GOPIO Logo Revised


July 20, 2016

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

Issue: XIV-5July 20, 2016
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With the theme "Strengthening Connections between India and Indian Diaspora through Business," GOPIO International, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (, held its 27th Anniversary Celebrations and GOPIO Biennial Convention 2016 in New York, USA at the Marriott LaGuardia Hotel with evening banquets held at World's Fair Marina on June 24th and 25th, 2016. Over 200 delegates from 20 countries participated. GOPIO's New York Area Coordinator Lal Motwani served as the Convener along with Dr. Asha Samant, Kenny Desai, Shelly Nichani, Nohar Singh and Jayant Baxi as Co-Conveners.

The convention started with a moment of silence for the victims of terror around the world. It was followed by rendering of the national anthems of the USA, India and Guyana.

Moment of Silence in Memory of Terror Victims
Photo above: Moment of silence in memory of recent terror victims, GOPIO officials and dignitaries at the head table: From l. to r.: GOPIO VP Ram Gadhavi, Convention Convener Lal Motwani, Guyana Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Indian's Consul General in New York Riva Ganguly Das, GOPIO President Niraj Baxi, GOPIO Exec. VP Noel Lal and GOPIO International Coordinator for North America Rajeev Mehta 

The convention was inaugurated at the World's Fair Marina on June 24th evening by welcome remarks by Convention Convener Lal Motwani and by GOPIO President Niraj Baxi and at a welcome dinner. GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham conducted the evening program and served as the MC.

Convention Inauguration by Lighting of the Lamp by Guyana OM Mosses Nagamootoo and Ambassador Rvi Ganguly Das
Photo above - Convention Inauguration by Lighting of the Lamp. From l. to r. : Dr. Asha Samant, Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Lord Diljit Rana, Lal Motwani, Amb. Riva Ganguly Das, Ram Gadhavi, Guyana Prime Minister Riva Ganguly Das, Noel Lal, Niraj Baxi and Sunny Kulathakal

The chief Guest was Guyana Prime Minister and First Vice President Moses Verasammy Nagamootoo, a freedom fighter for Guyana. PM Nagamootto invited the Indian Diaspora community to consider Guyana as a destination for investment and business and spoke on many incentives Guyana could offer.

"So, we fully understand and identify with GOPIO's theme and your mission to mobilize the resources of Indians everywhere to promote trade with and strengthen the economy of India. We too would like to tap into the resources of the estimated four million Indian American community, which is distinguished for their business acumen, and technological capabilities," Said PM Nagamootoo.

Full text of PM Nagamootoo's speech is available at at this link,Inaugural Address by Guyana Prime Minister and First Vice President Moses Verasammy Nagamootoo.

India's Consul General in New York Ambassador Riva Das Ganguly Das representing Govt. of India, delivered the inaugural address in which she noted the role played by GOPIO in launching and building a worldwide movement as a united force for the Indian Diaspora. The evening program ended with classical and semi-classical dances performed by students of Pandit Satya Narayana Charka.

Earlier on the day, a strategy planning workshop was held for GOPIO Executive Council Members and GOPIO Council Chairs. The Facilitator was Mr. Tarun Kapoor, Kapoor and Kapoor Hospitality Consultants, Inc., San Marino, CA. The 4-hour long workshop discussed the strategy for GOPIO to move forward in the next level of activities including the proposed GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce. This was followed Country and Regional reports.

GOPIO Officers with Strategy Planning Workshop Leader Tarun Kapoor
Photo above: GOPIO Officers with Strategy Planning Workshop Leader Tarun Kapoor

The evening program ended with entertainment of Kathak dances by students of Pandit Satya Narayan Charka and a DJ with GOPIO delegates dancing to the Bollywood tune.

Pandit Satya Narayan Charka and his students at the GOPIO Convention inaugural dinner
Photo above: Pandit Satya Narayan Charka and his students at the GOPIO 2016 inaugural dinner

On Saturday June 25, a full day GOPIO conference was held at the New York LaGuardia Marriott Hotelfrom 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There were 9 sessions to deliberate on the Global Indian Diaspora; evaluate GOPIO's progress in 27 years; network, exchange ideas, and connect with PIO/NRI delegates from around the world. The conference, organized by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, Conference Committee and Founder President, GOPIO International, consisted of an inaugural plenary session with keynote speaker Raj Jaswa, former President of TiE Silicon Valley and director and trustee of TiE International, Serial technology entrepreneur, and an Adjunct Professor at several Universities in India. This was followed by two track conference sessions, (1) Business and Technology ventures and opportunities and (2) Social, Political, Gender and Health challenges.
  • Make in India - Diaspora role
  • Major Issues of Indian Diaspora
  • Indian Diaspora Promoting Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries
  • Diaspora Indian Women Forum - Empowering Diaspora Indian Women
  • Diaspora in Hospitality and Convenience Foods
  • Diaspora Writers Forum
  • Promoting Diaspora Entrepreneurship, Technology and Business
  • Health and Wellness of the Indian Diaspora
The conference ended with concluding presentations from each session from the Session Chairs, namely, Prakash Shah, Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Nitin Shah, Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, Viresh Sharma, Sudha Parekh, Dr. Asha Samant, Jagdish Lodhia and Ram Gadhavi. Several resolutions were presented by a committee headed by Dr. Rajeev Mehta. Resolutions for the conference session were added to these, and will be sent to Govt. of Indian and other government agencies.

