GOPIO Color Logo
December 12, 2009
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Issue: VIII-13 December 12, 2009
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
In This Issue
Quick Links

NOTE: GOPIO News is a FREE bi-monthly newsletter of GOPIO International, based in the USA. We need your help in reaching out more NRIs/PIOs around the world. Please go to the bottom of the news bulletin and click the FORWARD button and type e-mail addresses of your friends and relatives. One could also subscribe this newsletter by visiting and type in the e-mail address. All preivous issues of GOPIO News are provided at GOPIO News Archives. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter in future, please click SafeUnsubscribe at the end of this newsletter.


Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International)







January 6, 2010

Venue:  Habitat Centre, Lodi Estate, New Delhi


In Conjunction With



Tentative Program


Wednesday, January 6th, 2010


9:00 AM                       Registration

                                    Jaswant Mody, USA (Co-Chair, GOPIO Cultural Council)

9:15 AM                  GOPIO Country Reports 

Chaired by Lord Diljit Rana, President, GOPIO International (UK)

North America - Dr. Piyush Agrawal, Regional Vice President, GOPIO Intl (USA)

Middle East - Sunny Kulathakal, Int'l Coordinator, GOPIO Intl (Bahrain)

Pacific/Oceania - Harish Bajaj, QSO, JP, Vice President, GOPIO Intl. (New Zealand)

Europe - Raj Loomba, Regional Vice President, GOPIO Intl (UK) 

South Asia- K. N. Gupta, President GOPIO-India

Kenya- Dr. Markandey Rai, Nairobi, Kenya

Australia- Umesh Chandra, Australia

Council Reports: Dr Mohan Gautam, Academic Council (Netherlands); Munish Gupta, Media Council (India-USA); Lady Shruti Rana, Women's Council (UK);


   9.45 AM                    GOPIO General Council Meeting

                             Chaired by Inder Singh, Chairman, GOPIO Int'l


 10:30 AM                    Tea Break


  10:45 AM                   Conference Inauguration


   11:00 AM             Session I

                     India's Emerging Economy and The Diaspora


Chair:                           Dr. Thomas Abraham (former Chairman, GOPIO International

Co-Chair:                     Deo Gosine (Co-Chairman, GOPIO Business Council, Trinidad &USA)

Keynote Speaker:        Lord Meghnad Desai (House of Lords, UK)

Speakers:        Asha Luthra, President, Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (ICCC Canada)

                        Datuk Vinod Shekhar (Chairman, The Petra Group, Malaysia)                

Dr George Abraham (USA) - Medical Emergency and Disaster Management in   India - What Diaspora can do to help?

Mahyendrah Utchana (GOPIO Mauritius)



Note of Thanks:            Sunny Kulathakal (UAE), Int'l Coordinator, GOPIO Intl.


12:30 PM                      Lunch


  1:30 PM                      Session II

                             Family Issues in the Global Indian Diaspora


Chair:                    Lady Shruti Rana (UK), Chairperson GOPIO Women Council

Co-Chair:                   Prof Chandershekhar Bhat (Hyderabad, India)

Keynote Speaker:        Lord Navneet Dholakia (House of Lords, UK)

Speakers:      Judge Ajit Swaran Singh (New Zealand)

Raj Loomba, CBE (UK)

Madhusudan Mehta (India), President NRI Parents Association

Drs. Parmatma and Rupam Saran (USA)

Pavit Mattewal, Attorney, Punjab

Anil Malhotra (India)


Note of Thanks:            Dr. Markandey Rai, Nairobi


3:00 PM                        Tea Break


  3:15 pm                       Session III

                             Enhancing Intra-Connectivity and Liaison

with the Global Indian Diaspora


Chair:               Prof. Mohan Gautam (Netherlands), Chairman, GOPIO Academic Council

Co-Chair:                     Umesh Chandra (Australia)

Keynote Speaker:        Lord Bhikhu Parekh (House of Lords, UK)

Speakers:        Dr. Leela Sarup (Mauritius)

                        Dr. Mani Bhaumik (USA) - Connectivity through Education and Philanthropy

Prof. Ram Roy, California, USA

J. C. Sharma (former Secretary, MEA, India)

Augustin Benoit (GOPIO France)



Note of Thanks:            Harish Bajaj, QSO, JP (New Zealand), GOPIO VP for Oceania


 4:45 PM                       Resolutions & Wrap-up

Chair:                        Dr. Piyush Agrawal (USA)


5:00 PM              CLOSING


7:00 PM  Reception, Entertainment and Awards Banquet


Presentation of GOPIO Community Service Awards

The Ashoka Hotel,  Diplomatic Enclave, 50 B, Chankyapuri, New Delhi  (Tel: 11-2611-0101)

Chief Guest: Honorable Vayalar Ravi, Minister, Overseas Indian Affairs

Guest of Honor: Hon Dr Lenny Saith, Minister in Office of Prime Minister, Trinidad & Tobago

Event Coordinator: Munish Gupta, Chair, GOPIO Media Council

Welcome: K. N. Gupta, Convention Chair, New Delhi

Welcome: Lord Diljit Rana, President, GOPIO International, UK

Greetings: Inder Singh, Chairman, GOPIO International, USA

Emcee: Ashook Ramsaran, Executive Vice President, GOPIO Int'l (USA)

Book Releases

Recognition of Sponsors -Dr. Mani Bhaumik (USA) and Birjinder Sodhi (Germany)

Vote of Thanks: Mr Munish Gupta (PIO-TV, India)


Conference Registration

GOPIO Convention Registration Fee: Rs. 1,500. Prior registration is recommended as total registration will be limited to 150 delegates. Limited number of Jan. 6th banquet only registration available at Rs. 1,000 per person.


To register, send an E-mail to GOPIO Executive Vice President Ashook Ramsaran at or call him at 718-353-1900. Last minute, on site registration only if available.


