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December 28, 2009
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Issue: VIII-14 December 28, 2009
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The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has scheduled its Convention 2010 in New Delhi on January 6th at the Habitat Center (Lodi Estate) and concluding with Awards Banquet at Ashoka Hotel immediately preceding Pravas Bharatiya Divas 2010. The conference will be formally inaugurated on January 6th at the beginning of the GOPIO Convention 2010.


On January 6, 2010, GOPIO has planned an all day conference comprising three (3) sessions as follows: "India's Emerging Economy and The Diaspora"; "Family Issues in the Global Indian Diaspora"; and "Enhancing Intra-Connectivity and Liaison with the Global Indian Diaspora".


 Minister Vayalar Ravi                                               The chief guest of the conventioin is Minister Vayalar Ravi, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs. Keynote speakers for the three (3) sessions will be Lord Meghnad Desai (House of Lords, UK), Lord Navneet Dholakia (House of Lords, UK), and Lord Bhikhu Parekh (House of Lords, UK), respectively. Other prominent speakers who are quite experienced on the topics will make presentations on the sub-themes. The sessions also cater for active audience participation.


Since its inception in 1989, GOPIO has been organizing conferences and conventions in different parts of the world to mobilize the global NRI/PIO community. During the last few years alone, GOPIO has organized ten international conferences. Besides providing a globally recognized platform for dialogue and discussion to the worldwide Indian Diaspora, GOPIO's conferences and conventions continue to help bring the Indian diaspora closer to mother India and strengthen the inherent bonds between mother India and the globally spread Diaspora. The convention in Chennai on January 6 --7, 2008 and GOPIO's 20th Anniversary Convention in New York held on August 21-23, 2009 are examples of GOPIO's continuing efforts to mobilize the global Indian community and facilitate their networking.


GOPIO believes that the destiny of the Indian Diaspora, in many ways, is intertwined inextricably with India. The NRIs/PIOs, individually and collectively, certainly have made numerous, significant achievements in their adopted lands but they are bound to India by the umbilical cord of history, culture, heritage, and tradition. GOPIO's conferences and conventions continue to bring the Indian Diaspora directly and indirectly closer to mother India.


On January 6th evening, GOPIO will hold it Annual Community Service Awards Banquet at 7:00 PM. at the Ashoka Hotel. At this gala event, GOPIO COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDS (CSA) shall be presented at the banquet and will be presided over by Honorable Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs. GOPIO's annual CSA awards were established to recognize and honor those NRIs and PIOs who have provided significant community and public service or done philanthropic work for the Indian Diaspora and/or to India.


"We at GOPIO feel privileged to recognize a few NRIs/PIOs who have contributed significantly to their respective countries of adoption as well as to India, and have also contributed to the remarkable resurgence of India," said Lord Diljit Rana, President of GOPIO International.


GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh said, "The award is a reflection of their remarkable accomplishments and commendable services. By honoring such people, we hope that their example will motivate more NRIs/PIOs to serve overseas Indian community and the people of India with their service and generosity," Mr. Singh added.


The Chief Guest at the GOPIO Awards Banquet will be Honorable Min Vayalar Ravi, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, will deliver the Keynote Address. The Guest of Honor will be Hon. Dr. Lenny Saith, Minister in Office of the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago.


The awardees for this year include Rajen Ramnath (The Netherlands); Datuk Vinod Sekhar (Malaysia); Lachmandas Pagarani (Dubai, UAE); Dr. Prabhakar (now living in Kerala, India); Ramesh Gupta (USA); and Special Awards to Dr Jagat Motwani (USA) and Issac John (Dubai). Their profiles are as follows:


Photo below: GOPIO Interantional Community Service Award Recipients for 2010, clockwise from top left - Rajen Ramnath, Datuk Vinod Sekhar, Lachmandas Pagarani, Ramesh Gupta, Issac John, Dr. Jagat Motwani and Dr. Prabhkar

GOPIO community Service Award Recipients 2010


Rajendernath Ramnath (The Netherlands)


Rajendernath Ramnath was born in Suriname, son of indentured laborer from India. At the age of 24, Mr. Ramnath emigrated to The Netherlands in pursuit of higher education. He became actively involved in the local Hindustani community through various leadership roles and became instrumental in advancing the social, cultural and religious interests of all Indians living in the Netherlands. In 1977 Mr. Ramnath founded Stichting Federatie Eekta in The Netherlands, a very prominent and leading cultural foundation for the Hindus. In 1993, his efforts resulted in establishing OHM (Hindu Broadcasting Corporation) a public radio and broadcasting station to further the interest of the local Hindustani population. He became one of the first founders of a local primary school in The Hague which emphasised Hindu values and teachings. He is president of a leading Indian based educational organization which has 5 schools in the Netherlands with more than 1200 students and 130 staff members.


