oversee the foundation's staff and management, which directs "program creation and administration, merit review, planning, budget and day-to-day operations," according to the NSF website.


The foundation includes a workforce of nearly 1700 employees, who are based primarily at the foundation's headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The staff includes workers who review research proposals, primarily from academic institutions like MIT, which are awarded through a merit-based process. The foundation also includes the Office of the Inspector General, which examines the NSF's work and reports to the National Science Board and Congress.


"I think Subra is great, and I think he'll be great for the NSF," said Marc A. Kastner, dean of the MIT School of Science.


Since July of 2007, Suresh has served as the dean of the School of Engineering and has held joint faculty appointments in four MIT departments. Under his leadership, the department has most notably seen a spike in the diversity of new faculty appointments.


According to the MIT news office, "approximately 45 new faculty members have joined [the School of Engineering] since he became dean, and in 2009, for the first time in its history, the school hired more new women faculty than men."


In contrast to previous National Science Foundation directors who were no longer active scientists, Suresh maintains an active lab, which focuses on largely on thenanomechanics of biomaterials.


Suresh has authored over 220 research articles in international journals, acted as a co-inventor on over 12 U.S. and international patents, and has coedited five books, including Fatigue of Materials and Thin Film Materials - a prominent textbook used among materials science and engineering - during his research career.


Over 100 students and research scientists have trained in his research group, which has focused on such topics as the mechanobiology of malaria in infected red blood cells. He has received such honors for his work as the 2007 European Materials Medal and the 2006 Acta Materialia Gold Medal. Additionally, the Technology Review magazine named Suresh's work on nanobiomechanics as one of the top 10 emerging technologies that "will have a significant impact on business, medicine or culture" in 2006.


Among his other academic appointments, Suresh has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Indian National Academy of Engineering, the German National Academy of Sciences, the Indian Academy of Sciences, and the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences.


Suresh earned his bachelor of technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in 1977. He received his MS from Iowa State University in 1979, his ScD from MIT in 1981, and completed postdoctoral work from 1981 to 1983 at the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


Suresh joined Brown University as an assistant professor of engineering in December 1983 and was promoted to full professor in July 1989. In 1993, Suresh joined MIT as the R. P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.






The GOPIO Northern Virginia chapter was inaugurated in grand style with a gala event aboard a cruise on the f Potomac River on Friday, June 11, 2010. The inauguration was followed by followed by a musical program by famous Gazal singer Munni Begam mesmerized the audience of 300 people with her sweet and powerful voice supported by a full moon night and pleasant weather. The inauguration began with GOPIO Northern Virginia chapter president elect Mr. Jay Singh Bhandari making the welcome remarks. Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal, National Coordinator of GOPIO who came from Florida, conducted the oath ceremony and the inauguration function.  In his address Dr. Agrawal highlighted the vision, mission, activities and expansion of GOPIO. He told the audience how GOPIO took leadership and resolved the recent Indian passport surrender issue. Emphasis of his remarks was on the unity in the community and on the relationship among the Indian Diaspora worldwide.


 Photo below: GOPIO-Virginia President Jay Singh Bhandari with Virgina
Governor Bob McDonnell

GOPIO-Virgina President Jay Bhandari with VA Governor McDonnell

 After Dr. Agrawal administered the oath of Office to the Founding Chapter President, Mr. Bhandari outlined his plans for GOPIO to pursue during his tenure which focused on the Chapter activities on civic engagement which include four projects which GOPIO VA has planned to pursue this year. Out of these, two programs have already started. One is food for homeless and hungry people. The first installment of food for 100 people was already donated to Loudon county Interfaith center on May 22nd. Also the Chapter provides free medical assistance to the parents and students who do not have insurance and can not afford. Now the third project which will provide financial help and scholarship to students will start in September. GOPIO Virginia is also planning to honor the best people in their field of expertise such as education, business, industry and community service in December, 2010.  Dr. Agrawal then asked the duly sworn Chapter President Jay Bhandari to administer the oath of their respective offices to members of the executive committee.


Chief Guest of the program was Virginia State Delegate Mark Keam, a first time elected Delegate to the Virginia Assembly. In his remarks, Keam was quite generous in highlighting his impressions about the Indian culture, food and a well disciplined crowd. Being an Asian himself, he was touched by the presence of sari clad ladies and the gentlemen in Indian outfits. He emphasized the importance of unity and community support as essential to get recognition and make it possible for your voice to be heard in the governance.  Senior Community activist Sambhu Banik and GOPIO Metro DC Chapter president Renuka Mishra also spoke on this occasion and congratulated President Bhandari and his team for opening the new chapter. Both emphasized on the unity of whole community and committed to work together to uplift the Indian community.


GOPIO-Virginia formally inaugurated

Photo above left: Delegate Mark Keam addressing GOPIO members.  Next to him are Jay Bhandari and Dr. Piyush Agrawal. Photo Right: Famous Gazal Singer Munni Begam with Jay Bhandari

After the ceremony dinner was served followed by non stop musical concert to entertain the audience. Munni Begam mesmerized the audience of 300 people with her sweet and powerful voice supported by a full moon night and pleasant weather.


Contact GOPIO-Virginia Chapter President Jay Bhandari, E-mail:  




GOPIO the Netherlands held a very successful symposium on "Diaspora Entrepreneurship" on June 4th 2010 at the headquarters of Exact Group, Delft in the Netherlands. The main objective of the event was to promote and discuss Diaspora entrepreneurship at various levels. The event was sponsored by the Exact Group and was hosted at their newly established headquarters in Delft, the Netherlands. The speakers on this event were professionals from several disciplines.  