The conference in New Delhi is coordinated by Conference Chair K.N. Gupta, President, GOPIO-India, Tel: (91) 11-4164-2066/9811131588, e-mail:


Hotel Arrangements


PBD approved hotels are listed at with rates ranging from Rs 2525 for YMCA Tourist Hostel  room to Rs 9450 for Maurya Hotel. 


Room Rates at The Ashoka Hotel are given below:

Single/ Double Room: US$ 200, Club Single/Double Room: US$ 225,   Suite: US$ 275  Aprox.

The rate is inclusive of luxury tax, service charge and breakfast in the coffee shop, plus Free Wi-Fi connectivity in all rooms.

Location:  Diplomatic Enclave, 50 B, Chankyapuri, New Delhi - 110021

Tel No -    + 91 11 2611 0101, Fax No -   + 91 11 2611 4401,

Email -   Website -

Contact: Seema Dogra, Reservations Manager

 Airport transfer would cost of Rs. 750/- per transfer per car.

For more information on GOPIO Convention 2010, please contact: GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh in USA at 818-708-3885, E-mail: or GOPIO President Lord Diljit Rana at or  Munish Gupta, Chairman, GOPIO Media Council 098-1863-1588 or E-mail at


The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) in partnership with the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is organizing the 8th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention (PBD 2010) from 7th - 9th January 2010 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is the annual flagship event of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) which aims to connect more 25 Million Indians with India's Economic and Social development. The event will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Hon Dr. Manmohan Singh, and President Hon Pratibha Patil will address the concluding session of the three-day gathering of PIOs and NRIs from all regions of the global Indian Diaspora.

 PBD-2010 will also witness the launch of an annual Lecture series under the theme of 'India and its Diaspora: Everlasting Bonds of Togetherness'. 

Tentative PBD 2010 program to include as follows:

         Inaugural session with the Prime Minister of India

Plenary Sessions

         Interaction with Union Ministers

         Interaction with PIO Ministers

         Interaction with State Chief Ministers

Concurrent Sessions on

         Returning to 9% Growth: Diaspora Connect

         Thousands of Fireflies: Diaspora Philanthropy

         Gender Issues

         State Sessions

         Valedictory Session with the President of India

         Conferment of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards by the President of India

         Cultural Programmes & Dinner

Other Attractions to include:

Pravasi Golf Tournament

Seminar on Nano Technology

Seminar on Property-related issues of NRIs/


Visit PBD website at for registration & other details.


The Government of India, as a result of wider consultations held at past PBD events, have established Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre, conceptualized PIO University, formed Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council of People of Indian Origin, set up the India Development Foundation, enabled professionals holding Overseas Citizens of India cards to practice in India, launched the Global Indian Network of Knowledge (Global-INK) and the issued smart cards for Indian workers working abroad.


GOPIO Conference attendees can register separately at a discounted rate of $100. Please visit



Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) - 2010

Seminar on "Nanotechnology"

7 January 2010, 1000 Hrs, Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi


Theme : Harnessing Nano Business : Diaspora Collaboration


Nanotechnology is a manufacturing technology that will make most products appropriately lighter, stronger, cleaner, less expensive and more precise. It is a new frontier technology.  Emerging trends of nanotechnology in areas like information technology, bio-technology, health care, environmental solutions, automobiles and electronics are expected to dominate the future. Benefits derived out of this technology would include provision of clean water, greater agricultural production, cheap energy, clean environment, better diagnostics, drugs and organs replacements, greater information processing and storage, and reduced labour.

'Current Trends in Nano -Technology,' 'Strategizing Nano - Technology' and the role of NRIs and PIOs in Research & Development in nanotechnology would be discussed at the Seminar.


Tentative Programme Schedule


1000 - 1120 Hrs

Current trends in NanoTechnology R & D

Remarks by Session Chairman

Speakers - To be announced

1120 - 1135 

Coffee Break

1135 - 1300 Hrs

Session on strategizing NanoTechnology

Remarks by Session Chairman

Speakers - To be announced

1300 - 1400 Hrs


1400 1600 Hrs

B2B Match making

1600 - 1630 Hrs

Concluding remarks

Nanotechnology session was proposed by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO, a leading nanotechnology industry and market analyst and President of Innovative Research and Products, Inc. (, Stamford, CT, USA).



GOPIO had taken up this issue since January 2008 at the GOPIO Convention held in New Delhi and sensitized the Government of India since then. GOPIO will be making an official presentation on this issue at the seminar.


Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi
7th January 2010 (1000 to 1300 hrs)    

(Tentative program as it appears in PBD website,

1000-1003 hrs

Welcome address by Secretary, MOIA

1003- 1008 hrs

Introductory remarks by Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs

1008-1018 hrs

Address by Justice A R. Lakshmanan, former Chairman, Law Commission of India

1018-1028 hrs

 Address by Justice A.M.Ebrahim, Retired Judge of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe (t.b.c ) 

1028-1038 hrs

Presentation on the legal aspects of property owning/tenancy in India by Prof Bimal. N.Patel,Vice Chancellor, Gujarat National Law University

1038-1048 hrs

Presentation on concerns of the overseas Indians on property related issues by  Shri Manmohan Maheshwari, GOPIO International

1048-1058 hrs

Case Study: Presentation by  Ms Susheela Verma

1058-1120 hrs

Tea break

1120-1130 hrs

Presentation by Shri Harshvardhan Neotia, Chairman, CII National Committee on Real Estate and Housing (t.b.c.)

1130-1140 hrs

Presentation by Shri Rohtas Goel, President, National Real Estate Development Council

1140-1150 hrs

Presentation by  Shri Kumar Gera, Chairman, Confederations of Real Estate Developer's Association of India

1150-1240 hrs

Interaction with the audience by Senior  police and land revenue officials from the states  and Central government officials responding to questions/queries.