GOPIO conference concluding session with cession chairs and GOPIO officers
Photo above: GOPIO conference concluding session with cession chairs and GOPIO officers; Front row from l. to r. Nitin Shah, Prakash Shah, Dr. Thomas Abrfaham, Niraj Baxi, Sudha Parekh, Dr. Asha Samant, Jagdish Lodhia, Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Ram Gadhavi and Kewal Kanda. Bank Row: Ishawar Ramlutchman, Noel Lal and Dr. Pradip Sewoke

The 27th Anniversary celebrations concluded with a Grand Finale Banquet and Recognition of Businesses and Entrepreneurs with Social Responsibility at the World's Fair Marina. The honorees were Lord Diljit Rana of Belfast (Northern Ireland, UK), Raj Jaswa of Silicon Valley and TV Asia Chairman H.R. Shah. 

GOPIO International Awardees - Entrepreneurs and Businessmen with Social Responsibility
Photo above: GOPIO International Awardees - Entrepreneurs and businessmen with social responsibility are being recognized by GOPIO officials, person in the middle in each photo are the awardees in the tree photos, from l. to r.: Lord Diljit Rana, Raj Jaswa and H.R. Shah

Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and Prof. Indrajit Singh Saluja were honored with Media Awards for their contribution and support of the community.

The Chief Guest was Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, KNH, OBE, known as Viv Richards, a former West Indian cricketer, regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He was joined in the evening by Antigua & Barmuda Minister Trade, Industry, Commerce, Sports and National Festivals Mr. E.P. Chet Greene. 

Cricketer Vivian Richards at the Finale GOPIO Banquet
Photo above: Cricketer Vivian Richards at the Finale GOPIO Banquet, from l. to r..: GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Bharat Goradia, TV Asia Chairman and GOPIO Advisor H.R. Shah, Convention Convener Lal Motwani, Cricketer Sir Vivian Alexander Richards, Antigua & Barmuda Minister E.P. Chet Greene, GOPIO President Niraj Baxi and GOPIO Exec. VP Noel Lal

The banquet ended with a Bollywood performances put together by Dharmatma Saran of India Festival Committee and Anita Bhat of Miss India-CT.

Artists with organizers at the Finale Banquet
Photo above: Artists with organizers at the Finale Banquet; at the extreme left is Dr. Thomas Abraham, in the middle is H.R.Shah, and to is left is Dharmatma Saran, Lal Motwani and Anita Bhat
GOPIO held its Biennial General Body which elected Dr. Thomas Abraham as Chairman, Lord Diljit Rana as Chief of Board of Advisors and Mr. Inder Singh as Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation. In the constitutional amendments, the General Body also made a resolution to change GOPIO Business Council as GOPIO Internal Chamber of Commerce and created a new position GOPIO's Global Ambassador. The General Body selected and endorsed former GOPIO Exec. Vice President Sunny Kulathakal from Bahrain to that position. More details will be presented in the next issue of GOPIO News.
With gratitude, GOPIO acknowledged support of Platinum sponsors Embassy National Bank, State Bank of India, Labidco Port Services Ltd; Gold sponsors Dr. Asha Samant and Kenny Desai; and Silver sponsors Bank of Baroda, Adani North America, S.S. White Technologies Inc. and Dr. Praveen Chopra.
A souvenir program booklet of the convention is available by sending a check $10 to GOPIO, Inc., Attn. Mr. Lal Motwani, 237-50 Fairbury Avenue, Bellerose, NY 11426, Tel: 516-581-3332, E-mail: 
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Resolutions passed at the GOPIO Convention in New York (USA) on June 25, 2016
1. Voting rights for Indian citizens living outside India
The 9 million strong Non Resident Indians (NRIs) i.e. Indian citizens living outside India, have been building India's image and enthusiastically contributing to the economic development, should be allowed to exercise their right of franchise as enshrined in the Constitution of India. 
The Election Commission of India should finalize the procedure for electronic voting before the next general election in India takes place.
2. Rajya Sabha seats for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs)
NRIs are an important factor in promoting India's interest, in shaping relations between the "home" and the "host" countries and in helping steer a dynamic shift in India's economic and political advantage in world affairs. However, 10 million NRIs who are citizens of India, have no representation in the decision making process of the country of their citizenship.
We urge the Government of India to nominate a few prominent NRIs as members of the Rajya Sabha (the Upper House of Parliament) so as to reinforce and further integrate the bonds between India and the overseas Indian community. 
3. Pro-active Role for Indian Missions to Reach Out and Help Indian Citizens Needing Emergency Assistance
Indian Missions abroad must actively help Indians who need consular services in emergency situations.
4. Engaging NRIs/PIOs for Educational, Health and Social Causes
Many NRIs want to support their alma maters; set up schools and colleges in their villages and towns, and support social and environmental causes. However, they face major hurdles.
The clearance process through the Home Ministry is very time consuming and needs to be streamlined and made more efficient.
5. Protection of Real Estate and Business Investments as well as Inherited assets
PIOs & NRIs have substantial investments in the residential and commercial real estate in India and the investment is rapidly on the increase. However, the practices and the laws in India do not provide enough relief to the investors when the tenants and businesses refuse to honor their agreements to pay the rents or vacate the premises, honor contracts, etc. The PIO/NRIs find themselves helpless in protecting their investments and inheritance. Moreover, when the NRIs/PIOs make a trip to India to attend hearings, most of the times they find that hearings are postponed by either the court or the litigant based in India.
We want the Govt. to enact legislation to designate Fast Track Courts for NRIs/PIOs for the speedy settlement of their property, business, inheritance and other legal issues in India.
We also call upon the Government of India to enact another legislation to provide Title Insurance to ensure that their ownership in real estate is protected against forged signatures on the deed and for any such fraudulent transfer of their properties.
6. Discriminative Admission Fee Rates for PIOs and OCI Card Holders
The discriminatory higher fee for foreigners at monuments, hotels & all such places includes Indians who are now citizens of other countries. These are the same people who have been sending over 70 Billion dollars to India, act as the soft power for India abroad and also serve as a huge economic strength. About five years ago, the Prime Minister of India, through a press release, made entrance fee to monuments  and the archeological sites such as Taj Mahal, uniform for all - citizens of India,  NRIs/PIOs and the foreign visitors. However, it is yet to be implemented.
GOPIO urges the government to implement uniform entrance fee throughout India including monuments under the jurisdiction of the states.
7. Taxing of NRIs/PIOs Social Security Benefits in India
Many NRIs/PIOs are moving back to India to be closer to their families. Once they settle back in India, their social security benefits (which are generally tax free in the developed countries (income comes below the tax bracket) are taxed according to the Indian tax rules.
We strongly feel that those who are getting their social security benefits from outside India should receive tax parity similar to Indian retirees and request the Finance Ministry to change the rules. Of course, such person's Indian income must be taxed as per the rules.
8. Expand Know India Program
The Know India program has been very successful but is limited to only about 100 students.
It must be expanded to bring a couple of thousands of young people every year. If the need arises, community groups in developed countries be asked to sponsor youngsters for this program so that govt. alone does not spend on its expenses.
9. Set Up for Involvement with Ministries of Commerce, Science and Technology, Power, Rural Development, Tourism
These ministries should have separate NRI/PIO Advisory Committee which should meet on a regular basis to seek ways to involve NRIs/PIOs in developmental activities related to the individual ministries.
NB. Such advisory committee existed informally in a couple of ministries before.
10. Set up NRI Ministry or NRI Coordination Office with All State Governments
Some states take advantage of the home-coming of the Pravasis and organize their own PBD like programs to attract them to their states (since the Pravasis can easily relate to people and places in their home states). States such as Kerala, Gujarat, and UP have already set up direct communication channels with NRIs from their states. 
Other states are requested to establish direct contacts with NRIs from their respective States. 
The Resolution committee was headed by Dr. Rajeev Mehta, International Coordinator for North America. Any future resolutions to be considered by GOPIO may be sent to Dr. Rajeev Mehta, e-mail:

