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October 1, 2013

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

Issue: XII-10 October 1, 2013
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GOPIO international is organizing its regional convention and International Women's conference in Sydney on 9th November 2013. The convention theme is "The Indian Diaspora in Oceania: Growth and opportunities" The convention convener Umesh Chandra, (GOPIO International coordinator, Oceania) is inviting keynote speakers and scholars from the region. The topic is very timely appropriate, as Oceania region has a great positional, however there are challenges that need to be overcome.


Australia has strong bilateral trade relation with India. At a state level, in 2011-12 India was Queensland's fourth largest merchandise export destination, valued at more than $6 Billion. Representing 11.4 percent of total value of Queensland's merchandise exports. India is going to continue to be a world economic powerhouse. India's economy has grown by approximately 36 percent in the last five years, with growth in 2014 forecast to be almost 6 percent. India, the world's largest democracy is currently undergoing a period of transformation- the country is urbanizing and the middle class is expanding. This positive transformation presents Oceania region and particularly Australia massive opportunities.


The above topics would the focus of the discussions and deliberations of GOPIO International regional conference. The conference will also explore the opportunities and challenges of the Indian Diaspora in the region. The Indian Diaspora in the region is becoming a major force in the field of commerce, innovative technologies, education, hospitality, heath care, community work, philanthropy and politics to name a few. Most challenges that the Indian Diaspora faces on a day are many are self inflicted by our own society; others are a result of the market forces and some discriminatory.


The conference will be held in Sydney's western suburbs, where a large number of people of Indian Origin reside. The venue is Sapphire function centre situated at level 1, 107 -109 Main Street Blacktown. The conference is likely to attract over two hundred people. The convention will encompass GOPIO International women's conference (see separate article below) under the chairmanship of Suman Kapoor of New Zealand.


The convention is open to public and the online registration is open, to register please follow the following link; for further information please contact Umesh Chandra  ph +61421388465


GOPIO Convention Planning Meeting in Sydney in Sept. 2013

Photo above: GOPIO Regional Convention Planning Committee was honoured by a visit by GOPIO International Executive Vice President Sunny Kulathakal, who presented a photo album of the GOPIO International conference held in Kochi, India in January 2013 to the Convention Committee. From L. To r. from left : Rohitas Batta, Balbir Singh, Harmohan Singh Walia, Aman Singh, Lucky Singh, Umesh Chandra, Sunny Kulathakal, Balvinder Ruby, Rajat Midha and Mahavir Arya 




First conference of GOPIO International Women's Council was held in London in 2010, and now Sydney was chosen host a promising platform for Diaspora women on 9 November 2013. The conference theme is "Women of the Indian Diaspora - Challenges, Empowerment & Opportunities" and it seeks to address current, critical issues confronting women of all ages globally.


The Women's Conference Sydney seeks to address critical issues confronting women globally as evidenced by the recent revelations of abuses against women in many countries. There are several sessions of the conference designed with specific sub-themes on these current issues, highlighting the history, aspirations, challenges and achievements. These topics of discussion are within the context of the relations of women, including Indian women, in politics, government, private sector, NGOs and women empowerment; and the prominent roles of Indian women.


Conference sessions will cover discussions on: "Confronting and Overcoming Violence against Women & Children"; "Equitable Treatment of Women in Business and Profession"; and "Women of the Indian Diaspora - Ways of Moving Forward". The organizers of the conference have been diligent in planning and coordinating the sessions and have selected an impressive list of prominent and suitably qualified presenters for the various sessions.


The Women's conference is organized by Suman Kapoor of New Zealand who is also Chair of GOPIO International Women Council and her team. The organizing committee for this conference includes Co-chairs Rita Abraham (South Africa), Lucky Singh (Sydney), Bhanumati Dwarika (Trinidad Tobago). They look forward to welcome great speakers and participants from around the globe.


Nomusa Dube (Minister Women's Affairs, South Africa) and Judith Collins( Minister of Ethnic Affairs, New Zealand) will grace the occasion as keynote speakers. Other speakers include Neeraja Arun( India), Mala Mehta (Sydney), Bala Thomson (New Zealand), Tulsi Sujan (India), Kumud Merani (Australia). The Conference will be followed by a gala banquet .


 For more information and participation, contact Suman Kapoor,


Commemorating 100 years of the "Gadar Movement", on Sunday, July 28, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) paid tribute to the patriots and unsung heroes of the Gadar movement who sacrificed all to liberate India from British colonial rule.  GOPIO News (Sept. 1, 2013) reported the banquet part of the celebration which was addressed by Ambassador Nirupama Rao. Below, we provide highlights of the day-long seminar.