1240- 1250 hrs

Address by Smt Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs

1250-1300 hrs

Concluding remarks by Minister for Overseas Indian Affai


GOPIO invites feed back from NRIs/PIOs who have had real estate issues in India. Please send your comments to Dr.. Subash Sharma, Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Economics, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901, Tel: 618-453-5082, E-mail: or Mr. Manmohan Maheshwari at






At the conclusion of his state visit to Washington DC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited people of Indian origin abroad to take advantage of modern technology and flexible policies to build a "true intellectual and business partnership" between Indians and Americans.


"India is on the march," he told a gathering of the Indian American community at a reception hosted by the Indian Ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar, at the end of what he described as "a fruitful and most stimulating visit".


"While the global slowdown has hurt us too, we have been able to catch our breath and move forward," Manmohan Singh said, noting: "With a gross savings ratio of over 35 percent of national income, and a gross investment ratio that is almost close to 40 percent, we now have the economic pre-conditions for sustained high growth".


But "growth brings with it new challenges and new opportunities", he said, underlining India's need for investment in education and health care to build better systems in these spheres, besides modern infrastructure, Manmohan Singh said.


"More than the resources, however, we will require imagination and innovation to succeed," the prime minister said, suggesting: "People of Indian origin worldwide can contribute mightily to this effort".


Noting that in the past few years India had already experienced what has been called a "reverse brain-drain" but which he preferred to call "brain gain" or, indeed, "a meeting of minds", he said India had tried to encourage this flow by making it easier for Indian and American scholars, scientists, business leaders and other professionals to work together.


Acknowledging the contribution a dynamic and creative community of Indian Americans to India's progress and modernisation, he invited all Indian Americans and non-resident Indians who wish to return home to India in one capacity or another.


"You no longer have to make a choice between here and there. Modern technology and our flexible policies have opened possibilities of working in both places," he said. "I want to see a true intellectual and business partnership between Indians and Americans in years to come."


Appreciating the enterprise and contribution to knowledge and commerce with which "you have given the land of your ancestors a new identity in the new world", Manmohan Singh hoped that"you will be the bridge that will continue to connect our two nations and societies".




After visiting Washington, DC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh began his three-day visit to the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago with a call to nearly a million persons of Indian origin in this region to be "active partners" in "a new India" and lauded overseas Indians for promoting Brand India. PM Singh came to Port of Spain to attend the 53-nation Commonwealth Summit. Trinidad and Tobago is home to around 500,000-strong Indian Diaspora who comprise 42 per cent of 1.3 million population.

"Today's India is on the move, just as the people of Indian origin are on the move. India is reaching out to the world with confidence and in a spirit of live and let live," Manmohan Singh told over 400 people at a reception organized in his honor at the grand Crowne Plaza hotel on November 26th.

"In reaching out to People of Indian Origin, we are also reaching out to the world. You are, for millions of Indians, the most visible symbol of our own globalization," he said to ringing applause from Indo-Trinidadians who had gathered in large numbers. Lauding PIOs, with many them living in the Caribbean nation here for four generations, Manmohan Singh invited them to use new investment and business opportunities that India offers and asked them to proactively shape a new India.

"I invite you to be active partners of a new India and walk with us in finding new pathways of development and progress. I invite you to feel the love and affection of Mother India and feel the warmth of her embrace," he said.

Manmohan Singh showered praise on the PIOs for taking the lead in creating knowledge economy that has raised its global profile. "It is often said that the 21st century will be the knowledge century. Overseas Indians have played an extremely important role in global brand building in this respect," he said.

"If India is today viewed as a "knowledge economy" it is because of the reputation that people of Indian origin worldwide having earned through their creativity and diligence," he stressed.






Representatives of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) met with officials of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain on Thursday, October 29, 2009, to discuss matters of interest and concern to GOPIO TnT Chapter and its membership as well as to GOPIO International. GOPIO International Executive Vice President Ashook Ramsaran and GOPIO TnT Chapter President Deosaran Bisnath held three separate meetings with TnT Prime Minister Patrick Manning, TnT President Dr Maxwell Richards and TnT Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr. Lenny Saith. Ramsaran and Bisnath were accompanied by GOPIO TnT Chapter Public Relations Officer Ena Maraj.


The meetings were very constructive and productive as the topics of discussion covered matters ranging from support for GOPIO TnT Chapter community activities such as seminars on alcoholism and education, the alarming crime rates, and GOPIO TnT Chapter's input and recommendations for panelists on the Integrity Commission, the Equal Opportunity Commission, the Equal Opportunity Tribunal as well as appointments to state boards and commissions. Also discussed was the proposal being made by GOPIO to the Government of India's Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) for a regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to be held in Port of Spain, Trinidad in 2010.


Contact: GOPIOTT President Deosaran Bisnath at 687-7529, 662-7159 or email


Ohoto below L. to R. -  GOPIO Int'l Exec Vice President Ashook Ramsaran, PM Patrick Manning, GOPIO TnT Chapter President Deosaran Bisnath
TRinidad PM meets GOPIO officials 
Photo above - GOPIO Medical Camp in New Jersey - Particiapting doctors with officials and volunteers of GOPIO-Central Jersey and Rotary Club of Plainsboro



GOPIO-Central Jersey and Rotary Club of Plainsboro, New Jersey (RCPNJ) conducted a free health camp at Durga Mandir in South Brunswick, NJ on Saturday, November 07, 2009. A panel of 14 doctors from different disciplines volunteered their time to provide services for about 200 visitors who came for a free medical check up. Talking to one such visitor, we found that he had brought his family from Connecticut just to get them checked. During this time when heavy debate is going on healthcare reforms, it's obvious that there are many individuals and families still living without adequate health coverage.