Datuk Vinod Sekhar (Malaysia)


Born in Malaysia, Datuk Vinod B. Sekhar is the President and Chief Executive of Petra Group in Malaysia. His father, Tan Sri Dr. Balachandra Chakkingal Sekhar, was the pioneer of 'green rubber' technology in Malaysia. Datuk Vinod also strives to create a healthy atmosphere for his compatriots and compassion for humanity by substantially reducing the detrimental effects of scrapped rubbers. Besides being among the most successful PIOs in Malaysia, he is the leading philanthropist in the Southeast region. Age 41, he is the only PIO in the world whose group's 60% of earnings goes to charity and engagement in uplifting the underprivileged sections of the society, educationally, financially and medically. His magnanimity is also manifest in the scholarships which he provides to over ten thousand needy students across the globe. He has been conferred with a number of prestigious awards for his work on green technology and other philanthropic accomplishments.


Lachmandas Pagarani (Dubai, UAE)


Based in Dubai, UAE, Mr Lachmandas K Pagrani is a scion with a big heart. He is the Chairman of the Almaya Group, an organisation employing over 3,000 people and overseeing operations across UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia, he has managed to include his philanthropic ambitions and align them to the commercial ones. As his Group of Companies hase flourished, he has ensured that the well-being of the under-privileged has not been neglected. With school for children, health clinics, a hospital and housing for the homeless, he has played a pivotal role in uplifting the plight of many in India. Mr Pagarani actively participates in solving humanitarian problems facing NRIs in his community. The recipient of several notable awards for achievement, he is an exemplary businessman with tremendous humility, but his commitment to give back to the community overshadows everything else, proving that to give is a bigger gift than receiving


Dr. Prabhakar (Kerala, India)


Dr. Prabhakar sacrificed a comfortable job and life in USA and returned to his native Indian village to serve the poorest of rural women. A colleague of Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Laureate, Dr. Prabhakar embarked for the last 13 years upon the alleviation of poverty among poor rural women by replicating the Grameen Banking System of Bangladesh with relevant and appropriate modifications. He is committed to the socio-economic empowerment of the poorest of rural women by providing collateral-free micro-credit for economically viable and environmentally sustainable income generating activities.  He has devised and implemented innovative ventures and schemes, such as Areca nut leaves products for environmental protection from the plastic pollution, Coconut Parlors to encourage the coconut farmers, Production units of Swadeshi indigenous soap and detergents that are free from chemicals, etc. To meet the demands of the modern era of information technology, a Rural BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) Center is being implemented for the empowerment of girls living in rural areas.


Ramesh Gupta (USA)


Ramesh Gupta is well known for his passion to help people in need.  He touched many lives including aiding several victims of family violence hailing from both sides of Indo-Pak border. During his tenure as President of India Association, he made relentless efforts to unite the Indian American community and built India Association in to an organization widely recognized throughout the United States as one of the most powerful groups in the country. He was instrumental in raising large sums of money to help the victims of natural disaster in India and the United States and for the families of fallen soldiers during Kargil War.  In order to educate politically and serve the economical interests of the community, he founded Indo-American Political and Economic Forum which became a very strong voice of DFW India community. "I was immensely impressed by Ramesh Gupta's  selfless service to the community", said Hon. Abid Hussain, India Ambassador to the United States. Similar sentiments were echoed by several other senior diplomats and prominent community leaders. 


Dr Jagat Motwani (USA)


Dr. Jagat Motwani has been serving the Indian community in the USA for over thirty years. He was member of the executive committee of the Federation of Indian Associations which started India Day parade to celebrate India's Independence in New York city. He was one of the pioneers when the National Federation of Indian American Associations, the umbrella body of Indian organizations in America, was formed. In 1989, he became co-convener of the First Convention of People of Indian Origin. He became the first Secretary General of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), then International Co-ordinator and recently as Chairman of the GOPIO Academic Council from which he retired in August, 2009. Dr. Jagat Motwani edited and compiled "Global Migration of Indians" and "Global Indian Diaspora: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" for GOPIO. These two books are major contribution to the literature on Indian diaspora and GOPIO thankfully acknoweledges valuable contributions of Dr. Motwani. He also wrote several other books on the Indian Diaspora and a contributor to many publications.