GOPIO-Netherlands with Diaspora Entrepreneurship speakers, June 2010

Attached photo: From left to right: Speakers Roy Budjhawan, Bisnoedath Piare, Aniel Chandrikasingh, Sumit Arora, Rajindre Tewari and Rajesh Patel


The event started with a guided tour round the new headquarters of Exact. The symposium was officially opened by Mr. Rajindre Tewari, National Coordinator of GOPIO the Netherlands, who gave the guests some background information on the program and the speakers of the day. The first speaker, Mr. Rajesh Patel, CEO of the Exact Group, took us back to his childhood and shared his own success story with us. He pinpointed the specific cultural competences responsible for the success of entrepreneurs of the "East". Other speakers were: Mr. Roy Budjhawan, Vice President Micro Finance at ING and also a board member of GOPIO's Amsterdam Chapter; Mr. Bisnoedath Piare, a very successful PIO entrepreneur and Mr. Sumit Arora, Business development Manager at Nucleus Software. The symposium concluded with a panel discussion by speakers.




The Connecticut chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin Connecticut hosted a "meet and greet" reception for Congressman Jim Himes, D-Conn., at the Hampton Inn in

Stamford, Conn., on June 7, as part of its mission to create an ongoing dialog between members of the Indian community and elected officials.


In his speech and during a lively exchange with the audience, Himes touched on a wide range of issues of interest to the community, including health care reform, financial regulation and

education, as well as cap and trade.


"We are in the process of gradually emerging from a recession, but I don't know how long that will take. There is a certain level of risk from the European contagion," Himes said, referring to the

large dept some European nations such as Greece have accrued.


On the topic of health care, Himes said, "While the health care bill is not perfect, it is an important first step." His biggest concern is the $40 trillion in unfunded liabilities in Medicare and $8 trillion in unfunded Social Security benefits over the next 75 years.


In response to a question about the many challenges the country faces, Himes said, "I am optimistic because there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit in this country. Just look at all the Americans of Indian heritage in Palo Alto (Calif.) who are innovating and leading the charge towards wealth creation."


Congressman Himes with GOPIO-Offcials

Photo top left- Congressman Himes speaks at GOPIO-CT program. Photo top right - Part of audience.

Photo bottom: Congressman Jim Himes poses with executive officers and members of the board of directors of the GOPIO-Ct chapter, From L. to R. Harry Arora, Ravi Dhingra, Shelly Nichani, Sangeeta Ahuja, Congressman Himes, Shailesh Naik, Prakash Chakravarti, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Sara Tierno, Ritu Johorey, Anita Bhat


Himes said better ties between the United States and India would benefit both countries. "India is moving from a bureaucratic regime to one that is much more innovative. The United States resonates much more with India as a secular democracy," he said.


Himes recalled with fondness his many trips to India while he was in the private sector and indicated his commitment to joining the India caucus in the House of Representatives on his return to Washington.


Shailesh Naik, president of GOPIO-CT, welcomed and introduced Himes as a "friend of the community and of GOPIO-Connecticut." Naik said that Himes' travels to India have provided him with insights into the essence of the India heritage. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO International.


Contact: GOPIO-CT President Shailesh Naik, e-mail:, or visit




A delegation comprising GOPIO of New Zealand officials on June 21, 2010 met with Hon Vayalar, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) during Minister Ravi's trip to the region. The delegation was led by Harish Bajaj, GOPIO Regional Vice President and GOPIO New Zealand National President Ashok Bhatia. The meeting was a very productive as many current and pertinent issues were discussed. Hon Min Ravi expressed his interest in the Indian community of the Oceania Region and his awareness of GOPIO activities in the region. Min Ravi also expressed his thanks to GOPIO International for its role in addressing issues of the global Indian Diaspora.


The GOPIO delegation informed Minister Ravi of the many useful activities and seminars held for the benefit of Indian Diaspora and Community at large by GOPIO in the region. These included Health Expo, Cultural activities, Education and Academic, GOPIO Awareness, Indian Passport issues, Family Violence and Law & Order issues. The GOPIO delegation reiterated its vision and confidence to be the leading organization that provides an effective platform for People of Indian Origin for realization of their aspirations, promoting their welfare and interests. GOPIO now has a total of 19 chapters in the region with financial membership of 450 and a population base of well over a million people of Indian origin spread over Australia and New Zealand. GOPIO in the region has earned the respect and recognition not only of Indian community but also of the wider community, institutions and the government sectors with whom we have been liaising on issues from time to time. It is expected that within the next three months, there will 6 new chapters formed in New Zealand and Australia.


GOPIO-Newzealand oficials with MOIA Minister Vayalar Ravi 

Photo above: GOPIO-New Zealand officials with Minister Vayalar Ravi, From left to right: Venkat Dheen, Nek Mohammed, Satish Sharma, Karnail Badhan, Sunny Kaushal, Ashok Bhatia, Hon Minister V, Ravi, Harish Bajaj, Daljit Singh, Rakesh Gupta and Naresh Shukla.