The day-long program (seminar/reception/banquet) held under ensign of GOPIO in cooperation with GOPIO Metro Washington DC and Indian American Community at Hilton Rockville, MD was spearheaded by Dr. Renuka Misra, event chair/chief organizer and GOPIO National Coordinator USA and her team.


The educational seminar on the Gadar Movement featured distinguished and imminent speakers from across the country including: Professor Harbans Lal of Texas; Mr. Samip Mullick of Pennsylvania; Dr. Sambhu Banik; Dr. Joy Cherian of Maryland; Ashok Madan and GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh of California. They expressed their appreciation for the event celebrating 100 years of the independence movement. And an unexpected pleasant surprise was the appearance of Surender Pal Singh, the grandson of Bhavan Singh Gyani (second President of Hindustan Pacific Association). 


They spoke about the history of the Gadar movement, formation of the Gadar Party and its initial members, including Lala Hardayal, Maulvi Batkatullah, Kartar Singh Sarabha, Tarakh Nath Das, Sohan Bhakna and others, and how the information has been archived.


Professor Harbans Lal, Texas said that the movement, which started in the west coast of northern America with a small group of people from diverse religious groups, impacted India thousands of miles away with full force.


Inder Singh, Chairman, GOPIO International, said that the current generation of Indian-Americans knows very little about the history of Indians in US. "The legacy of the pioneers must pass on to the next generations and that responsibly rests solely on us and particularly on our community leaders," he said.


Surender Pal Singh, grandson of Bhagwan Singh-one of the eminent Gadarite-said there is a need to recognizing the contributions of the Gadar Movement and its leaders in the freedom struggle. Singh, who had come from Atlanta for this occasion added that time has come to make Gadar Movement a part of text books.


Dr. Zafar Iqbal, President of GOPIO Metro Washington DC chapter and Dr. Renuka Misra welcomed the guests and audience at the banquet reception. The emcee of the event Dr. Renuka Misra was introduced by Dr. Satish Misra, event secretary and president of Federation of Indian American Association-NCR. She highlighted the significance of the movement that had cooperation of major communities that included 85% Sikhs, 10% Muslims, and 5% others. She elaborated that tonight's function had participation of diverse ethnic and cultural organizations.


In addition to speeches by dignitaries, the highlights of the event were the cultural performances which effectively conveyed the mood and momentum of the commemoration.  Students of the Nrityaki Dance Academy, which specializes in Kathak, charmed the audience with 'Jai Ho' from the Oscar-winning film 'Slumdog Millionaire', and Sneha Misra presented the Ganesh Vandana as an invocation piece.  Both dances were adeptly choreographed by Shweta Misra, founder and director of the Academy.  For the finale, members of Jawan Shoorveer Ankhiley, the talented Bhangra group from Delaware, regaled the audience with an energetic dance in their signature style.


Dr. Satish Misra thanked the guests, supporters, and participants in making the event a success.


Gadar 100th Anniversary Seminar in Washington Dc area., July 28, 2013

Photo above: GOPIO officials and organizers with speakers of Gadar seminar, Seated l. to r. Prof Harbans Lal, Samip Mallick, Dr. Sambhu Banik, Dr. Joy Cheria, Ashok Madan, Inder Singh; standing l. to r. Dr. Ramesh Pandey, Nitin Gupta, Dr. Renuka Misra, Dr. Satish Misra,S. P. Singh, Dr. Zafar Iqbal


One is left wondering, how do you even begin to pay tribute to the Gadarites - these bravest of men?  The words of a patriotic song, immortalized by India's foremost singer Lata Mangeshkar and rendered so beautifully at the GOPIO event by Niti Dharwadkar, come to mind and linger on:


'Aye mere vatan ke logon (O' people of my country)

Tum khoob laga lo naara (Raise all the slogans you like)....

Par mat bhoolo seema par (But, never forget that on the border)

Veeron ne hai praan ganvae (The brave have lost their lives)'. 

A meeting organized by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Foundation and GOPIO-CT on August 29th in Stamford, Connecticut (USA) has asked Govt. of India to establish a training center in the Disaster Life Support for the First Responders. Speaking at a seminar on preparedness in India in times of disaster, as recently happened in Uttrakhand flooding, GOPIO Life Member Dr. Raj Lal, an emeritus cardiothoracic surgeon from Chicago who had undergone training at the U.S. based National Disaster Life Support Foundation (NDLSF) and serves as a volunteer first responder at time of disasters around the world, said that the first hour after the disaster, either natural or man-made is a golden period. This is where the bystanders become the first responders till the ambulances and the Emergency medical services ( EMS) personnel arrive on the scene.