Accurate Diagnostic Labs provided free coupons for the blood tests. Volunteers from the South Asian Total Initiative (SATHI) conducted a survey and provided valuable health information for all the visitors who came for their medical checkup. All members of GOPIO Central Jersey and RCPNJ members participated in the event and some of the members' spouses also contributed their time for the event.


Dr. Rajeev Mehta (President of GOPIO of Central Jersey) and Mr. Darshan Doshi (President of RCPNJ) have decided that they will make the joint medical camp an annual event.


Contact Dr. Rajeev Mehta,,




Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi visited several cities in the US to promote Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Several community meetings were held in all the cities he visited. These included Chicago, Denver, Houston, Washington, DC and New York.


Minister Ravi briefed the community on the initiatives has taken in the ministry and invited the NRIs and PIOs to the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held in New Delhi from January 7th to 9th.


GOPIO members met Minister Ravi in different cities including at a reception at the Indian Consulate.

Photo below L. to R. - GOPIO members with Minister Vayalar Ravi at the Indian Consualte reception. From L. to R.: Paul Mathai, Raju M. Varghese, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Minsiter Ravi, Sangeeta Ahuja, Paul Ahuja and Anand Ahuja Esq.

Minister Vayalar Ravi meets GOPIO officials

Photo above: GOPIO-Metrao Washington DC with Minsiter Ravi. From L. to R. - Dr. Renuka Misra, Dr. Gopal Bhatnagar, Minister Ravi and Dr. Zafar Iqbal



A delegation of GOPIO-Metro Washington, DC consisting of Dr. Renuka Misra (President), Dr. Zafar Iqbal (Secretary), and Dr. Gopal Bhatnagar (Member, Board of Directors) met Minister Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) on Wednesday, the 11th November 2009 at the Willard Hotel in Washington. Minister Ravi reiterated his commitment to helping the NRIs in their effort to achieving appropriate facilities in India.  In response to a question concerning recent difficulties encountered at International Airports in India by NRIs holding OCI cards, Mr. Ravi said that the ministry was trying to resolve this issue. He suggested that meanwhile OCI card holders should also carry the passport that has the visa along with the OCI card.  He also informed the delegation that his ministry was working with the Ministry of Tourism regarding charging NRIs hotel tariff and admission to the various historical monuments at the same rate as local citizens.

Minister Ravi invited GOPIO delegation members to attend the forthcoming Pravasi Bharati Diwas (PBD) scheduled in Delhi during January 7-9, 2010. He briefly outlined two new programs the MOIA was promoting at the PBD. He informed that the India Development Foundation (IDF), a 'not-for-profit trust' will serve as a credible single window to lead Diaspora philanthropic capital into India's social development. Similarly, the Global Indian Network of Knowledge (Global-INK), a robust electronic platform will facilitate transfer of knowledge with the objective of leveraging the expertise, skills and experience of overseas Indians.

The day concluded with a reception-dinner in honor of the minister hosted by the Deputy Chief of the Indian Embassy A. K. Singh, where more than 100 community members participated.



GOPIO Houston, a chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin was inaugurated on November 20 in the presence of Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Indian Consul General Sanjiv Arora at the India House, Houston. Meenakshi Kannappan received the Lt. Governor with rose flowers. Lt. Governor smiled and said I will give these roses to my wife. Kriti Patel presented rose flowers to Consul General Arora and his wife Chayya Arora.


The event at India House was well attended by dignitaries including Consul General of Germany Roland Hermann and Consul General of Canada David McGregor, Mayor Tom Reid of Pearland, Sugar Land Councilman Thomas Abraham, University of Houston Systems President and Chancellor Dr. Renu Khator, Dr. Suresh Khator, Dr. Kamlesh Lulla, Assistant Director at NASA JSC, International Festival Chairman Robert Sakowitz, and several Leaders of Indo American Organizations.


The Lt. Governor and Consul General unveiled the GOPIO Houston banner and lighted the lamp at this auspicious occasion. GOPIO Houston President Sam Kannappan called this a historic event for the Indo Americans of Greater Houston. He declared this GOPIO chapter will link Houston to the global Indian Diaspora community. Chad Patel Introduced Lieutenant Governor. In his speech Lt. Governor lauded the success of Indo Americans and their contribution to Texas and wished great success to the newly inaugurated chapter. Koshy Thomas and Sam Kannappan gave the Lieutenant Governor a memento to mark the occasion.


Mahesh Shah introduced the Consul General of India. Consul General congratulated the executive committee and members of GOPIO Houston for inaugurating the Houston chapter. He mentioned that the visit by Secretary Mohan Das of Overseas Ministry and GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham in March 2009 started the task of the chapter formation.


A brief presentation by the Vice President Chad Patel high lighted GOPIO Houston's two major focus areas, Global Indian Network of Knowledge and Global Indian Network of Youth. Once the website of Global INK, which is scheduled to be launched in January 2010 by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, the chapter intends to move forward in help building a strong database of Indian professionals and intellectuals for advancement and development of NRIs/PIOs and that of India.


Volunteers Vaishali Ghodake and Abirami Kannappan were at the reception table.  Public Relations Committee Chair, Sam Merchant proposed vote of thanks. Grand sponsor was Brij Agrawal. KBR, ABI Enterprises, Inc, Omar Saeed of MetLife, Reliance Business Solutions and Hasu Patel sponsored the event.


The GOPIO Houston Chapter aims to put Houston on the map of global cities with a strong, vibrant community of People of Indian Origin (PIOs).  In doing so, they aim to strengthen ties with one another in Houston, in USA, in India and around the world.


GOPIO Houston has set several community events in motion. It conducted a seminar on PIO and OCI card schemes on Sunday December 6th at India House. Indian Deputed Consul N.K. Ghai was the speaker. A seminar on NRI taxation bill in Indian Parliament will be conducted by Ajit Thakur and Devesh Pathak on January 17 at Madras Pavilion, Sugar Land. Also, planned is PIO youth programs to foster collaborative forums for dialogue and exchanges among PIOs youth. Community service programs pertaining to the issues of PIOs youth will also be planned.