Theme: "Strengthening Connections between India and Indian Diaspora Through Business"
GOPIO Conference Reports
Summary of Conference Sessions held on Saturday, June 25, 2016
Conference Inaugural Session - 9 a.m.
Participants: Dr. Thomas Abraham (Moderator), Lal Motwani, Niraj Baxi, Dr. J. Alexander (Speaker), Raj Jaswa (Keynote Speaker), Anita Bhat (Resource Person)

GOPIO Conference Inaugural Session.Raj Jaswa Speaking
Photo above: Conference Inaugural Session, Keynote speaker Raj Jaswa Speaking. From l. to r. Raj Jaswa, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Niraj Baxi, Dr. J. Alexander, Kak Motwani and Anita Bhat

Dr. Thomas AbrahamChairman, Conference Committee; Founder President, GOPIO Intl., Stamford, CT, USA gave a brief welcome and introduced convention convener Lal Motwani and speakers, Dr. J. Alexander and Raj Jaswa.  He spoke of a change in GOPIO objectives after human rights violation in Fiji in 1989.  He shared the new initiatives designed to facilitate investments and shared the exciting news of starting a GOPIO Chamber of Commerce.
Lal Motwani, GOPIO's New York Area Coordinator and Convention Convener, Bellerose, NY, USA gave a few brief welcoming remarks and thanked all the supporters.
Niraj Baxi, President of GOPIO Intl., San Jose, CA, USA, greeted members and attendees as well as his team, and promised to take GOPIO to greater heights with new initiatives.
Dr. J. Alexander, IAS, Former Chief Secretary and former Minister Karnataka, GOPIO-Bangalore, India opened the floor by leading the members in an inspirational chanting of OM for peace. He remarked that GOPIO is straying from its main goal of bringing justice and peace. While GOPIO 's business initiatives are helpful he stressed that working towards peace needs to be the main focus. Dr. Abraham countered by saying that while GOPIO's main mission will never change, business initiatives are crucial to attracting the next generation. Without that next generation GOPIO will not be able to meet its goals.
Keynote Speaker: Raj Jaswa, former President of TiE Silicon Valley and director and trustee of TiE International, Serial technology entrepreneur, and currently an Adjunct Professor at several Universities, Co-Founder Selectica and Opti and former CEO and Chairman of Dyyno, Silicon Valley, CA, USA.
He said that like most immigrants, Indians leave home with very little money in their pockets,but arrive with an abundance of optimism, hope and a willingness to work hard and sacrifice for the next generation. And wherever Indians have migrated they have prospered. Roots were put down 200 years ago in distant British colonies, like Guyana, Fiji and Africa, and have flourished. In the last 50 years, waves of tech immigrants have streamed from India to the US, Europe and Australia. The success of this wave has been like a tsunami and has fundamentally changed the global economy. It has moved from an industrial economy to an information and knowledge economy. And Indian immigrants are thriving joining as team members and eventually become managers, leaders and teachers of this information and knowledge economy.
A call was made for action; to become mentors and teachers. GOPIO has the power to create tsunamis that will transform economies worldwide.
Reported by: Anita BhatChair, GOPIO Youth Council and Trustee Chair, GOPIO-CT
Session I - Make in India, 10 a.m.
Participants:  Prakash Shah (Moderator), Rahul Shukla (Lead Speaker), Vilay Wadhwa (Speaker), Ms. Mini Guleria (Speaker), Harbachan Singh (Resource Person)
Conference Session on Make in IndiaPhoto above: Lead speaker Rahul Shukla delivering his keynote address, from l. to.r. Rahul Shukla, Prakash Shah, Vilay Wadhwa, Mini Guleria and Harbachan singh
After a brief welcome and introduction by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Prakash Shah opened the session by emphasizing the timeliness and importance of the topic, Make in India. The Make in India program included new initiatives designed to facilitate investment, foster innovation, protect intellectual property, and build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure. He said that the Indian government has taken major steps to foster the implementation of this initiative immediately.
Rahul Shukla shared his experience at S.S. White Technologies Inc. NJ.  During his time there he turned around a failing company by instilling pride and inclusiveness in the employee force while also rewarding stellar performance. The ensuing confidence and trust of the employees catapulted the company to measurable success within a short period of time.  He viewed every obstacle as a challenge and is a firm believer in complying with all government regulations. 
Vilay Wadhwa's company, Adani North America, CT, deals with chemicals & aerospace.  He stressed that his company can offer assistance by providing subsidies, helping with approvals at state and national levels, providing skilled labor force, finding suitable site locations and local partners, especially land owners.  With its two trillion-dollar economy, it is said that by 2020, India would be the youngest new market in the world and last year it beat China and took the first place. 
Ms. Mini Guleria is a business consultant from California.  She traced her success story to building business bridges between USA, India, and Dubai.  Some projects in which she has been involved include hospitality, tourism, and beauty and health products.
All three speakers stressed the importance of using Indian-based professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, particularly those who qualified in India, to help build businesses in the USA.
Reported by: Harbachan Singh, GOPIO Life Member, New York, NY, USA
Session II: Major Issues of Indian Diaspora, 10 a.m.
Participants:  Dr. Rajeev Mehta (Moderator), Sudha Acharya (Speaker), Noel Lal (Speaker), Issac John (Speaker), Sivan Madathil (Speaker), Dr. Léna Armoudom (Speaker), Ms. Mini Guleria (Speaker), Ram Gadhavi  (Resource Person)
GOPIO Conference Session on Major Issues of the Indian DiasporaPhoto above: GOPIO Conference Session on Major Issues of the Indian Diaspora, from l. to. r.: Noel Lal, Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Sudha Acharya, Dr. Léna Armoudom, Sivan Madathil and Issac John

Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Chair of the Resolution Committee and GOPIO International Coordinator for North America (Piscataway, NJ, USA), the Moderator for this session, welcomed and introduced the speakers to the audience. 
Sudha Acharya, Executive Director, South Asian Council for Social Services (Jamaica Estate, NY, USA) presented the "Major Issue Facing New Immigrant Groups in Western Society - North American Scenario." 
Noel Lal, Managing Director, South Pacific Engineering and Exec. VP, GOPIO International (Sydney, Australia) spoke about the "Need for Disaster Assistance for NRIs/PIOs."
Issac John, Associate Editor, Khaleej Times and GOPIO International Coordinator for Middle East (Dubai, UAE) elaborated on the "Issues of the Indian Community in the Middle East." He stressed on the importance of NRIs in the Middle East, their insecurity, and how they send large sums of money India.  
Sivan Madathil, Advocate, Kerala High Court & GOPIO Kochi, (Kochi, India), spoke about the "Human Rights violations of NRIs/PIOs."
Dr. Léna Armoudom, Orthodontist and GOPIO-Reunion (Reunion Islands) talked about the "Aspirations of French Speaking PIOs and Reunion Islanders" and wanted to know if the Global Indian diaspora had any suggestions regarding how the French Speaking PIOs could overcome the language barrier that was restricting their progress. 
Ram Gadhavi, Vice President, GOPIO International (Wayne, NJ, USA), suggested that GOPIO should form a Diaspora writers' forum and talked about the importance of networking. He requested that the Government of India should not allow the airlines to hike up airfares and opined that GOPIO must take several steps to appraise governments of different countries of NRI/PIO issues.
Reported by Dr. Rajeev Mehta MD and Ram Gadhavi, New Jersey, USA
Session III - Indian Diaspora Promoting Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries, 11:30 a.m.
Participants:  Biru Sharma (Moderator), Dr. Sudhir Parikh (Speaker), Dr. Prabhu Kulkarni (Speaker), Shailesh Naik (Resource Person)
Session on Medical and Pharmaceutical IndustriesPhoto above: GOPIO Conference Session on Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries, from l. to t. Biru Sharma, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Dr. Prabhu Kulkarni and Shailesh Naik

Biru Sharma opened the session by pinpointing the influence of Indian Diaspora in the fields of medicine and pharmaceuticals. He mentioned that Indian Diaspora has earned a name for itself in the West, particularly in medical, pharmaceutical and related healthcare fields. The percentage of doctors of Indian origin far exceeds the proportionate percentage of Indians in the United States of America. Even though their renown in the field itself is recommendable, many of the doctors such as the Dr. Parikh are diversifying themselves in the field of politics. In doing so those diversifying are promoting the influence of Indian Diaspora in the country.
Dr. Sudhir Parkih noted that in the 1960's and 1970's, the focus of newly immigrated doctors from the Indian subcontinent was on their fields of specialization. Since the 1990's, diversification became the name of the game with the Diaspora becoming more business savvy by making forays into politics, etc. Many doctors of Indian origin, such as Dr. Siddarth Mukherji and Dr. Atul Gawande, have become well known authors of medical literature. Dr. Parikh, an internationally acclaimed allergist wears many hats as a publisher, India advocate, and philanthropist.  He has started one of the largest allergy companies in North America, in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Recipient of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, bestowed Padma Shri by the Indian government, Dr. Parikh stressed the importance of Diaspora having a voice on the political stage, and acknowledged the accomplishments of the likes of Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Governor Nickey Haley of South Carolina and Upendra Chivukula of New Jersey.
Dr. Prabhu Kulkarni, founding president of GOPIO Ireland, received his Doctorate in Philosophy from Trinity University in Dublin, and has worked in various chemical industries. He currently spends a sizeable time in R&D and regulatory affairs. Dr. Prabhu highlighted India's role in medical tourism and the importance of telemarketing in today's world. Dr. Kulkarni emphasized that India can become a prominent player and an attractive destination for patients from many western countries such as the UK where the patients' waiting lists to receive medical services from the National Healthcare Services are long.
Shailesh Naik, P.E., LEED AP, Immediate Past President of GOPIO Connecticut Chapter and President, Charles A. Manganaro Consulting Engineers, PC, Hawthorne, NY related his experiences corresponding to his journey into entrepreneurship.
Reported by Shailesh Naik, Hawthorne, NY, USA
Session IV - Empowering Diaspora Indian Women, 11:30 a.m.
Participants:  Sudha Parekh (Moderator), Mini Guleria (Speaker), Annetta Seecharran (Speaker), Dr. Rohini Ramanathan (speaker), Ena Maraj (Speaker), Molly Benerjei (Speaker), Dr. Rini Johar (Speaker), Manju Madan (Resource Person)
GOPIO Conference Session on Diaspora Women's ForumPhoto above: GOPIO Conference Session on Diaspora Women's Forum, from l. to r.: Annetta Seecharan, Sudha Parekh, Manju Madan, Mini Guleria, Molly Banerjei, Dr. Rohini Ramanathan, Dr. Rini Johar and Ena Maraj