"We must prepare first responders who are on the ground and provide immediate relief before the help comes either from the local district or the State and the Central government," said Dr. Lal.


"It is about looking at the risks, vulnerabilities and preparing for those massive casualty events to minimize the human tragedy and losses," added Dr. Lal.


Currently, very little money is being budgeted or targeted towards training first responders.


"Ultimately, for the community to regain resilience in a holistic manner, it has to prepare itself and enrich its resilient assets, particularly in relation to its infrastructure and economy. Hence, the grass roots involvement is essential and the best way to engage the community with these resilience-oriented projects is through a bottom-up approach under the auspices of India's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)," said Dr. Lal.


According to Dr. Lal, a sustainable training center in New Delhi must train EMS personnel to increase their efficiency, capability and adaptive capacity to meet the needs at the scene and utilize resources available to save as many lives as possible. In the end, it is all about enhancing the social resilience of the affected communities by public-private partnerships. A high   level of social resilience requires the adoption of a systems approach, whereby all stakeholders are connected, interrelated with shared responsibility,


The meeting was organized Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO Foundation and was hosted by GOPIO's Connecticut chapter.


For more information on this campaign, contact Dr. Raj Lal at


YouTube Video

Need for Emergency Preparedness for Disasters in Indiaby Dr. Raj Lal - 


GOPIO Foundation Meeting on Disaster Response in India

Photo above: GOPIO officials with Dr. Raj Lal. From l. to r: GOPIO-CT Trustee Chair Viresh Sharma, Dr. Sajni Thadani, GOPIO Foundation Executive Trustee Dr. Thomas Abraham, Dr. Raj Lal, Gail Lal, Roopa Madan and GOPIO-CT President Shailesh Naik 



Indian Parliament on August 7 passed the much-awaited Companies Bill which is aimed at protecting the interest of employees and small investors. Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot said the historic measure will give impetus to growth and bring transparency.


The Companies Bill, which will replace the nearly 50-year-old Companies Act, was passed by Rajya Sabha by voice vote. Lok Sabha had given its assent in December 2012. The focus of the bill is to ensure fewer regulations, self reporting and disclosure. The new law requires companies that meet certain set of criteria, to spend at least 2% of their average profits in the last three years towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.


Pilot said the government accepted about 96% of the suggestions of the Parliamentary Standing Committee and will seek views of stakeholders before finalizing rules for the legislation, which is compliant with latest technologies.


The new law also makes its mandatory for companies that one-third of their board comprises independent directors to ensure transparency. Also, at least one of the board members should be a woman. The legislation has provisions for faster winding up of firms and has also defined the word fraud, Pilot said.


The Companies Bill also provides for setting up of special courts for speedy trial and stronger steps for transparent corporate governance practices and curb corporate misdoings. In case entities are unable to comply with the CSR rules, they would be needed to give explanations. Otherwise, they would face action, including penalty. The amended legislation also limits the number of companies an auditor can serve to 20, besides bringing more clarity on criminal liability of auditors. 


One can download the full text of the bill from


Contributed by PIO TV.




American Diabetes Month takes place each November and is a time to come together as a community to raise awareness about Diabetes. There is growing evidence that diabetes is a major health issue in the Asian Indian community in the U.S.


According to American Diabetes Association recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050, and an additional 79 million Americans are at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.  


Diabetes is a serious disease.  If it isn't managed, it can damage many parts of the body, leading to heart attacks, strokes, amputation, blindness, and kidney failure and nerve damage.  But there is good news: diabetes complications can be prevented or delayed by properly managing blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  Eating healthy, being physically active and quitting smoking also can help lower the risk of diabetes complications.


GOPIO-Health Council has planned the following Health Awareness Programs in the Tri-State area. These programs will be offered free to our community members. We request the area chapters to participate and promote these events.


November 14, 2013 - "Controlling and Managing Chronic Diseases- Take actions now." This program will be in collaboration with the AAPI Westchester and Royal India Palace in White Plains.


November 15, 2013 - "Preventing the Complications and Making Therapeutic Life Style Changes now." This program will be in collaboration with Milan Cultural Association of CT


November 24, 2013 - "Health Awareness Day" - At the Consulate of India in New York in collaboration with AAPI.