Issac John(Dubai)


Issac John, Chair of Gulf Arts and Literary Academy (GALA), is one of the leading journalists and economists of the Middle East. A veteran of many breaking news stories and invigorating analysis pieces, Issac is currently the Business Editor of Khaleej Times.  He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for nearly 30 years -- 9 years with Gulf News, 2 years with Emirates News, 1 year with a business magazine UAE Digest, and 18 years with Khaleej Times. Issac has won 3 pan-Arab media awards and several other accolades during his illustrious career.  These include the Pan Arab Media Quality Award (March 2005) from e-TQM University, Dubai;  DSS Award for Best Creative Writing in English (October 2005) from Dubai Economic Development Department; Arab IPR Award (December 2005) from Business Software Alliance; Award of Appreciation from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, 2006; KC Varghese Foundation Media Award (2007); Elemec Award for Best Journalist (2007); Pravasi Ratna Award for Journalism (2007), and Award of Appreciation from UAE Ministry of Finance and Industry (2007). He won the Best Media Personality 2008 Award from the New Jersey-based World Malayalee Council at its annual global conference held in Abu Dhabi in January, 2009.


Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International)







January 6, 2010

Venue:  Habitat Centre, Lodi Estate, New Delhi


In Conjunction With





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)

                          Dr Renuka Mishra (GOPIO Metro-DC, 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 at GOPIO 2010 Convention

         "Colonial Emigration, 19th- 20th Centuries - Proceedings - Volume-III"  by Dr Leela Sarup

         "The Indian Diaspora: Historical and Contemporary Context: Essays in Honour of Dr Chandrashekhar Bhat"  edited byLaxmi Narayan Kadekar, Ajaya Kumar Sahoo, Gauri Bhattacharya

         "India, NRIs and the Law"  by Anil Malhotra

         "Top 25 Indian Luminaries In The World - Vol. III"  by Dr Anand Raj Giri


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

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.


The forum would afford an opportunity not only for the Indian Diaspora to take investment decisions in the country but also to resolve the issues relating to their private property.


Two seminars one on Nano-technology and the other on property-related issues of overseas Indians are scheduled on January 7. The nano-technology seminar will bring together scientists, technologists, policymakers and entrepreneurs from India and abroad on a common platform. The focus of the seminar will be on applications of nano-technology in agriculture, energy and healthcare.


The seminar on property related issues of the overseas Indian community will discuss institutional arrangements to safeguard their properties in India as well as the modalities for credible investment avenues in the real estate sector.


The conference will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh on January 8 and Lord Khalid Hameed of Hampstead CBE DL will be the chief guest.


"There will be three plenary sessions and six concurrent sessions. In the nano-technogy seminar about 141 have so far registered as participants and in the property related seminar about 177 have so far registered as participants. We expect 1000 participants from over 40 countries for the entire Pavasi Bharatiya Divas program, including 20 participants from the war-torn Sri Lanka," said the Union minister for overseas Indian affairs, Vayalar Ravi.


In the first plenary session the delegates will have an opportunity to interact with key Indian ministers and policymakers like law and justice minister, Veerappa Moily, road transport and highways minister, Kamal Nath, advisor to the prime minister, Sam Pitroda, President of ICCR, Dr Karan Singh. The finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee will deliver the keynote address.


This session will discuss issues relating to economic recovery, good governnance, technology and innovation and infrastructure development. It would seek to articulate the role the Indian diaspora can play in India's race to join the league of developed world.


The second plenary session will have a panel of ministers and political leaders of Indian origin from different countries like Harinder Takkar from Canada, Mahendra P Chaudhary from Fiji, Dr S Subramaniam from Malaysia, Vasant K Bunwaree from Mauritius, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan from Singapore, Leny K Saith from Trinidad and Tobago. The Indian external affairs minister, SM Krishna will deliver the keynote address while the Indian commerce and industry minister, Anand Sharma and Dato Seri S Samy Vellu from Malasia will be the guests of honour. This session will deliberate on the issues of concern to overseas Indians residing in different parts of the globe.


The third plenary session will be addressed by chief ministers from 14 states and one deputy chief minister and they would focus on the role the diaspora can play in skill development an area of critical importance given the forecasts that India is likely to be confronted with significant skill gaps in a couple of decades if we do not act now.


The six concurrent sessions are on themes like returning to 9% growth, leveraging knowledge network, diaspora philanthropy, diaspora women in cross-cultural environments, Indians and the Gulf countries, Future of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and the road ahead.


For the first time, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be webcast in an interactive modeon the websites and This will enable overseas Indians from across the world to not only witness the proceedings of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention, session-by-session, but also interact and express their opinion.