The GOPIO delegation thanked Min Ravi and MOIA for all the work it is doing for the Indian Diaspora world wide. On the matter of education, GOPIO would like to encourage more young students of Indian origin from Australia and New Zealand to go to India for further studies and ask that you use your good offices to offer scholarships to these students, subject to an acceptable criteria and process set out by the Indian Government. GOPIO has set up a special committee for Family Violence, Education, Youth, Health, Community Issues, Law & Order and Immigration. GOPIO National President and his dedicated team work very closely with New Zealand Police Community Focus Group and similarly in Australia there is President Umesh Chandra of GOPIO Brisbane who has recently appointed the Liaison Coordinator for our Indian Community for their welfare and issues of concern.


Newzealand-Indian Business Council and GOPIO officials with Minister Ravi

Photo above: GOPIO and India-New Zealand Buiness Council officials with Minsiter Ravi: From left to right:  Wenceslaus Anthony, Iain Leech ANZ Bank, Harish Bajaj, Minister Ravi, Steve Savage and Sunil Kaushal


Minister Ravi congratulated GOPIO International to take up the matter of passport surrender to reduce the fees with success. Min Ravi was invited as Chief Guest to the planned August 2011 GOPIO International Conference to be held in the New Zealand-Australia region.




On June 23, 2010 starting at 14:00 hrs, GOPIO the Netherlands held the first of a series of Master Classes on "Delve into India" with a program on "India, Not a Country, But a Continent" which was followed De Baak's summer cocktail event in Driebergen. The main speakers were Rajesh Patel, CEO of Exact and Rajindre Tewari, Country Coordinator of GOPIO Netherlands.

This is the first in a series of Master Classes, designed in cooperation with De Baak and Exact, in which we will look at India: the country, its spiritual tradition, and its legendary entrepreneurship.


These Master Classes will present different facets of Indian society and business in order to create awareness and stimulate your entrepreneurship.  This interactive session was designed for businessmen and women who want to gain a deeper insight into the Indian entrepreneurial mind-set. This Master Class: India - not a country but a continent is about understanding the complexity of the Indian sub-continent and the importance of how to interact with both social and business factors when doing business in India. The discussion centered on the roots of entrepreneurship connected to the cultural heritage, the diversity of its people and how this has an impact on the business world.  The goal is to create awareness and connect on the human-side of doing business in a global marketplace. Together, Messrs. Patel and Tewari outlined how to benchmark against India to improve your entrepreneurial knowledge, ability and insight. They also highlighted trends in entrepreneurship for the future




GOPIO-Central Jersey Chapter and Rotary Club of Plainsboro, New Jersey (RCPNJ) hosted "a Diabetics awareness program" on June 1, 2010 at the Crown of India restaurant in Plainsboro, New Jersey.


Sangeeta Ahuja, MS, RD, CDE, CD-N, RYT a registered Dietitian, a Certified Diabetes Educator and Chair of the GOPIO Health Council, was the speaker. About 40 people attended the event; various topics like 'meal planning, diabetes education and how to control diabetes' were discussed. The session was interactive and handouts were provided, giving information on diet and diabetes.


"A serious health crisis faces the future of the Indian Diaspora. Several studies indicate that diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases are on the rise among people of Indian origin globally. Greater attention is needed for increasing awareness, promoting prevention and managing chronic diseases." said Sangeeta Ahuja, Chair of the GOPIO Health Council.


Dr. Rajeev Mehta, charter member Rotary Club of Plainsboro and President of GOPIO-Central Jersey, in his welcoming remarks, provided a brief overview of GOPIO's initiative - GOPIO Health.


GOPIO Health Seminar on Diabetes in New Jersey

Photo above: GOPIO Health Council Chief Sangeeta Ahuja with organizers.

GOPIO HEALTH is a global initiative of GOPIO International's Health Council. The objectives of this initiative are to increase awareness of major health issues affecting People of Indian Origin (PIO) and Non-Resident Indians (NRI), promote preventive/ holistic practices and share information to manage chronic diseases and support research on PIO health issues. This initiative will focus on Cardiac Health/Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes/Pre-Diabetes and Stress Management. The health Initiative will help start, implement and sustain a grass-roots individual and community level movement for change in the way people manage their health as well as organize Annual Health Summits to showcase the latest research related to health issues of PIOs/NRIs and to offer practical approaches and guidelines to manage health and to change behavior.


RCPNJ in collaboration with GOPIO of Central Jersey is bringing many events to the local Community that will address Health, Family, Education and Social issues. GOPIO's Health Council is a marvelous initiative and RCPNJ will work with GOPIO on this initiative.

Contact: Dr. Rajeev Mehta, President, GOPIO Central Jersey, rajimehta@hotmail.




Current Situation:

Australian Migration Amendment (Visa Capping) Bill 2010; proposed to amend the Migration Act, is currently with a Senate Committee. The Bill, if passed in its current form may adversely affect nearly 147,000 General Skilled Migration [GSM] applicants including a large number of International students (app 36750) who have lodged valid GSM applications based on the guideline prevalent on or before 8 May 2010.


On behalf of International students, a team called "Friends of International Students" has been formed with members from across the community representing many different community organizations and general public from Indian and Indian Sub-continental heritage. Action taken by "Friends of International Students" team With a view to helping the cause of International students, a petition has been lodged with the Federal Government seeking changes to the proposed amendments to the Migration Regulation Act 1994.