Sudha Parekh opened the session by emphasizing the importance of timeliness of the topic of Empowering Diaspora Indian Women.
Mini Guleria cited examples of the strength of women:  Mahatma Gandhi said that the women are stronger than men, and Prime Minister Modi also said that the women are 10 times stronger than men. She spoke of the inequality between men and women citing the Masonic Lodge where they only have male members. She reminded the group that in Pakistan men can legally beat women if they don't perform according to their wishes. She encouraged the group by saying, "India needs us, let us be a force."
Annetta Seecharran stressed the importance of financially stable women.  In the absence of financial stability, women face many challenges.  She talked about SATHI, an organization that has identified violence against women and children since 1992.  Another organization, CHHAYA works with New Yorkers of South Asian origin in low-income communities to build economically stability and sustainability. She spoke of SAKHI, an organization helping South Asian women against domestic violence.
Dr. Rohini Ramanathan spoke about Michael Korda's bestselling book "Power: How to Get It How to Use It?" She explained that power is a feeling.  Power is control and women have unlimited power. Also talked about acquiring more power than you need could come with a price citing the example of Gautam Buddha who walked away from power as he didn't want to make sacrifices the power demanded.
Ena Maraj talked about building self-esteem and confidence.  She encouraged the group to work toward it:  "Be the best in whatever you do. Love yourself. Take action. Show your character, pay special attention to yourself. Challenge negative thoughts.  Be a decision maker. She also shared that one day she'd like to see a female GOPIO president.
Molly Benerjei was born in Amritsar and now lives in Toronto, Canada where she has a program called "Chai with Molly."  She challenged women to encourage and strengthen one another.  She stressed that gender equality is more about including women and not excluding men.
Dr. Rini Johar likened the strength of a woman to a teabag:  when put in hot water it shows its true strength. She talked about Urvashi Rautela and her successful career. Dr. Johar also talked about justice and equality for women. She wants to know what GOPIO can do for women?
Reported by Manju Madan, GOPIO Los Angeles, USA
Session V - Diaspora in Hospitality and Convenience Foods - 2 p.m to 3.15 p.m.
Participants:  Nitin Shah (Moderator), Lord Diljit Rana (Lead Speaker), Sunil Nayak (Speaker), Ved Sarvotham (Speaker), Shelly Nichani (Speaker), Balagopal Veliyath (Resource Person)
Conf.Session Hospitality and Convenience Foods.Lord Diljit Rana SpeakingPhoto above: GOPIO Conference Session Hospitality and Convenience Foods, Lord Diljit Rana speaking, others from l. to r.: Nitin Shah, Sunil Nayak, Ved Sarvotham, Shelly Nichani and Balagopal Veliath

In his introductory remarks Nitin Shah mentioned the hospitality industry in the US and the AAHOA (Asian American Hotel Owners Association) with its wide network of over 15,000 members and 25,000 hotels.
Lord Diljit Rana, the key note speaker for this session, stated that in the Indian culture food was never a business. With western influence, it has become commercialized. He stated that hotel business comes naturally to us because of our caring nature. He quoted a Sanskrit verse "Athithi Devo Bhava" to show that in Indian culture a guest is to be treated as a God. On the topic of convenience foods, Mr. Rana categorized them as food prepared for hotels/restaurants and for display in shelves. With the crusade against obesity, the community has an opportunity for creating publicizing food which is healthy. Summing up, he mentioned that in the hospitality industry staff needs to be trained to look after guests with a caring nature. 
Sunil Nayakbegan his address by stressing that hospitality is not a business, but a service. The hospitality business today is not what it used to be. Research should be done before embarking on buying hotel property and the success that some people achieve can be misleading. Marketing techniques have changed. At one time 90% of customers were walk-ins. Today a strong presence on social media and a good sales team are necessary. He mentioned the new challenges being faced by the industry with the new concepts like B&Bs and home-away.
Ved Sarvothamhas been connected to the Diaspora through Western Union. The marketing techniques and sales strategies have changed and have become more Diaspora-oriented. Western Union has realized that India is positively engaged in foreign exchange with the US, Middle East or any other foreign country. 
In 2000, Shelly Nichani moved from New Delhi, India to the US. Having owned hotels in India, he was no stranger to the hospitality business. Hospitality is tough business and to become involved research and education are required. People who came into the industry without studying the business experienced difficult time during the recession in 2008.
Reported by Balagopal Veliyath, GOPIO Life Member, Kochi Chapter, India
Session VI -Diaspora Writers Forum - 2 p.m to 3.15 p.m.
Participants:  Moderator:Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, Speakers:Hindi - Anoop Bhargava, English - Lakshman Bulushi, Gujarati - Dr. R.P. Shah, Marathi - Dr. Kunda S. Joshi, Malayalam - Raju Thomas, Bengali -Suparna Guha, Resource Person and Concluding Remarks - Ram Gadhavi
GOPIO Conference session on Diaspora Writers Forum
Photo above: GOPIO Conference session on Diaspora Writers Forum, from l. to r.: Raju thomas, Lakshman Bulusu, Dr. Kunda Joshi, Ram Gadhavi, Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, R. P. Shah and Anoop Bhargava