If you would like to plan a program in your area and need help, please contact, Sangeeta Ahuja, Chair: GOPIO-Health Council at




GOPIO-New Zealand headed by Alkesh Sharma hosted a reception with all chapters in Aukland for visiting GOPIO International Executive Vice-President Sunny Kulathakal on September 7. Attended by many chapter presidents, the meeting was organized at Sudima Hotel near the Auckland International Airport. Kulathakal said that there was great scope and potential for GOPIO to grow in the South Pacific region through better coordination and consolidation of available resources and people.


"As a country accounting for a large and growing Indian Diaspora, New Zealand can become truly representative of diverse cultures, backgrounds and beliefs. GOPIO is a unique body that provides a platform for the Diaspora to come together and celebrate their unity in diversity. This is also an organization that can effectively work together for the benefit of all communities in every country of its presence," he said.


 "This is a non-political, non-partisan social and community oriented organization. We need leaders who understand the depth of our problems and possibilities. GOPIO's strength should be in mobilizing the human potential. We must attract the most ambitious and talented youth. The success of GOPIO should be on the foundation of dedication, courage, hard work and big dreams. It should exhibit the courage to stand for something as in the formative years," he said.


Kulathakal also appealed to the gathering to attend GOPIO meeting and International Women Conference to be held in Sydney on November 8th and 9th in conjunction with the Mini Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.


The theme of the seventh edition of the annual regional event will be 'Connecting for a shared future -- the Indian Diaspora, India and the Pacific'. Sessions will be devoted to bilateral business opportunities, skill development, technology, education and culture.


GOPIO-New Zealand Meeting with GOPIO Exec. V.P. Sunny Kulathakal  

Photo above: Sunny Kulathakal (standing front row, third from left), Alkesh Sharma (to his left) and other GOPIO-New Zealand officials after the meeting.




National Council of Asian Indian Associations (NCAIA) celebrated 67th Independence Day by organizing a Banquet at Martin Crosswinds a prestigious club in the Capital on August 18th. The Indian Ambassador Mrs. Nirupama Rao was the chief guest. On this occasion a souvenir edited by Jay Bhandari, GOPIO Virginia president and vice president of NCAIA, was released by chief guest Ambassador Nirupama Rao. More than 200 people attended the event.


The program began with American and Indian National Anthem by Loise Brown. Patriotic song was performed by a group of women. 


Ambassador Nirupama Rao praised Indian American community for their contributions to American Society. She said that it is a matter of pride that members of Indian American community have so many achievements in their chosen field. The community carries a deep sense of love for India and they cherish it. She pointed out the catalyst role of community in India- US relations. She asks them, to lend a hand in India's development.


 Ambassador Rao presented a life time achievement award to Retired Ambassador Harswarup Singh for his services to the community. Dr. Sambhu Banik introduced the diplomat Harswarup Singh. Yogendra Gupta read the Award. Pavan Bezwada, Dr. Suresh Gupta and Frank Islam also spoke on this occasion.


The special guest Rajan Natarajan, Deputy Secretary of State of Maryland State lauded the NCAIA for organizing the program successfully and presented a proclamation on behalf of Governor Martin O' Malley. The program ended with a lavish Indian Dinner.

GOPIO-Virginia Participates in Independence Day Souvenir Brochure PresentedPhoto above: GOPIO-Virginia President Jay Bhandari and program organizers present the program souvenir brochure to ambassador Nirupama Rao




GOPIO-Waikato celebrated Hindi Day in Hamilton on 14 September 2013. During past several years the teachers and volunteers have been discussing via seminars, talks, Hindi classes etc., the challenge of promoting Hindi language among the community. A couple of years back Bhakti Bhaav i.e. devotional songs were promoted, in Hindi. This time like minded people of GOPIO Waikato and Indians Global Women & Family Group promoted some of the local talented singers. This event was also considered as their 'Salaana Jalsa' i.e. yearly feast!


The main focus of Mehfil 2013 was to acknowledge the contribution of Hindi language in Indian Cinema which celebrated its first centenary this year. It was a joyful event where members of different generations made a valuable contribution.  Prabh Saran Singh main singer of the evening captured the hearts of the listeners with his soulful melodies including songs by Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas, Anup Jalota and many other famous singers. The very talented, Manpreet Singh of Auckland accompanied him on Tabla.