Membership to the GOPIO Houston Chapter is available at $100 per year. Membership benefits include the opportunity to network with professionals and experts in various fields, and partake in various projects the Chapter will launch in the coming months and an opportunity to give back to the country of one's origin.


Photo below: GOPIO Houstoin inauguration. Below left - GOPIO Executive Committee with Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Consul General Sanjiv Arora. Below right - GOPIO Houston President Sam Kannappan (left) and GOPIO-Houston Advisor Koshy Thomas present memento to Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst.

GOPIO Houston inaugurated and Yesu Persaud honored  
Photo above: GOPIO Guyana Chairman Yesu Persaud received honorary doctorate from University of West Indies.



GOPIO founding life member and current GOPIO of Guyana Chairman Yesu Persaud was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree by the University of West Indies at the St Augustine campus in Trinidad on October 30, 2009. This recognition of life time achievement follows a similar recognition by Warwick University in the United Kingdom a year ago.


Yesu, as he is commonly known, is a man of enormous qualifications and experience and a genuine philanthropist. Three years ago he received the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from Government of India. Yesu also made an important contribution to the restoration of democracy in Guyana and has played a significant role in Indo-Guyanese cultural renaissance via the celebration of Indian Arrival Day. Yesu is an ardent advocate of Indian causes, and as several publications noted he is a major contributor to charities and enterprises that bring needed benefits to Indians in Guyana through the annual Arrival Day celebrations and other cultural and religious activities. He actively promotes Indian heritage and culture


Leonard Gildarie wrote of Yesu: "Broadly speaking, Yesu, with his pioneering role in reshaping the economic destiny of Guyana, proved himself to be the economic messiah of his country. The direction that he provided to the economy of his country has, in fact, paved the way for the multi-dimensional development of the whole Caribbean region. This is what makes Yesu a distinct personality among the diasporic community." As the PIO Magazine noted, Yesu has left a lasting handprint on the landscape of Guyana".


Delivery the special keynote address upon receiving the honorary doctorate of laws award, Yesu Persaud remarked "how special and more meaningful this recognition is to me because it is close to home".




GOPIO-CT organized a series of program in November/December. On November 13th, the chapter organized a program, "Meet and Greet Retired Indian Navy Commander Vijay Kapil", who served the Navy as a Deep Sea Diver and retired after a glorious service. Commander Kapil was honored by the President of India with Veer Chakra award for his bravery and accomplishment in the 1971 war with Pakistan which created Bangladesh. The program organized at the Hampton Inn in Stamford included a cocktail and dinner.


Photo below: GOPIO-CT officials with Commander Vijay Kapil. From L. to R. - Ravi Dhingra, Viresh Sharma, Shelli Nichani, Louella D'Silva, Shailesh Naik, Sangeeta Ahuja, Commander Vijay Kapil, Paul ahuja, Sara Tierno, Meera Banta, Varghese Ninan, Anita Bhat and Dr. Thomas Abraham

Commander Vijay Kapil and Shanti Hiranand with GOPIO officials
Photo above: Gazal singer and her troupe with GOPIO-CT organizers. From L. to R.: Vinay Mishra, Paul Ahuja, Sangeeta Ahuja, Shanti Hiranand, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Ghanshyam Sisodiya, Manoj Nagar, Prakash Thakur and Ravi Dhingra.

On December 5th, GOPIO-CT organized an evening ghazals by Padmashri Shanti Hiranand and her troupe to a sold out crowd. Born in Lucknow, Padmashri Shanti Hiranand is a renowned vocalist who received her early training from Ustad Aijaz Khan of Rampur. She met her guru and mentor Begum Akhtar in 1957, and received training from her in the traditional forms of thumri, dadra and ghazal singing. The program included a dinner at Shellis's on the River in Stamford.


Over a dozen GOPIO-CT officers and members were invited to the Swearing In Ceremony for Stamford's new mayor Mike Pavia on December 1st at the Stamford City Hall.




President Obama last month nominated Dr Rajiv Shah as administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Dr. Shah, who currently serves as Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist at the US Department of Agriculture, will take his new job after he is confirmed by the Senate, a step that is expected to happen quickly. With a budget of over $40 billion and nearly 2000 employees, USAID is an independent federal agency that is responsible for most US non-military foreign aid, virtually the developmental face of Uncle Sam.

"The mission of USAID is to advance America's interests by strengthening our relationships abroad. Rajiv brings fresh ideas and the dedication and impressive background necessary to help guide USAID as it works to achieve this important goal," President Obama said while announcing Shah's nomination.

Shah, a graduate of University of Michigan, earned his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and his Master of Science in health economics at the Wharton School of Business. He also attended the London School of Economics before becoming a policy wonk, variously working at the World Health Organization, advising the Gore 2000 presidential campaign on health care policy, and most recently, before joining the Obama administration, serving as Director for Agricultural Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and Israel are among the biggest recipients of USAID dollars and Pakistan is soon expected to join the top ranks since much of the US non-military assistance to Islamabad is expected to be sent through USAID. As of September 2009, the USAID said it had contributed more than $ 170 million in assistance to conflict-affected population in Pakistan. India, which at one time got around $ 160 million in USAID funds, has gradually weaned itself off US dole, preferring trade and business opportunities.