Diaspora writers' forum was organized professionally for the first time in any of GOPIO's annual convention as a dedicated technical session. The Session VI was moderated by Dr. Neerja A Gupta. The exhaustive networking and comprehensive coordination was done for the session by Mr. Ram Gadhavi, the Vice-President of GOPIO. The writers' forum was presented as a 'salad-bowl' to the GOPIO members in a sense that it had the length and breadth of all most all major representative languages used by Indian Diaspora. Hindi writings were represented by NJ, USA based Anoop Bhargava, Recipient of Vishwa Hindi Samman Award-2015 at 10th World Hindi Convention, Bhopal, India. A very well-known English poet Lakshman Bulushi, recited his poetry in the session who owes over 1000 Poems and Haiku and has published 4 collections of poetry books. Marathi Poet Dr. Kunda S. Joshi, a recipient of PA, USA, Pediatrician and Poet, brought nostalgia and female sensitivity into the audience. Ms. Suparna Guha, Writer and Expert in Rabindra Sangeet and Literature mixed poetry with sangeet to bring out the beauty of Bengali poetry. Mr. Raju Thomas, Poet and Writer, was eloquent in his Malayalam poetry and Dr. R. P. Shah brought in a difference by presenting the essays from his Gujarati plays. An atmosphere of amalgamation of Indian languages was seen on the platform, each reuniting themselves with their homeland through their recitation.  
Overall the session gave free air to emotional exposition and concluding remarks by the resource person of the session Shri Ram Gadhavi brought timely and important proposal of forming a council for Indian Diaspora writers. This was accepted unanimously in the session. For more than an hour the participants of the session deliberated upon the role of the writers of Indian Diaspora and their synergic emotional connect with India.      
Reported by Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, Professor, Gujarat University; Chair, GOPIO Academic Council and Founding President, GOPIO-Ahmedabad Chapter, India,
Session VII Promoting Diaspora Entrepreneurship, Technology and Business - 3.30 p.m. to 4.45 p.m.
Participants:  Jagdish Lodhia (Moderator), Harsh Bhargava (Lead Speaker), Shaji Baby John (Speaker), Tirlok Malik(Speaker), Samir Patel (Speaker), Prince Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu (Speaker), Dr. Rohini Ramanathan (Resource Person)
GOPIO Conf. Session on Diaspora Entrepreneurship, Technology and BusinessPhoto above: GOPIO Conference Session on Diaspora Entrepreneurship, Technology and Business, from l. to r. Ishwar Ramlutchman, Jagdish Lodhia, Shaji Baby John, Tirlok Malik. Samir Patel, Dr. Rohini Ramanathan and Harsh Bhargava
The session started with brief remarks by GOPIO Associate Secretary Jagdish Lodhia, President of Lord Jewelers, Sydney, Australia.
The keynote speaker Mr. Harsh Bhargava, Founder and President, I Create, Inc., a New Jersey, USA-based nonprofit addressed the topic "Why Entrepreneurship Is No Longer an Option!" Through ICreate, Bhargava is currently involved in promoting entrepreneurship in several universities and institutions through out India.
Mr. Shaji Baby John, CEO, Kings Group spoke about "Promoting Smart Cities for NRI's and PIO's." His slide show defined the self-contained "Smart City" that his venture has created in Kerala. Based on the concept of: Stay, Play, Learn, Entertain, Invest, Innovate --all within a planned single living space, his city offers a complete eco-system, integrating elegant living with everything one needs for commerce, health, education and recreation while promoting self-contained green development, incorporating best practices for eco-friendly, sustainable, holistic living. Additionally, the "Smart City" will be a gateway to channel global expertise, knowledge and talents into India and provide support to international companies to access Indian markets.
Mr. Tirlok Malik, the CEO of Apple Productions, Inc. and NRI TV Film Club founder highlighted NRIs' nostalgia for and emotional ties to India and the Indian way of life, conflicts that result from living in two worlds,  relationships sacrificed and the price of success in a "foreign" land. 
Mr. Samir Patel, President, GOPIO-Gujarat, India and the managing director of the India-based Amos Enterprises spoke on "Indian Business Opportunities for NRI's/PIO's." His presentation outlined services that GOPIO-Gujarat, working closely with Indian Government agencies can render to the to NRI's and PIO's who wish to do business with and in India. It also offers assistance to those seeking medical/legal help.
Finally, GOPIO International Coordinator for Africa, Prince Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu, managing director of Vukani Muzhulu Services (PTY), Ltd. discussed "Promoting Business Opportunities in PIO Countries" with focus on South Africa.  He highlighted hospitality, agriculture and water management as some of the industries that would flourish in South Africa. He insisted that GOPIO's role in making such investments to occur will be critical.
Reported by Dr. Rohini B. Ramanathan, President, The 7D's Consulting/Images International, New York, NY, USA
Session VIII Health and Wellness of the Indian Diaspora - 3.30 p.m. to 4.45 p.m.
Participants:  Dr. Asha Samant DMD (Moderator), Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, MD (Lead Speaker), Dr. Pallavi Solanki, MD (Speaker), Dr Pradip Sewoke MD, (Speaker), Dr. Maya Raghuwanshi (Speaker)
GOPIO Conf. Session Panel Diaspora Health and Wellness
Photo above: GOPIO Conf. Session Panel Diaspora Health and Wellness, from l. to r.: Sudha Acharya,  Dr Maya Raghuwanshi, Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, Dr Pradip Sewoke, Dr Pallavi Solanki and Dr Asha Samant