Other singers like Bela Pathak, Priya, Beljit Kaur and Rajani Sharma also added to the charm with their melodies from Hindi cinema, ghazal and Punjabi folk song. Patron and life member Mrs. Suman Kapoor welcomed the audience and made special announcement about Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan New Zealand coming to existence soon, so that our Indian languages, art, education, values and beliefs can be promoted and remain linked with our roots. Trilok Wadhwa delivered the vote of thanks.

GOPIO.Waikato.Celebrates Hindi Day, Sept. 2013  Photo above: Bela Pathak (Secretary GOPIO WAIKATO), Prabh Saran Singh, Harpreet Singh


Pradeep Kumar the president of GOPIO WAIKATO Inc. expressed special thanks to Swapna, Graham Hasting, Palvinder Kaur Kattra, vice president Davinder Kaur, treasurer Malathi Vasudevan, executive members Hari Singh Minhas, Somnath Gupta, V.P.Singh, Bela Pathak (executive secretary) and Dharam Singh Khattra for their valuable support and help. Special thanks were expressed to Asha and Nand Kejriwal for their long time support.


Contributed by Bela Pathak





Nina Davuluri won Miss America in New Jersey on Sept. 15. The news was met with pride and congratulations from millions of fans on the Internet as well as shockingly mean-spirited racial backlash, and some thought-provoking comments on what it all means from commentators here and in India. An aspiring doctor, Davuluri plans to use the $50,000 prize money to fund her studies.


Davuluri is the first Indian American to hold the title, as well as the first Indian American to be crowned Miss New York. The elegant and self-possessed native of Syracuse, New York, is also brainy: she was on the Dean's List at the University of Michigan, where she earned a BS degree in brain behavior and cognitive science; was a winner of the Michigan Merit Award; and made it to the National Honor Society. 


Davuluri was born to Telugu parents from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, and as a youngster would visit India every other year, studying dance. She is being awarded at least $50,000 in scholarships, which she plans to use for medical school.


Now in stellar physical shape and a fan of healthy eating and exercise, Davuluri painfully battled obesity and bulimia when she was a teenager. In an interview with the Syracuse Post-Standard, she said she had lost 60 pounds to compete in the Miss New York pageant. 


"I'm so happy this organization has embraced diversity," 24-year-old Nina Davuluri said in her first press conference, moments after winning the crown in Atlantic City. "I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America."

But within minutes of winning the title, Davuluri, whose talent routine was a Bollywood fusion dance, was the target of racist social media comments. She said that she would rise above attacks on social media.


TV Show Jon Stewart & Co. Smack Down Racist, Poorly-Spelled Miss America Backlash"


Jon Stewart was hoping the Miss America pageant would be a nice distraction from all the controversy brewing this week, but alas, twas not so. Stewart sighed as he took on the racist backlash to the first Indian-American Miss America, while correspondent Aasif Mandvi saw nothing but good news in the win.


Stewart acknowledged this was a small step for diversity in the Miss America pageant, a "beautiful mosaic of woman of size zero to nearly two." He reacted to some of the vicious tweets simply by pointing out the bad spelling, too fazed by the backlash to what should have been a nice story to waste any more time on the ramblings of the ignorant.


But when Mandvi came on, it was nothing but positive news. On all the negative Twitter reactions, he said, "It's Twitter! You've got 140 characters and 120 of them are racist for no apparent reason!" But he used the Miss America win to declare "Indians are taking over America!", saying the U.S. was so worked up about Mexicans they didn't see the real threat coming. He concluded, "You took this country away from the Indians, and now a different group of Indians is taking it back!"


See more of the show at:




The 92nd Annual Meeting of National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) was held in San Antonio, Texas August 21st to August 24th, 2013. NCEES is the American National Professional Engineers (PE) Board coordinating fifty national P.E. Boards, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands. Engineering organizations from Canada, Mexico, Japan and other countries work with NCEES.


Members of each state PE Board are appointed by their respective state governors. Three requirements to receive a license to practice engineering are Education, Examination and Experience. NCEES conducts examination for fundamental (FE) and Professional Examination (PE).  NCEES has four zones.  


Sockalingam Sam Kannappan, Chairman of Enforcement Committee, of Texas P.E. Board was elected Secretary and Treasurer of Southern Zone (SZ) on August 23rd, 2013. SZ has eighteen boards. Election was held between the nominees of Texas and Louisiana Boards.




Dr Bhavna Patel was appointed CEO of the famous medical institution, Groote Schuur, where the world's 1st heart transplant was performed by Dr Chris Barnard in 1967, making world headlines.