At a gala event held on November 30, 2009 at the Dorchester Hotel in London, the 22nd Edition of Asia's Who International was released with a prestigious gathering in attendance. These included several members of the House of Lords, Members of Parliament, CBEs, MBEs and other notables among the PIOs and NRIs in the United Kingdom. Asia's Who International founder and publisher Jasbir Sachar welcome everyone and spoke of "the history and success of this remarkable publication" and that it is a reflection of the continuing support of everyone. He also stated that Asia's Who International is beginning to include international listings. He also noted that GOPIO has been and continues to be a prominent supporter of Asia's Who International, including honorary consultants in attendance: GOPIO Int'l President Lord Diljit Rana (Belfast, UK) and GOPIO Int'l Exec Vice President Ashook Ramsaran (New York, USA). GOPIO Regional Vice President Raj Loomba CBE formally released the 22nd Edition of Asia's Who International.


For more details, contact Jasbir Sachar at




Faced with the prospect of litigating a marital dispute or child custody case in foreign courts, NRI mothers mostly prefer to return home and seek legal protection from sympathetic domestic courts. Virtually closing the door on this practice, the Supreme Court has ruled that Indian courts cannot settle disputes of NRI couples pending in foreign courts.


So, a four-and-a-half year old girl will now have to travel back to the UK with her NRI mother to appear before the country's High Court of Justice, Family Division, which had on November 26 last year directed the child to be returned to its jurisdiction to decide a custody dispute raised by the girl's father, Aviral Mittal.


Aviral, who has been working in the UK since November 2000, married Shilpa on November 4, 2003. A girl was born to them on February 20, 2006 in the UK. She acquired British citizenship despite her parents continuing to hold Indian passports.


When the marriage turned sour, Shilpa returned to India on September 12, 2008. Aviral then moved court in the UK, pleading that the child be made a ward of the court. The court, on November 26, 2008, directed Shilpa to return the child to the UK court's jurisdiction.


Aviral's father, through counsel P Jouhar, moved the Delhi High Court on December 4 seeking custody of his granddaughter. After a failed mediation attempt, the HC on August 7 this year directed Shilpa to take the child back to UK and join proceedings before the courts there within 14 days.


Shilpa challenged the order in the Supreme Court. Agreeing with the HC's ruling, an apex court bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph said the UK HC had said nothing except insisting that the minor be returned to its jurisdiction for a decision on her right of custody.


The decision has to be left to the British courts, keeping in mind the nationality of the child and the fact that both the parents had worked for gain in the UK and had also acquired permanent resident status there,'' the bench said, adding the British HC had not directed handing over of the child to the father.


It asked Shilpa to abide by the Delhi HC order but asked Aviral to submit a proposal about her travel plans and stay in the UK, at least for a month. Accordingly, he has submitted a plan saying Shilpa could stay at his three-bedroom house in Swindon, UK. If she was not willing to stay there, he agreed to pay for alternative accommodation and daily expenses. The case will come up for final hearing on December 15.




The Life-size bronze Statue of Mahatma Gandhi - A Gift from the Government of India, found a home in Bellevue Regional Library (Greater Seattle) WA. The grand unveiling ceremony took place in the lawns of Bellevue Regional Library -The Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Meera Shankar, Indian Consulate members along with U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, (clad in Nehru-style jacket) along with prominent dignitaries of Greater Seattle attended the event.


NFIA Director Anjali Sachdev, with the guidance and support of Subash Razdan, Past-president NFIA, Chairman Gandhi Foundation of US toiled with intricate negotiations with difficult parameters. Rubai Aurora, FIAWA Youth Advisor and youth volunteers Gauri Arora and Sonia Sarai, kept the audience engaged in interactive discussions of Gandhiji in our lives. Emcee Carol Mitchell, Talk-Show Host and Director of the Port of Tacom, was at her best. The program was organized under a tent, was filled up and overflowed with people.


Ambassador Mira Shankar in her address elaborated on three reasons why Gandhi's philosophy holds global relevance, "Using power of ideas and power of words to bring a colonized country to freedom by abjuring violence path was a revolutionary step. Second reason is his emphasis that means are as important as the end. The pursuit of end, no matter how noble, will distort the goal if the means are violent."


KCLS Director Bill Ptacek welcomed the gift from the Government of India while NFIA President, Chandu Patel expressed his gratitude to Ambassador Shankar and her team for making special effort to visit Seattle for the landmark event. NFIA and FIA's concerted effort to make this event happen. In echoing Gandhi's philosophy of peace and non violence, Patel spoke about the relevance of such ideals in this time.


Congressman Jim McDermott acknowledged and applauded NFIA's effort in creating a history by installing the monument of peace in Bellevue, urged the audience in Mahatma Gandhi's words "be the change you want to see" when he recalled that Anjali Sachdev, Director NFIA told him less than a year ago that NFIA would like to establish a Memorial for Mahatma Gandhi .


The six- hour long event included cultural events of bhajans, dances and bhangra  by young children who merrily tiptoed through wet grass and performed ignoring tormenting weather.

With "Raghupati Raghav" - the signature prayer- in the back ground, the statue was unveiled, a life-size bronze of Gandhiwith a staff in his right hand and sandals on his feet.


Acclaimed writer and film personality Girish Karnard in his speech spoke about the need for creating awareness of Gandhi's philosophy globally, especially where violence is an accepted way of life.


NFIA, KCLS and FIAWA acknowledged with plaques the contributions of Mr. Bill Stafford, President Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle and Mr. Subash Razdan, Chairman Gandhi Foundation of USA, and Anjali Sachdev, Director NFIA. Without their inspiration and support and hard work this memorial would not have become a reality




India sent over 103,000 students to the US in 2008-09, the maximum number from any country, a new survey said. At the same time, India became one of the favorite destinations of American students. According to the Open Doors 2009 survey by the Institute of International Education released Monday, India remains the leading place of origin for the eighth consecutive year, increasing by nine percent to 103,260.


Students from China increased 21 percent for a total of 98,510. South Korea, in third place, increased nine percent to 75,065. Canada, the only non-Asian country in the top five, rose to fourth place with an increase of two percent to 29,697, surpassing Japan, now in fifth place after students declined for the fourth consecutive year.