The petition is accessible on


Request to the community:

Please visit the above mentioned website and click on "Click to Sign the petition" to sign the petition in support of international students. The website explains the details of the petition lodged. There are designated fields at the bottom of the page for extending support and signing the petition. Once you have signed the petition, an email will be

SIGNED BY: (On behalf of Friends of International Students)

Mr. Raj Datta - Chairperson, Deepavali Festival Committee of NSW

Ms. Aruna Chandrala - President, United Indian Associations

Ms. Lucky Singh - President GOPIO Sydney

Mr . Apoorv Chaturvedi- Exec Member, Friends of International Students

Mr. Syed Nazmus Sakib- Exec Member, Friends of International Students

Mr. Vish Viswanathan, President - Federation of Australian Indian Associations

Dr. Yadu Singh - Representative - Hindi Samaj, Member- UIA GC, General Committee

Mr. Rahul Jethi - Exec Member, Friends of International Students

Dr J S Virk - Convener, Chairman, GOPIO Australia Business Council

M Ranjit Khera - Punjabi Heritage Association of Australia


For more information, please contact Ms. Lucky Singh, President of GOPIO Sydney at





British-based steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal topped the list of Britain's richest people once again as the wealthiest in the country saw their fortunes soar in the last year, the annual Sunday Times Rich List survey said.


The collective wealth of Britain's 1,000 most affluent people rose by 30 percent, boosted by the improved economic conditions over the last 12 months, the survey said. Last year, Britain's wealthiest people saw their fortunes hit by the economic downturn, losing a total of 155 billion pounds ($240 billion) with the overall number of billionaires falling to 43 from 75.


This year that number rose to 53, with the overall worth of those on the list seen at 333.5 billion pounds, a rise of more than 77 billion and the largest in the poll's 22-year history. Metals magnate Mittal, CEO of ArcelorMittal stayed at the top of the list with his personal fortune more than doubling to 22.45 billion from 10.8 billion. Russian Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea football club owner who has steel and other investment interests, remained second with a fortune of 7.4 billion pounds.


The richest British-born billionaire, the Duke of Westminster, remained third on the list, with his largely property-based portfolio up four percent to 6.75 billion pounds. Indian-born Anil Agarwal, chairman of mining group Vedanta Resources Plc was the highest climber on the list, moving to 10th from 60th with his fortune rising almost six-fold to 4.1 billion pounds. The annual list is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property and other items, such as, art, racehorses or significant shares in publicly quoted companies, but does not include bank accounts.




Anshu Jain, a senior executive of India-origin at Deutsche Bank AG, will takeover as the global banking head of the German banking major from July 1. Currently, Jain is the head of global markets at Deutsche Bank.


In a statement, Deutsche Bank said that Jain would be replacing Michael Cohrs, who is also the co-head of corporate and investment bank.

"Jain will be the sole head of the corporate and investment bank going forward," the statement said.

Deutsche Bank's CEO Josef Ackermann said that Jain is taking over a strong business division and exuded confidence that he would build on this success.




Kartar Singh Lalvani, founder of pharmaceutical major Vitabiotics in Britain, has been awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in her Birthday Honours The list was announced recently.


Dr. Lalvani, whose family fled to Mumbai from Karachi during the Partition, has been chosen for the honor for his services to the pharmaceutical industry and charity in London.He recently established Indali Lounge, recognized as the 'healthiest curry house in world.' UK's Channel4 listed Indali Lounge as No.1 among the top 10 healthy restaurants.


Besides Lalvani, 18 other Non-resident Indians figure in the List - 10 OBEs, eight Members of the British Empire (MBEs) and one Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO).


Anil Kumar Bhanot has been honored for services to the Hindu Community and to Inter-Faith Relations, while Janti Champaneri figures in the list for services to the local government in Birmingham, and Kailash Chand Malhotra for services to healthcare in Cheshire.

World Sikh University vice-chancellor Sukhbir Singh Kapoor has been honored for services to community relations in Harrow.

Deepak Lakwani, the India director at London stockbroker Astaire and Partners, is also among the awardees.

Launde Primary School Headteacher Inderjit Kaur Sandhu has been honored for services to education in Leicestershire.

Reading-based Prem Dutt Sharma is included in the list for services to community relations, while Baljit Ubhey has been honored for services to the Crown Prosecution Service.


Daljit Singh Ahluwalia has been awarded the OBE for voluntary service to community and inter-faith relations in Derbyshire, and Prakash Daswani, founder and CEO of Cultural Co-operation, for services to the arts. Preihdath Joyram, who is involved with the Cruse Bereavement charity organization that offers free, confidential help to the bereaved in Lancashire, also figures in the list.


Also honored in the list is Veena Kumari Mohindra, Executive Officer of Jobcentre Plus in Eastleigh, Hampshire. Also hnored are Mukesh Patel, administrative officer, Revenue and Customs in Leicestershire, and Balvinder Singh Sokhi, for services to the community in Nottingham.


The list, drawn up independently of government, was seen in draft form by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and cleared by successor David Cameron before being approved by the Queen.




Indian American professor Dr Jay Narayan has won the 2011 Acta Materialia Gold Medal and Prize, an international award given to one person annually for exceptional research contributions and leadership in materials science worldwide.


Dr. Narayan, the John CC Fan family distinguished chair professor of materials science and engineering, North Carolina State University, won the award for critical discoveries about the ways that minute variations in the atomic structure of materials affect their electrical and optical properties.His breakthroughs matter in areas like high-density computer memory and high-efficiency lighting,


An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 1969, he earned an MS and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Narayan has more than 500 journal papers and 11,000 citations, 35 patents and at least a dozen major awards and honors to his credit.