GOPIO's Health and Wellness Council chair Dr. Asha Samant started the session with brief remarks on GOPIO's mission on health and wellness of persons of Indian origin.  The "GOPIO Health and Wellness Council" has been established to address this continuously evolving issue.  It is impacted by multitude of factors like environment, nutrition, individual behavior, disease education and awareness, access to health care, healthcare utilization, and participation in preventive health care programs etc. Thus Health and Wellness becomes a dynamic process. 
To facilitate and achieve its objective the GOPIO Health and Wellness Council organized (a) discussion on health trends of the community from the scientific publications and government publications at seminars and guest speaker lectures. (b) When possible attempts to establish partnership with health care providers who are engaged in community services.
This year, keeping the same issues of Indian Diaspora health, Four Panel speakers on the Indian Diaspora Health Issue   on Diabetes and Obesity -A slow Killer in community, Heart failure -A silent killer. Cancer -A violent killer, presented their experiences the prevalence in Indian Diaspora The panelists shared   and update the occurrence of these killers' diseases   in the community worldwide.
Speaking on Cancer and Indian Diaspora, Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, M.D., FACR, FACRO, Recipient of Padma Shri said that every year there are an estimated 10 million   new cases, 6 million deaths and 22 million   people living with cancer worldwide. Very little is known about cancer in immigrant populations. Currently, cancer registries around the world do not include information on Asian Indians in their registries. To understand the cancer burden in Indian diaspora, it is critical that these registries should have information about Asian Indians. Migrants who lived in the west for a decade or longer had a risk 80% higher than the more recent migrants -Risk was unrelated to the age at migration. Exposures to western life style had a substantial impact on breast cancer risk during their lifetime...
Dr. Maya Raghuwanshi  MD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, Rutgers-Medical School, State University of NJ, Newark, NJ, USA spoke on Diabetes and Obesity. There has been a global epidemic of Obesity and Type 2 diabetes. WHO reports 1.9 billion are overweight and 600 million are obese globally, 155 million children are overweight and obese (10-25% rate of obesity) 422 million have diabetes worldwide with 29 million in US and 96 million in south East Asia. China is predicted to have the highest rise in prevalence rate (68%) followed closely by India (59%) and other Asian countries .The  risk of type 2 diabetes in South Asians is about four to five times as high as that in Europeans. Around 25% of Indo-Asian adults in the UK suffer from Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes tends to develop about 10 years earlier than in Europeans. Complications of diabetes such as kidney disease and heart disease develops more commonly in south Asians South Asians have the highest death rates due to coronary heart disease in the UK. Increasing levels of obesity have been observed among South Asian children.
Dr. Pallavi Solanki, MD, FACC, FACC, Director, Advanced Heart Failure and Mechanical Circulatory Support, Rutgers-Medical School, The State University of NJ, Newark, NJ, Epidemic of Cardiac Diseases in Asian Indians. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Asian Americans Cardiovascular disease causes more deaths for Asian Americans than all forms of cancer combined Coronary artery disease tends to occur earlier in life and in a higher percentage of the population in Asian Indians than in other ethnic groups. Risk factors are, Cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, High Cholesterol, Family history of premature Obesity, especially central obesity, Physical inactivity.
Dr. Pradip Sewoke, MD, Co-Director Interventional Cardiologist; Co-Director of Diaconat Clinic Mulhouse, France; and GOPIO International Coordinator for Europe, Belfort, France, spoke on the cardiac Issues of the Diaspora, specific risk factors and higher mortality rate due to coronary diseases in the Diaspora.

Recommendations for GOPIO

1. It is also important to increase the community partnership to address various aspects of health and wellness which will increase community capacity and program effectiveness.
2.-Indians in U.S.A. and U.K. appear to adopt cancer incidence   patterns of the host country and hence should follow the   screening guidelines for cancer recommendations by their   respective cancer societies.
3. Supportive policies in sectors such as health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution, marketing and education in diet and exercise. Better prenatal care needed to prevent under nutrition in children. Early detection and treatment of obesity and diabetes help to prevent the complications.
4. Education, awareness to community services thru health, flyers and media.
5. Collaboration with health organizations to provide economical health insurance measures.
6. Recommendation at government levels to set up health care facilities to villages and low income level community.
7. Collaborative exchange program to send medical health care teams to provide preventive measures for underserved communities' locations.
8. Partnership with other organizations in perspective countries to set up preventive free health care facilities for education and Care.
9. There are three simple things you can do to reduce your risk for heart disease.
a. Know your risk factors although you can't change your age or heredity, there are many other risk factors for heart disease that you can control.
b. At your next doctor's appointment, talk to your doctor, bring your list of questions and a heart health scorecard to help assess your risk for heart disease.
c. Making simple, healthy lifestyle changes Reduce your risk can reduce your risk for heart disease
Reported by Dr.Asha Samant DMD, MDS, FICD, Chair. GOPIO Health and Wellness Council