The number of international students at colleges and universities in the US increased by eight percent to an all-time high of 671,616 in the 2008-09 academic year.


This is the largest percentage increase in international student enrolments since 1980-81, and marks the third consecutive year of significant growth.


The Open Doors 2009 data reports on enrolments in academic year 2008-09 based on a comprehensive survey of approximately 3,000 accredited US higher education institutions of all types and sizes, regarding international students at all levels of study. According to the survey, universities in California hosted the largest number of foreign students with 93,124, up 10 percent, followed by New York with 74,934, up seven percent, and Texas with 58,188, up 12 percent.




After Diwali, the Obama White House for the first time celebrated Gurparab, Guru Nanak's birth anniversary, with about 125 Sikh men in colorful turbans and women in traditional Punjabi dress. President Barack Obama himself was not present, but senior officials led by Christina M. Tchen, head of the White House office of Public Engagement, welcomed the guests to the executive mansion.

"This is your White House and this first event is the just the beginning and it will be part of many gatherings of your community here. We want you to stay in contact with us," she was quoted as saying by the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE).

The program started with Sarabjit Singh, Granthi of a New York Gurudwara in Glen Cove in Long Island, offering prayers for Obama and his administration in addition the prayers for the well being of all humanity. Traditional kirtan with harmonium and tabla was performed by Ragi Nirmal Singh Nagpuri, and Sukhjeevan Singh of the Golden Temple, India, with a translation of the hymns. Two American Sikhs, Guru Sangat Singh and Gursangat Kaur, sang a song on Nanak in English.

Among senior Obama administration officials present was Kalpen Modi, an Indian-American actor and now associate director of the Public Engagement office. The official speeches were interspersed by a series of Sikh greetings "Jo Bole So Nihal" and thunderous response of "Sat Sri Akal" which means - "whoever hails the Timeless Being as true, is blessed".

Rajwant Singh, SCORE chairman, said: "This event is a tribute to all the pioneers of the Sikh community who worked hard to lay the foundation of our community in America.




Terming the street crime against Indians as "cowardly" and "despicable", a Victorian court on November 18th handed out long imprisonment sentences to attackers of an Indian origin doctor. Haikerwal State County Court Judge Joe Gullaci jailed 20-year old Alfer Azzopardi who bashed Mukesh Hairkerwal with serious blows with a baseball bat, for 18-and-a-half years with a minimum of 13-and-a-half years.

Former chief of Australian Medical Association Haikerwal was walking through a park in the bayside suburb of Williamstown on September 27 last year when he was set upon and bashed by the men.

Another co-accused Michael Baltatzis, 20, of Glenroy, who together with Azzopardi took part in 23 armed robberies over a two-month period, was jailed for 16-and-a-half years and must serve 10-and-a-half years before being eligible for parole.

A third man, Sean Gabriel, 20, of Hoppers Crossing, was jailed for nine years and nine months with a minimum of six years, report said.

Announcing the sentences, Judge Gullaci dubbed the attacks as cowardly and despicable. "Each of the victims was selected at random, but each had a common feature, that is they were vulnerable and alone and in parks or (other) public places," he was quoted by an AAP report.

Haikerwal was not in court for the sentences. The court was told Haikerwal's skull was heard to crack after Azzopardi took a swing like he was "hitting a six at cricket", causing a severe head injury to the doctor.

Azzopardi laughed as he fled the scene, before minutes later joining in on an attack on another man. Haikerwal required emergency surgery and was placed in an induced coma for 24 hours. He remained in hospital for many weeks.

The attack came towards the end of a two-month armed robbery spree by Azzopardi and the group that involved more than 30 victims. One of their victims was told: "If you scream or cry, I will kill you". Many of the targets were of Indian or Asian origin.



The "Discover India" event held on November 22, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona, USA included an initiative to promote awareness of Thalassesmia, a fatal genetic blood disorder in which the patient's body is not able to produce the all important and necessary red blood cells. The annual "Discover India" event features variety of activities from cultural presentations from various states, traditional Indian food, games to dance shows. Every year thousands of people attent and enjoy the gathering.


The intent is to bring about more awareness of Thalassesmia. There are so many people especially Indians who are affected with this disorder and the objective is to provide more information about the disorder and simple procedures to prevent this from spreading. Those who are afflicted with the Thalassesmia disorder are dependent upon monthly blood transfusions which add toxic iron overload in the body that seriously impact the functions of key organs like liver, heart and kidneys. There are established protocols to extract the excess iron from the body which are painful and very expensive.


Prominent among those who made this initiative is current Thalassesmia patient Siddhant Talwar who lives with his family in Phoenix. He obtained valuable informational materials, brochures and hand-outs from Oakland Children's Hospital in California as well as The Cooley's Anemia Foundation of New York. A nursing coordinator from Phoenix Children's Hospital also participated in the event for the day. Siddhant Talwar remarked that "it was quite an informative and busy day as we were able to have discussions about the disorder with many individuals and families. We provided handouts and materials to those who visited the table top display and made inquiries". Talwar further stated with a sense of satisfaction that, "many doctors and physicians came to our table to compliment us for the good work we are doing".


The Talwar family plans on starting a non-profit organization to promote increased awareness of Thalassesmia and to provide guidance towards increasing value of life in youth suffering with Thalassesmia.  The objective is also to assist patients suffering from the disorder across India by sharing best and latest available practices in the west to treat the Thalassesmia disorder. For more information, contact Siddhant Talwar c/o Vijay Talwar at eMail:




At least 37,000 emigrants from Kerala have lost jobs overseas because of the global recession, says a report released Tuesday by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), a Thiruvananthapuram based think tank. The study, titled "Impact of Global Recession on Kerala Emigrants: Unemployment, Return Migration and Remittances", was conducted by demographers K.C. Zachariah and S. Irudaya Rajan and funded by the state government's Non-resident Keralites Affairs Department.