An international conference on advances in nanostructured materials and applications will be designated as a symposium honoring him, in October in Columbus, Ohio. The medal will be presented at the ASM awards ceremony at the event. The Materials Research Society will hold an invited symposium in his honor in San Francisco in April 2011.


Another of his innovations involves using pulsed laser beams to guide the arrangements of the layers of atoms in a material. An industry partner is using the technique to build a new generation of light-emitting diodes, for use in flashlights, traffic signals, and brake lights. Eventually, 'the method could mean computer storage chips that require only a few hundred atoms for each bit of information, allowing the storage of about 250 million pages of data on a chip measuring less than a half-inch on each side.'


Narayan was recognized for his fundamental contributions in defects, diffusion, ion implantation and laser-solid interactions, which have led to major materials breakthroughs. They include the formation of p-n junctions and solar cells by laser-beam processing; defect-free annealing of semiconductors; and a laser method for forming supersaturated semiconductor alloys, and hydrogen-free diamond and diamond-like films. His laser annealing research transitioned to pulsed laser deposition which led to new materials.


Narayan worked as a research metallurgist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, before joining Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1972 as a member of its research staff. He rose to senior scientist and group leader of thin films and electron microscopy programs, before joining North Carolina State University in 1983 as senior professor and director of the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina. He was appointed distinguished university professor in 1991, and endowed Fan family distinguished chair professor in 2001.


He has developed seven graduate courses over his 27 years of tenure at NC State, two of which he teaches online for students at NC State as well as those in the industry.




Guyana-born Mohamad Rashied, President of the Caribbean Islamic Cultural Society (CICS), a non-profit voluntary network of Muslims of Caribbean background in the United Kingdom, has been honoured in the Queen's New Year's Honor Roll. Mr. Rashied has been awarded an MBE (Member of Order of the British Empire) for his sterling contribution through the charitable work he has done in fostering good community relations in the UK.


Mr. Rashied, who is the son of the late Mohamad and Zabeeda Haniff of Pouderoyen, West Demerara in Guyana, said that his "early experiences in Guyana have helped to nurture and shape his focus and life commitment". His maternal grandfather Mohamed Kazim, an indentured labourer from India, and the founder and Imam of the Versailles (Guyana) Mosque was a great inspiration to him. Rashied said his grandfather "demonstrated this by showing how helping and caring for the less fortunate could make a great difference to their lives". Rashied has a B.Sc. in Sociology from the University of Guyana and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Lancaster in the UK.


Rashied also has the distinction of leading the Muslims from the Caribbean, in the celebration of the festival of Eid-Ul-Fitr in the House of Commons. He has proven to be a good ambassador in the promotion of harmonious race and interfaith relations within the community in London, and has organised a number of events to foster good relations, including a very successful interfaith event which included representatives from the Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim communities.
In 2007, Rashied organised a splendid event to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of East Indians in the Caribbean which attracted a wide representation of the UK community.


In congratulating Mr. Rashied on his award, Dr. Clem Seecharan, Professor of Caribbean History and Head of Caribbean Studies, London Metropolitan University said, "I believe that in these difficult times Mr Rashied's leadership is making an important contribution in fostering a culture of tolerance, reason and reasonableness between the diverse ethnic and religious groups in London.




Indo-Guyanese born Ashook K. Ramsaran, a long time resident of New York, was the recipient of DC37 Asian Heritage Committee award at a gala ceremony held in New York on Friday, May 14, 2010 at the DC37 Headquarters in New York City. Currently serving as Executive Vice President of GOPIO International, Mr. Ramsaran was singled out for his outstanding services to the community and his numerous high profile accomplishments as a person of Indian origin in New York.


Ramsaran was one of 5 persons of Asian/Indian origins who were recognized for their respective contributions in service "to the Asian American community" as inscribed on the plaques of recognition. The others were: Fatima Shama (Commissioner, NYC Immigrant Affairs); Rana F. Chowdhury (Secretary, Bangladesh Society); P. T. Thomas (Rockland County CSEA); Suchot Paleewong (Thai Community Leader & Entrepreneur). The awards were presented by Maf Misbah Uddin, Chairman, DC37 Asian Heritage Committee and by Lillian Roberts, Executive Director, DC37 Asian Heritage Committee. The mission of DC 37 Asian Heritage Committee states that "In recognition of the importance of Asian Pacific Americans within the work force and within the labor movement, the DC 37 Asian Heritage Committee works to unite union members, and to bring to their attention the needs and concerns of Asian Pacific American Workers".


The event was well attended with representation among major civic and political groups. Indo-Trinidadian born community advocate and DC37 Asian Heritage Committee Co-Chair, Ms Bhagwatie Dwarika, was one of the event's primary coordinators. Ms Dwarika remarked that she is "very pleased with the many community activities that DC37 Asian Heritage Committee is holding and promoting".


Asian Heritage Award to GOPIO Exec. VP Ashook Ramsaran

 Photo (Left to right): Maf Misbah Uddin (Chairman, DC37 Asian Heritage Committee), Ashook Ramsaran (GOPIO International), Lillian Roberts (Executive Director, DC37 Asian Heritage Committee)

The awards ceremony was held in conjunction with the Asia Heritage Month Art Exhibition inaugurated by United States Congressman Joseph Crowley and attended by New York City Comptroller John Liu. Congressman Crowley said his grandfather was an immigrant from Ireland and observed that "this is truly a land of immigrants who make a real difference". Other representation included: NYC Councilman Robert Jackson; representatives of the consulates of Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand. NYC Council Member Margaret Chin gave the keynote address, praising the efforts of DC37 Asian Heritage and "looking forward to more political representation in New York by persons of Asian origin". Cultural performances at the event included: Dance South Asia, Dance Mongolia, Dance India, Taiwan Cultural Dance, Traditional Costume Presentation, Children's Folk Dance, Taiwan Music Ensemble, Philippines Song, River Dance, Dance Thailand, Bhangra Dance and Dance Tibet.