Patel started at the hospital in 2005 as a medical manager, was Chief Operating Officer of the medical facility for two years before talking up her new position. Patel holds two masters degrees - one from Stellenbosch University in family medicine, and one in bioethics and health law from Wits University in Johannesburg.


Groote Schuur (Dutch 'big Bum) was established in 1938, is one SA's premier tertiary academic medical hospitals and internationally renowned as the training ground for some of South Africa's best doctors, surgeons and nurses. The hospital has about 150 specialists and 1,500 nurses. Under the earlier apartheid-rule only whites were allowed in the hospital.




Among White House fellows for the year 2013/2014 is Kapil Parakh, a Washington DC area cardiologist who is currently the director of heart failure at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and assistant professor in the departments of medicine, epidemiology, and health behavior & society.


In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson created the White House fellows program, aimed at giving exceptional young American men and women first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the federal government.


One of the more striking developments in recent years is the number of Indian-Americans, particularly physicians, who have been selected for the dozen or so White House fellowships awarded each year. Selected individuals typically spend a year working as a full-time, paid Fellow to senior White House staff - including the engaging the president himself - cabinet secretaries and other top-ranking government officials.


Dr Parakh's research focuses on understanding the increased mortality in patients with depression after a heart attack. He leads heart failure quality improvements in collaboration with the joint commission's center for transforming healthcare, using entrepreneurial techniques to cost-effectively improve outcomes, a search that should surely bring him to India's acclaimed Narayana Hrudayalaya and the brilliant Dr Devi Shetty.


Dr Parakh edged out two other Indian-Americans who were finalists for the 2013/2014 award: Shilpen Patel, associate professor of radiation oncology, University of Washington, and Jay Bhatt, geriatric medicine fellow, University of Michigan Health system.




Shyam Sunder, Professor of Accounting, Economics, and Finance at Yale School of Management, has received the Outstanding Accounting Educator Award of the American Accounting Association (AAA).


The award recognizes sustained contributions to accounting education from scholarly endeavors in research and teaching over a sustained period of time through educational innovation, excellence in teaching, publications, research guidance to graduate students, and significant involvement in professional and academic societies and activities.


Sunder, an accounting theorist and experimental economist, is a pioneer in the fields of experimental finance and experimental macroeconomics. His current research includes the problem of structuring US and international accounting and auditing institutions to obtain a judicious and efficient balance between regulatory oversight and market competition. He is a past president of the American Accounting Association, and honorary research director of Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai, and a distinguished fellow of the Center for Study of Science and Technology Policy in Bengaluru.




Veerabhadran Ramanathan of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California who proved how cutting emissions of black carbon or soot can significantly lessen the impact of climate change has been selected for the United Nation's top environmental award. The United Nations Environment Program's (UNEP) 2013 Champions of the Earth award is the UN's highest environmental award.


The prize is awarded annually to leaders from government, civil society and the private sector, whose actions have had a significant and positive impact on the environment.


UNEP study in 2011 of which Ramanathan acted as vice-chairman presented 16 actions to cut black carbon and methane emissions, which, if implemented, would save close to 2.5 million lives a year through reduced respiratory illnesses, avoid crop losses amounting to 32 million tonnes annually, and deliver near-term climate protection of about 0.5 degree C by 2050. Translating his research into action, he had started "Project Surya" in India to phase out inefficient cooking stoves.



Multi-millionaire Rumi Verjee who brought Domino's pizza chain to Britain was made a Lord - an honor given by the British monarch the right to sit and vote in the House of Lords.


Verjee is a highly successful entrepreneur and the proprietor and chairman of Thomas Goode & Co, based in London's Mayfair. He founded Domino's Pizza in the UK. A fourth generation Indian born in Uganda, much of the Verjee family's assets was seized by Idi Amin's regime.


Verjee studied Law at Downing College, University of Cambridge where he is now an Honorary Fellow and after the expulsion of the Asian population from Uganda, made UK his home.




Three Indian-Americans figure among America's 400 richest people on the Forbes list. Topping the Indian-American list was Florida outsourcer Bharat Desai with a net worth of $2.2 billion in the 252nd position. He was followed by California software manufacturer Romesh Wadhwani with a net worth of 2.1 billion. California venture capitalist Vinod Khosla was ranked 352 with a net worth of $1.5 billion


Investor Warren Buffett, the second richest is the biggest dollar gainer this year at $58.5 billion, up $12.5 billion from last year. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was the second biggest gainer at $9.6 billion. He returns to the Top 20 (number 20) at $19 billion after dropping to 36th position last year.