Zachariah, while presenting the findings of the study, said most non-resident Malayalees returned for reasons not related to recession.


"We estimate that the number of emigrants who returned due to recession would at most be 63,000. This number could be as small as 37,000 also," the study noted.

About 173,000 emigrants from Kerala returned home between October 2008 and June 2009. Interestingly, 142,000 new emigrants reached Middle East on employment visas apart from another 97,000 people who had worked in the region earlier and again got jobs in the Gulf on fresh employment visas.


The report said 53 percent of unemployed emigrants are from the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia accounts for about 14 percent, Kuwait 6 percent, and Oman and Bahrain account for 4 percent each.


Irudayarajan said cash remittances to the state rose seven percent during the period under study. "This is quite an unexpected result. Recession is supposed to decrease remittances, not increase it," he told IANS. According to Irudayarajan, remittances could have increased as some emigrants were returning home permanently bringing with them all their accumulated wealth.




Foreign funds are flowing into India and China as also into some of the other emerging market economies as they have been among the few star performers when the global economy is struggling to emerge out of the meltdown.    


With the Indian economy on a long-term growth curve, non-resident Indians (NRIs) can look at multiple investment options available to them to park their funds in their home country. Compared with the returns they may generate by investing in the US or European countries, the takings from India will be considerably higher.  

Investment options available to NRIs in India are as follows:

Investment in the Indian equities markets, including IPOs

Investment in mutual funds

Company fixed deposits and non-convertible debentures of companies

Real estate investments

Government securities

National Savings Certificates issued by post offices in India

Deposits in Indian banks

The Indian government is offering several investment facilities to NRIs, persons of Indian origin (PIOs) and overseas corporate bodies (OCBs). While NRI refers to an Indian citizen who resides outside India, PIO refers to an individual who at any time held an Indian passport, or any of whose parents or grandparents was a citizen of India.

According to the laws, NRIs/PIOs/OCBs/ are permitted to open bank accounts in India out of funds remitted from abroad. The foreign exchange can be brought in from abroad through an authorized dealer or can be from the funds which are legitimately due to them in India.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted general permission to NRIs/PIOs, for undertaking direct investments in Indian companies, under the automatic route purchase of shares.

NRIs can make investments in all the investment options which are available to resident Indians. However, Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) can only make investments in non-agricultural businesses in the country.  

To make payments for investments, an NRI needs to use an NRE account (Non-Resident External Rupee Account), NRO Account (Non-Resident Ordinary Rupee Account), FCNR Account (Foreign Currency Non-Resident Account).  

A '24% Scheme' allows Indian companies, except those engaged in agricultural activities, to issue up to 24% of their shares and debentures to NRIs with repatriation benefits.  

Similarly, the '40% scheme' allows for purchase of equity, preference shares and convertible debentures not exceeding 51% of the face value of each issue. Repatriation of up to 40% of the new issue is allowed. Under this scheme, NRIs can invest in new projects or in expansion and diversification projects of existing companies.  

Different tax benefits available to NRIs:   

Interest earned on NRE and FCNR accounts is completely tax-free

Bank deposits investment in shares, units of mutual funds, etc. are exempt from wealth tax in India

Tax exemption provided for gifts given during marriage, inheritance left behind in a will or if the payer has died.

Special term deposit accounts:  These are reinvestment deposits. Interest earned on the deposits is added to the principal and compounded at quarterly intervals. The principal amount together with interest is repaid on maturity of the deposit. Net yield on these accounts is distinctly higher because of compounding of interest at quarterly intervals. 

Cash certificates:  All conditions detailed above for Special Term deposits apply to Cash Certificate Deposits. On maturity, a round sum, for example, Rs 50,000, Rs 100,000, Rs 10,00,000, etc is received. Excellent for long-term deposits.  

Thrift deposit scheme:  A recurring deposit scheme. Fixed sums are deposited every month for a fixed period. Compound interest is payable at the same rates as applicable to other term deposits. The same condition as above is also applicable for Non-Resident Special Rupee (NRSR) account introduced by the Reserve Bank of India.


Source: Times of India, December 3, 2009




Loomba Trust celebrated Diwali at the 800-year old London's historic and prestigious landmark - Guildhall, more usually associated with state banquets and City of London occasions. The chief guest of the evening was the new High Commissioner for India, His Excellency Shri Nalin Surie and his wife, Mrs. Surie, who were greeted by the President of the Loomba Trust, Cherie Blair, wife of the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Guest of Honour, Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP, Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth, was among over 475 leaders of business and government. The presence of famous Bollywood star, Preity Zinta, added a touch of glamour to the evening. She also accepted to become an International Ambassador of the Loomba Trust.


Loomba Trust supports poor widows and their children in India and many other countries. Raj Loomba CBE, Founder and Chairman of the Loomba Trust, disclosed that the Trust's 11th charity gala dinner in the UK, raised over 400,000, which will enable the Trust to continue the education of 3000 children of poor widows in India and empower Rwanda's 850 widows by helping them set up small business co-operatives in association with OXFAM (GB) and the Mayor of Kigali.



Government of India has an online grievance forum at Please use the tool to highlight the problems faced while dealing with Government officials or departments like Railways, Petroleum & Natural Gas, Civil Aviation,  Shipping , Road Transport & Highways, Tourism, Public Sector Banks and  Insurance Companies, Regional Passport Authorities , etc.


GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.


GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.


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

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


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

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

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

To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at or fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.



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

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

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

Contributors of this issue: 

Inder Singh (USA), Dr. Zafar Iqbal (USA), Sam Kannappan (USA), Deosaran Bisnath (Trinidad & Tobago)

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

Visit GOPIO's Official site at or