In accepting the award, Ramsaran remarked that "it is indeed a privilege to be given such opportunity that New York provided to me and to all of us, and quite an honor to be recognized for community service that I consider very rewarding. It is a shared recognition among all of us who contribute time and effort towards making New York our home and a better place for all".




Distinguished Indian physicist and environmentalist Dr. Vandana Shiva has been awarded the prestigious Sydney Peace Prize 2010 in recognition of her works in the field of social justice. 57-year-old Vandana is a philosopher, environmentalist, women's activist and author and has won the award for her work on the empowerment of women in developing countries, her advocacy of the human rights of small farming communities, and her scientific analysis of environmental sustainability. Shiva will give the City of Sydney Peace Prize lecture at Sydney Opera House on 3rd November 2010 and will be presented with the prize the next evening. Shiva will also be the guest of 1,500 high school students in a traditional peace festival welcome in Melbourne. Uttarakhand-born Vandana is one of the leaders at the International Forum on Globalization and the Third World Network.


Rohitas Batta of GOPIO Sydney conveyed congratulations and plan on the local Indian community to be there at the time of award presentation. GOPIO India's South Delhi chapter has decided to felicitate Dr Vandna Shiva on getting her this award, and also for her contributions  in different sectors of-social economic and especially environment, said Mr K. N. Gupta, the president of GOPIO India, who congratulated Dr Shiva on her achievements.




The "Top 25 Indian Luminaries in the World - Vol. III" by Dr Anand Giri has been released on June 01, 2010 in Dehradun, India. The publication lists prominent Indians in the Diaspora who have made outstanding achievements and includes 4 GOPIO Life Members:


7         Ashook Ramsaran (Guyana-USA), Executive Vice President of GOPIO International

7         Dr Chan Misier (Suriname-Netherlands), President of SuriChange Bank Ltd.

7         Dr Yesu Persaud (Guyana), Chairman of GOPIO Guyana and Pravasi Samman recipient

7         Dr Sudhir Parikh (India-USA), Chairman of Parikh Worldwide Mediaand Pravasi Samman recipient


Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi wrote the foreword to the "Top 25 Indian Luminaries in the World - Vol. III", stating that efforts to produce this volume "are commendable for the style of presentation of the biographies of the overseas Indians".


"Top 25 Indian Luminaries in the World - Vol. III" are available from PIO Magazine at




Radhika Plakkot, a biology teacher from Huntington High School in Maryland, was named by President Barack Obama as one the country's best mathematics and science teachers for 2010. Plakkot will receive the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in Washington, DC this year. Of the 103 honorees, Plakkot, who was born in Kerala, is the only Indian American.  Plakkot has a Master's in Science from India and had taught in India for a year before migrating to the US, which was a childhood dream of hers.


A recipient of many other honors in the past, she was quoted as saying about the Presidential Award, "Definitely this is the highest honor a science teacher can get. So, it is very special. Also, this is done by the National Science Foundation, which is a very prestigious organization." The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to the best pre-college-level science and mathematics teachers. Each year the award alternates between mathematics and science teachers teaching Kindergarten through 6th grade, and those teaching 7th through 12th grades, noted the India Abroad newspaper.




Dr. B.P. Agrawal, a visionary social entrepreneur, has won the 2010 $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability for combining his business insight with pioneering technologies to uncover innovative approaches to solve problems for the world's vulnerable populations and for their potential to improve the global public health system. Raised in a small farming village in Rajasthan, India, Agrawal's parents encouraged him to study science and technology from an early age. He went on to receive a degree in Control Systems at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India and later earned his Ph.D. in Engineering Science from the University of South Florida. Agrawal also completed a Management Executive Education Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management.


For 20 years, Agrawal led research and development at Fortune 100 companies including General Dynamics, ITT, GTE, and Hughes helping take new technologies successfully from lab to marketplace. He also acted as Managing Director for Vecna Technologies. During his time in the private sector, he received invention patents for single-bit voice processing that ushered the digital revolution, an echo canceller that enabled voice traffic over satellite, and self-healing modems. He founded Information Gateways, a voice processing company, precursor of the voicemail and call center boom, and IU Bit, a health informatics venture.


Agrawal transitioned from the corporate world to the non-profit world in 2003; in 2006, his rainwater harvesting system, Aakash Ganga, or River from Sky, won a World Bank Development Marketplace Award for an innovative approach to development challenges surrounding clean water in India. Aakash Ganga collects water from rooftops which is channeled through pipes and stored in a network of underground reservoirs, providing enough water for an entire village for a year. To date, it has helped 10,000 villagers in drought-prone regions gain access to clean water. Aakash Ganga is now being considered for large-scale implementation by the government of India. These accomplishments led Agrawal to found Sustainable Innovations (SI) in 2007. SI is a non-profit dedicated to building self-sustainable enterprises, with a focus on engaging young entrepreneurs in culturally and economically viable ventures.  




Two PIOs figured among Forbes list of Malaysia's 40 richest as the rebounding Malaysian economy expanded 10 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, its highest growth rate in a decade. Malaysia's 40 wealthiest are worth a total of $51 billion, up from $36 billion a year ago and even higher than the $46 billion they were collectively worth in 2008, the US business magazine noted.