GOPIO, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, held its biennial convention on June 24, 25 and 26, 2016 at the New York LaGuardia Airport Marriott Hotel in East Elmhurst, New York. This year's theme, Strengthening Connections between India and Indian Diaspora through Business, was explored by convention organizers and attendees through a variety of conference sessions.  The following GOPIO members shared their thoughts on the event. 
Dear Niraj ji, 
I fully affirm and endorse your statement.  Indeed the teamwork and the camaraderie displayed by the members at the convention was clearly evident and highly appreciated by all.  It is truly a glowing testimony to your outstanding leadership which took GOPIO to the higher level that we witnessed.  Bravo and Congratulations!
Of course, Dr. Thomas Abraham and Mr. Lal Motwani deserve special commendation for their stewardship.  Many others too.
Thank you and best regards, 
Harbachan Singh, GOPIO Life Member, New York, USA
Dear All friends,
Without any doubt, it was the best convention.  Credit to all leaders who had wonderful teams and spirit to move together.  Mission achieved.
Dr. Asha Samant, Chair, Health and Wellness Council, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
Dear Mr Niraji/Thomasji
My heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of you who made our stay in New York a memorable one. 
I am very much happy that we are moving ahead with the Theme "Gopio Means Business".
The convention held was of such high standard. The topic and discussions were exceptional. We have learnt a lot from the sessions and look forward to many more.
A big thumbs up for Mr Lal Motwani and Thomas for having worked tirelessly to have the convention a success. The entire GOPIO Team was so warm, welcoming and caring. This is what we need in Life, Each Other to Serve our people in the Globe.
Looking forward in hosting you all in South Africa in 2017.
Kind Regards,
Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu, International coordinator for Africa, Durban, South Africa

Dear Thomas,
Back from my trip and don't want to delay expressing my great appreciation of the conference's huge success. It had excellent presentations, participation and was very well coordinated.
I could see the meticulous planning in general and behind the sessions. The whole conference had a very positive tone and was very productive - for which a big credit goes to you and the way you coordinated and led the conference.
Congratulations to you and the able GOPIO executive especially Niraj Baxi, Lal Motwani and the many volunteers at the conference.

Harsh Bhargava
GOPIO Life Member and Founder I Create, New Jersey, USA
Creating Job Creaters
Dear Thomas.
First at all I would like to convey all my thanks  for inviting me to such significant and successful event as well as  giving me such opportunity to achieve the next step by  connecting  the Diaspora. And I would like to congratulate the new President and his wonderful team who provided us not only hope but a guaranteed way also. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you in my country.
Dr. Léna Armoudom
Gopio Reunion Island (France in Indian Ocean)
Congratulations to Thomas, the new team headed by Niraj Baxi and the convention team of Lal Motwani for the very high level in quality and large amount of items discussed during the only two days convention: business, academic, and women's health.  This high quality of convention is the beginning of a brilliant future of GOPIO International which will continue at the Europe Convention on November 10-13th (mainly Nov 12th) in Paris, France. 
Again, congratulations to you all.
Best regards,
Dr. Pradip Sewoke, GOPIO International Coordinator for Europe, Belfort, France
Congratulations to All for a job well done!
Dr. Rajeev Mehta, International Coordinator for USA/CANADA
Dear Convention Team,
All of you worked very hard and presented well in the conference of Empowerment of Diaspora Indian Women. Many of you did not have much time to prepare but all of you did a marvelous job with the qualitative presentation and nice selection of different topics. You also maintained good timings. At times, it is difficult to complete your speech within the given time but our conference was very productive. Manju Madan, who was a Resource person, was very helpful also. I appreciate her assistance. As per your suggestions, we will allot more time in future and Executive Council is working to involve more women in different positions.  Thanks once again.    
Sudha Parekh, Life Member, Session Moderator for Diaspora Indian Women's Forum, New York, USA
First, congratulations Thomas on becoming the next chairman of GOPIO International. Wish you all the best.
Good friends and good times with them, good food, and a purposeful life all define the good life.
Glad to have been a part of the planning committee and may our paths cross again. Met some of you for the first time and it was delightful.
All best,
Dr. Rohini Ramanathan, Oceanside, New York, USA
Congratulations Thomas!
Looking forward to working with you all.
Shailesh Naik, Co-Chair, GOPIO Council for Science and Technology, Rye Brook, New York, USA
Congratulations Lal, Thomas and GOPIO team for a successful convention!
We wish you all the best,
Anita Bhat, Chair, GOPIO Youth Council, Stamford, CT, USA
Dear Dr. Rajeev Mehta
I want to begin by acknowledging the new team that organized the conference with great and big congratulations. I have been attending GOPIO conferences since 2009. This was the best GOPIO conference ever. The atmosphere was positive and it felt like we were a 'community'. 
Jay Banerjei. GOPIO-Toronto, Canada

GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.
GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and 2/3 of the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.
GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world, so as to network with people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have a chapter in your city, please visit the GOPIO website ( and get details of chapter initiation (visit This process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more.  For more information, contact:
GOPIO Chairman - Dr. Thomas Abraham, Stamford, Connecticut, USA, Tel: +1-203-329-8010, E-mail:
GOPIO President -Niraj Baxi, San Jose, California, USA, Tel: +1 408-307-9845, E-mail:
GOPIO Executive Vice President - Noel Lal, Sydney, Australia, Tel: +61 417448293, E-mail:
GOPIO Vice President - Ram Gadhavi, Wayne, New Jersey, USA, Tel: +1-973-699-8582, E-mail:
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, Founder President and Chairman of GOPIO Intl. (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editor: Nami Kaur (New York, USA)
Associate Editor: Layla Matthew (Bangalore, India), Ila Rosengarten (Denver, CO)
Webmasters:Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)   
Contributors of this issue: Ram Gadhavi (Vice President, GOPIO International, USA), Dr. Asha Samant (Chair, GOPIO Health and Wellness Council, Piscataway, NJ, USA), Anita Bhat (Chair, GOPIO Youth Council, Stamford, CT, USA), Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta (Chair, GOPIO Academic Council, Ahmedabad, India), Dr. Rajeev Mehta (Intl. Coordinator for North Ameica, New Jersey, USA), Dr. Rohini Ramanathan (GOPIO New York, Oceanside, NY, USA), Balagopal Veliath (GOPIO Kochi, India), Harbachan Singh (Member, GOPIO Constitution Committee, New York, USA), Shailesh Naik (Co-Chair, GOPIO Science and Technology Council, Rye Brook, New York, USA) and Manju Madan (GOPIO-Los Angeles, 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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