The combined wealth of the Forbes' 2013 ranking of the richest people in America is $2 trillion, up from $1.7 trillion in 2012 and the highest ever, due in part to the strength of both the US stock and real estate markets.




President Barack Obama nominated Indian-American attorney Manish Shah from Chicago to a key judiciary post in Illinois. Manish was nominated for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, along with several other important judiciary nominations.


An Assistant US Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois since 2001, New York-born Shah currently serves as Chief of the Criminal Division, having previously served as Chief of Criminal Appeals from 2011 to 2012.


Shah was also Deputy Chief of the Financial Crimes and Special Prosecutions Section from 2008 to 2011 and Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section from 2007 to 2008.


Shah's parents emigrated from India and raised their two sons in West Hartford, Connecticut. Shah and his wife Joanna Grisinger, who teaches at Northwestern University, currently live in Chicago.


President Obama also nominated Puneet Talwar to the position of Assistant Secretary of State for political military affairs, a top diplomatic post. Talwar who currently serves as special assistant to the President and senior director for Iran, Iraq and the Gulf States on the White House National Security Staff for over four years is the second Indian-American to be nominated as the Assistant Secretary position in the state department. In July, Nisha Desai Biswal was nominated as the Assistant Secretary of state for South and Central Asia.


Talwar was a senior professional staff member on the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee from 2001-2009 and from 1997-1999, and chief advisor on the Middle East to then Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He has a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.A. from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. 


Obama announced his intent to nominate Talwar to the top state department position along with nearly 30 senior administration positions.




Matric (Grade 12) pupil Johara Naidoo received the GGYA Award at the Montecasino, Sandton recently.   She was selected due to her active participation in environmental issues, having been a member of Generation Earth (GE), a youth environmental organization. Johara was also appointed South African Water, Energy and Food Forum ambassador for 2013-4.


The GGYA is given to promising young change-makers who influence and carry the message to the youth.  "We are living in complex times - the world's resources are constantly under threat. We all have a responsibility of shaping, developing and managing the resources of the world", said one of the GE officials.


As much as Johara is passionate about the environment, she also loves dancing. She received her school honors recognition for academics, leadership and dance. Ms. Naidoo has set her sights on studying chemical engineering, focusing on green engineering.




Rajesh Rau, a PIO scientist at the University of Washington (UW) has performed the world's first ever non-invasive human-to-human brain interface, in which one researcher was able to send a brain signal via the internet to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher.


Following a demonstration of a brain-to-brain communications between two rats and a human to a rat at the Duke University, UW announced that researcher Rajesh Rao used Electroencephalography or EEG - routinely used to record brain activity non-invasively from the scalp - to play a computer game with his mind.


Andrea Stocco, another researcher at campus wore a magnetic stimulation coil where her right finger moved involuntarily to 'hit' fire button as part of the world's 1st brain-to-brain interface - the thought that was originally transmitted by Rau.





The share of Indian immigrants among all foreign-born in the U.S. has increased from less than 0.5 percent in 1960 to almost 5 percent in 2011, according to a new study by the Migration Policy Institute. 1.86 million Indian immigrants living in the US represented the third-largest immigrant group by country of origin behind Mexico and China.


Immigrants from India are better educated, more likely to have strong English language skills and arrive on employment-based visas, and are less likely to live below the federal poverty line than the overall foreign-born population. They are also more concentrated in working ages than immigrants overall and India-born men outnumber India-born women.


In 2012, more than 66,000 India-born immigrants were granted U.S. legal permanent residency status. There were 42,928 who were naturalized, representing about 6 percent of the 757,434 new U.S. citizens that year.


According to the Institute of International Education, students from India account for 13 percent (100,270) of the 764,495 international students studying at U.S. institutions of higher learning.





Punjab is to be the first state in India to introduce an interactive website that will be launched at May end and will address grievances and other issues pertaining to the Punjabi Diaspora living in many countries of the world.


Bikram Singh Majithia, NRI Affairs Minister presided over a meeting of the NRIs Department and directed its delegates to launch the website as per the decision taken during the January Non Resident Punjabis Sammelan. Minister Majithia also stressed the need to ensure prompt responses to requests from Punjabi NRIs and emphasized the need of the website to include the provision of live chat on the site.


He also suggested various other online facilities that are all conceived to join with NRIs for the progress of Punjab's glorious heritage, culture and progress.