Indian origin Ananda Krishnan with a net worth of $8.1 billion retained his second place after Malaysian Chinese Robert Kuok. The 72-year-old former oil trader Krishnan's most valuable asset is Maxis Communications, Malaysia's largest cell phone service provider, which went public in November, raising $3.4 billion in Malaysia's largest-ever IPO. Krishnan's telecom interests in Indonesia and India are still privately held and he plans to take his satellite TV broadcaster, Astro All Asia Networks, private.


Newcomers include another person of Indian origin self-made building contractor A K Nathan, 54, placed 24th with a net worth of $250 million.


He owns and runs Eversendai, a Kuala Lumpur contractor that fabricates, designs and erects the steel frames for buildings. Nathan grew up in Malaysia, aside from some years of schooling in India.  





Giving an international face to Indian education, the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) on Tuesday launched an upgraded international syllabus for its schools abroad.


The new curriculum, which focuses on the education needs of Indian diaspora as well as local communities, was launched by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal at Indian High School in Dubai, according to an official press release here.


The curriculum which will be launched in 30 schools in nine countries aims at carrying forward the basic strength of the Indian system of education and promoting critical and creative skills of the students.

Speaking at the function, Sibal emphasized the need for quality education for all children, with learning being a continuous and comprehensive process.


'We need a globalised community of children. I hope that it would grow and provide an alternative international curriculum to the students, both of the Indian diaspora and to local citizens in the countries,' he said. The board aims to expand the curriculum to its other schools aboard as well in a phased manner. The syllabus has been designed keeping in view the foundations of the National Curricular Framework (NCF 2005) and the experience gathered by the board over the last seven decades in imparting effective learning to millions of learners, many of whom are now global citizens.
The earlier curriculum focused largely on issues related to Indian interest which were proving a hurdle in expanding the coverage to international students.

The CBSE at present has 74 schools abroad, 63 of them in Gulf countries alone.




The New York State Assembly proclaimed a Gujarat Day and praised the achievements of the Indian state and it's Diaspora, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of Gujarat. The western Indian state was formed on May 1st 1960. Today, more than 250,000 Gujaratis live in New York State and Gujaratis comprise more than 40 percent of the Indian American population. New York assembly members Rory Lancman, Grace Meng and David Weprin initiated the celebration and presented the proclamation to Dilip Chauhan and other Gujarati community leaders in the presence of more than 100 assembly members in Albany, in recognition of the Gujaratis' contribution in various fields.


The proclamation noted: "As duly elected members of the State Assembly of New York, we recognize that Gujarat is an exceptional state worthy of the esteem of both the community and the great State of New York. In celebration of Gujarat Day we recognize and honor the accomplishments of the Gujarat State in India and the contributions of Gujarati Americans have made to the State of New York."




Montreal-based Mahatma Gandhi International Foundation has announced an Art Contest and Exhibition 2010 for children and youth in the age group 13-20 years old. It will be exhibited at the Gallery of Contemporary Art by the Foundation. The theme is Non-Violence (Peace, Friendship, Love for Nature, Love for Animals, Care for Elderly, etc.). The drawing or painting should be submitted by July 10th, 2010. Selected works will be framed by the organizers to for exhibition at the Art Gallery. There are three prizes of $100 each and three second prizes of $50 each.


Send art work to Suraj Sadan, 10463 Rue Saint - Hubert, Montreal H2C 2H8, Canada. For more information, contact: E-mail:




A few years ago, then GOPIO President Inder Singh and GOPIO Academic Council Chair Dr. Jagat Motwani went to meet with Gujarat University Vice Chancellor. Two years later, in 2008, the university started M.Phil. Program in Diaspora Studies. The one year program grounds students in relevant theoretical and practical understandings of issues in migration and Diaspora.


From this year, the university is offering Integrated Ph. D. (Ten Semesters)/MA (Four Semesters) program. Neerja Arun, Coordinator of the program acknowledged GOPIO support in giving details of the new degree programs.


The MA leading to PhD in Migration and Diaspora Studies is a broad based degree for students who want to receive specialized research training in issues of migration and Diaspora, including a relevant language, which will prepare them to proceed to advanced postgraduate research in Migration and Diaspora Studies. The combined Indian Diaspora Studies MA/PhD program allows qualified graduate students to pursue both degrees at the same time. For more details, contact: 




The US State Department has announced increase in the fee for issuing non-immigrant visas in all categories with effect from June 4 so as to meet its increasing processing cost.


The amount of new fee is US $140 for applicants for all visas that are not petition-based, including B1/B2 tourist and business visitor visas and all student and exchange visitor (F, M and J) visas. The fee for petition-based visas is $150 and includes applicants for H visa for temporary workers and trainees; L visa for intra-company transferees; O visa for aliens with extraordinary ability; P visa for athletes, artists and entertainers; Q visa for international cultural exchange visitors and R visa for religious occupations. The fee for K visas for fianci(e)s of US citizens will be USD 350 while the fee for E visas for treaty-traders and treaty- investors will be $390.


For more details, visit:




At the second Pravasi Bharatiya Divas,  the then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee announced the setting up of the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra (PBK) in New Delhi as a centre to deal with multifarious needs of the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and People of Indian Origins (PIOs) around the world. Vajpayee had also stated that the government would provide a plot of land and a seed grant of Rs 25 crore for the centre and would be run by an autonomous body.