The Punjab government has also decided to offer special privilege card to all NRIs of Punjabi origin, entitling them to discounts at different shops, malls, hotels, restaurants and jeweler shops. It can be used for reservation of NRI wards in educational institutions that offer a quota in admissions. The card holder will also get preferential treatment at various reputed hospitals, schools and commercial establishments. In government offices one can show the card and be given privilege treatment.


Over 50,000 NRIs are registered with the state.


The government has also set up an Investment Cell to encourage NRIs to invest in economic and social sectors by notifying a single-window committee for grant of approvals.




New Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan has opened the door wide to dollars from NRIs and foreign borrowings by banks, by subsidizing the cost of using these funds locally.


At present, banks do not go all out to raise non-resident deposits because to use them locally, they have to swap them into rupees. A swap enables a bank to get back the same quantity of dollars to repay when the deposit matures even if the rupee has depreciated since then. Typically FOREX swaps cost around 7%, which increases the cost of a dollar deposit equivalent to 12.73%. The RBI has offered to provide swaps at 3.5%, making them very attractive for banks.


The governor also reversed some of the capital controls, promised new bank licenses by January and hinted at reversing some liquidity tightening measures. The RBI partially reversed an earlier decision allowing companies to take over foreign businesses up to four times their net worth if funds came by way of external commercial borrowings.




Improved job scenario and better pay in India has seen a rapid decline in the number of workers from South India leaving for employment to the Gulf since the last five years. According to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs from 2008, when 88,389 workers qualified below matriculation left for the Gulf, the figure fell sharply to 21,129 in 2012.


The major decline was in 2009, when only 43,174 persons went abroad, which further went down to 15,571 in 2010. Though there was an increase in 2011 with 24,585, the following year it slipped to 21,129 persons.


Explaining the decline, D Jai Sankar from Protector of Emigrants (PoE) said, "The decline in number means that the job scenario is improving here for them, and they are satisfied with payments here. This could also mean people are not ready to go abroad for lesser pay and could land in a job of their choice here."




People from Kerala living outside India can get themselves registered online for a Diaspora survey. The NORKA (Non-resident Keralite Affairs Department) is the nodal agency entrusted to do the state-wide survey. The state government has allocated Rs.1.95 crore to NORKA for the survey. The survey will have no questions on the financial aspect of migrants, like remittances received and other such details.


Close to 2.5 million people from Kerala are living outside India, most of them in the Middle East. You can register by visiting the websites or for taking part in the survey.




Nearly 6,000 Indian workers have secured full-time employment in Saudi Arabia since an amnesty was announced on April 6 which enabled workers staying illegally to regularize their residency. The Saudi government extended an amnesty for foreign workers to obtain legal status in the country till November 3.


Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, Indian consul general in Jeddah, said the diplomatic mission helped 10,000 Indians to correct their status, either by transferring sponsorship, renewing residence permits or changing professions.


The consul general said 95 percent of the workers got hired in contracting and technological sectors, while around five percent were absorbed by engineering, accounting and hotel sectors.




Dallas-based Dr Anis Ansari has created a unique quilt depicting the US national flag which has the signatures of governors of all 50 American states and former President George W Bush, making it the only Stars and Stripes of its kind.


"This Patriotic Flag Quilt came about as a medium to portray my feelings after the horrific incident of September 11, 2001. It was emotionally overwhelming to see that everyone in their own way was expressing their feelings of patriotism," he told PTI. 


Ansari embarked upon this unique project of collecting signatures of governors of all the 50 states of the US, beginning with Governor Rick Perry of Texas. 


A practicing physician in Dallas, Ansari, an eminent Indian American community member, is now planning to donate this quilt to the Pentagon. 



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:


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Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO Intl. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editor: Nami Kaur, Secretary, GOPIO International (New York, USA)

Co-Editors: Bina Mahabir (Co-Chair GOPIO Media Council, Guyana-New York, USA), Nilofar Pardawala (Portland, Oregon, USA) and Kishor Kapitan (GOPIO Durban, South Africa)

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

Contributors of this issue: Umesh Chandra (International Coordinator, Oceanic Region), Dr. Suman Kapoor (Chairperson, GOPIO International Women's Council, New Zealand), Munish Gupta (GOPIO International Coordinator for Africa, New Delhi, India), Shailesh Naik (President, GOPIO-CT, USA), Dr. Renu Misra (GOPIO National Coordinator for USA, Washington, DC), Sangeeta Ahuja (GOPIO Health Council Chair, Stamford, CT, USA), Jay Bhandari (President, GOPIO-Virginia) 

Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail:


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