During the last six years, since the initial announcement in January 2004, the progress on this project has been very slow. The PBK was supposed to be ready before the Commonwealth Games, scheduled from October 3 to 14 this year in New Delhi. Later on, the date for completion was revised to be the end of 2011. However, budgetary constraints and procedural delays have again pushed the completion date to July 31, 2012.




Asian families living in Auckland have been warned to take down national flags from outside their homes, keep religious festivals low-key and avoid personalised number plates to keep burglars away. Auckland Police's South East Asian liaison officer Constable Gupreet Arora has acted after several audacious burglaries - one from a master bedroom as the family watched an "All Blacks" test, another while a family was at their father's funeral.


Police are now issuing strong warnings to Auckland's Asian community. "A number of burglaries are committed at homes where there are obvious signs that the occupants are South Asians," says Mr Arora. He suggests Asian families consider removing items identifying their ethnicity from outside their homes, such as their homeland flag. "Burglars are very well aware of the fact that South Asian communities tend to keep considerable amounts of cash and jewellery at home," he says. "Religious signs, personalised plates on vehicles, putting lights on the outside of the house at night on occasions like Diwali, are some of the signs to burglars." Mr  Arora says the criminal fraternity is well aware jewellery is kept by many Indian families in the master bedroom.


When to be alarmed

  • Keep jewellery in a bank, safe or in another room in the house, in a well-concealed position, preferably covered by an alarm.
  • Record the serial numbers of expensive items and keep photographs of them.
  • Install an alarm system and external sensor lights.
  • Trim plants and shrubs to remove opportunities for burglars to hide in.
  • External doors and windows should have deadbolt locks and patio bolts fitted to French doors and ranchsliders.
  • Keep a radio and lights on a timer switch when away. Do not say on your answering machine that you will be away from home.
  • Get a neighbor or friend to check the property regularly. Ensure mail and newspapers are stopped or collected.
  • Don't leave empty boxes outside your home which show new and valuable equipment has been purchased.
  • Have a household contents insurance policy.

Public perceptions of discrimination against Asians and international students have risen in the past year, says the Human Rights Commission. The commission released results of a UMR Research survey last month, before the annual Race Relations Report to be released on Thursday. Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres says some of the harassment cases heard by the commission include verbal abuse, usually from people in cars, having water bombs and eggs thrown and bullying in schools. "This type of behavior is not carried out by the majority of New Zealanders, but it is common and everyone needs to help put a stop to it," said Mr de Bres. Despite the findings, police say levels of crime committed against and by international students have taken a sharp dive in recent years.


Join your local neighborhood support group. For more crime prevention advice, see




While inaugurating the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in January 2010, Prime Minister Hon Dr Manmohan Singh, said he recognized the desire of NRIs to exercise their franchise in India and hoped they would be able to vote by the next general elections in 2014. A Group of Ministers of the Government of India June 10, 2010 finalized a bill to provide voting rights to non-resident Indians (NRIs). The re-drafted bill would be tabled during the monsoon session of parliament beginning mid-July 2010. The bill is seeking to amend section 20 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2006 and was referred to the parliamentary standing committee on personnel and public grievances.


The Government of India has accepted the committee's recommendation that the names of NRIs should not be deleted from the voters' list even after their six months of absence from their place of residence in India owing to their employment, education or otherwise outside the country, as is the law presently..




Digvijay Singh, former Government of India Union minister and a sitting Lok Sabha MP, from Banka in Bihar, died on June 24, 2010 following a brain hemorrhage. He was 55. Singh, who was Minister of State for External Affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, had come to London along with the Commonwealth shooting team recently, when he suffered a heart attack. He was admitted to St Thomas hospital in London where he suffered a brain hemorrhage. Singh is survived by his wife and two daughters. His elder daughter and wife were in London as he was under treatment.


A five-time Member of Parliament, Singh was at present representing Banka constituency in the Lok Sabha as an independent. He was earlier elected to the Lok Sabha in 1998 and 1999. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1990 and 2004. During his stint as Minister of State in External Affairs, Digvijay Singh took keen interest in the cause of PIOs/ NRIs. In spite of great pressure of work, he always found time to meet and grace the GOPIO'S annual conventions held in New Delhi. Mr K. N. Gupta, president of GOPIO India  expressed his "shock and sorrow on the sad and untimely demise of Mr Singh. Singh's loss is a national loss as he was one of the few political leaders on the horizon of India who the country looked with pride and high expectations", Mr Gupta added.


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 half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.


GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website (

and get details of chapter initiation (visit Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more.  For more information, contact:


GOPIO Chairman - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: 818-708-3885, E-mail:

GOPIO President - Lord Daljit Rana, UK, Tel:  +44 28-9807-8787, Email:

GOPIO Executive Vice President - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York City, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail:


To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at or fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO International, PO Box 560117, New York NY 11356, USA.



Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO Executive Vice President (New York, USA)

Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (GOPIO Intl., USA), Ravi Dhingra (GOPIOI-CT, USA), Harmohan (Harry) Walia (GOPIO-Sydney North West, Australia); K.N. Gupta (GOPIO-India), Dr. Rajindre Tewarie (GOPIO of Netherlands), Harish Baja (GOPIO Intl. Oceanic Region, New Zealand), Jay Bhandari (GOPIO-Virginia, USA), Bina Mahabir (Guyana-USA), Lucky Singh, (GOPIO-Sydney, Australia)


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