An annual `Distinguished Global Indian Oration Series' will be launched and the first lecture will be delivered by Prof Jagadish Bhagwati of Columbia University on January 8 on the role of the Indian diaspora.


The President of India, Pratibha Devisingh Patil will deliver the valedictory address on January 9 and confer Pravasi Bharatiya Sammam Awards-2010 to distinguished overseas Indians.


The Indian government has taken several steps to woo overseas Indians like formulation of the Overseas Citizenship of India scheme, establishment of Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre, conceptualisation of an University for the benefit of overseas Indians, formation of the Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council of People of Indian Origin, setting up of the India Development Foundation to attract investments from overseas Indians, enabling Overseas Indian professionals to practice in India and launching of the Global Indian Network of Knowledge (Global-INK).


Visit PBD website for registration & other details.


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.

Visit PBD website at for registration. 

Program Schedule


1000 - 1120 Hrs

Keynote Address - Prof. Ajay K. Sood, IISC, Bangalore

Inaugural Address - Dr. Prithviraj Chauhan, Minister for Science & Technology, Government of India


Session on Current trends in NanoTechnology R & D

Remarks by Session Chairman - Prof. Ajay K. Sood, IISC, Bangalore



Prof. Subra Suresh, Dean of the School of Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

Prof. P M Ajayan, Henry Burlage Professor of Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Dr. Murali Sastry, Chief Scientist, Innovation Centre, Tata Chemicals, Pune

1120 - 1135 

Coffee Break

1135 - 1300 Hrs

Session on Strategizing NanoTechnology

Remarks by Session Chairman   Dr. Thomas Abraham, President, Innovative Research and Products Inc. and  Chairman, Nanotech 2009


Dr. G Sundararajan, Director, Advanced Research Center For Powder Metallurgy & New Materials, Hyderabad.

Dr. Murali Sastry, Chief Scientist, Innovation Centre, Tata Chemicals, Pune

1300 - 1400 Hrs


1400 1600 Hrs

Panel Discussion


Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology Government of India

                                                            Dr. Baldev Raj, Director, IGCAR, Kalpakam

Dr. Murali Sastry, Chief Scientist, Innovation Centre, Tata Chemicals, Pune

Dr. Thomas Abraham, President, Innovative Research and Products Inc. and Chairman, Nanotech 2009

Dr. Santosh Muhkerjee, Chairman of Nanotechnology & Telecommunication, United States Business Council, Chair person of IEEE - Telecom in USA, Chief Architect & President, San-Lab,   Santech International Inc., Blookfield, NJ

1600 - 1700 Hrs

Valedictory Address


Business to Business Match making

(to be held at OIFC Market Place)


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 its annual general body meeting held at the Hampton Inn in Stamford, CT on December 16, 2009, the members of GOPIO Connecticut chapter elected a new executive team for 2010-2011. The members include: Shailesh Naik (President), Ravi Dhingra (Vice President), Shelly Nichani (Vice President), Ritu Johorey (Treasurer), Prakash Chakravarti (Secretary), Shamla Sharma (Joint Secretary) and Sangeeta Ahuja (Immediate Past President) .

Photo below: GOPIO-CT Executive Committee Members for 2010-2011, From L. to R. Ritu Johorey, Shelly Nichani, Shailesh Naik, Sangeeta Ahuja, Ravi Dhingra and Prakash Chakravarti. Missing is Shamla Sharma

GOPIO-CT Executive Committee 2010-2011 


Outgoing President Sangeeta Ahuja, who has held the position since inception four years ago, thanked the members who have contributed to growing the organization and to its various events over the years, including: the Annual Awards Banquets honoring achievements and services of community leaders and local officials, Diwali festival celebrations, Indian Independence Day celebrations at the Government Center in Stamford, interactive sessions with local congressmen and India's Consul General, health and wellness seminars, and evening of ghazals with Shanti Hiranand. "In fact, the Connecticut chapter has become one of the most active chapters in the GOPIO international network," said Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO International, thanking Sangeeta Ahuja and the previous team for their contribution and efforts.


Contact: Shailesh Naik, E-mail: or visit




The Youth Group of GOPIO-Connecticut chapter held its fourth annual Youth and Young Professionals Networking event at the Hampton Inn in Stamford, CT on Dec 24.  The event featured three guest speakers along with networking activities. About 25 local high school and college students attended the event.


Speakers included Mr. Harry Arora, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of ARCIM Advisors, a hedge fund based in Greenwich, CT.  Mr. Arora shared his insights and experiences on a career in finance. He also touched on religion, career choices and relationships.


Ms. Nitya Abraham, a Urology resident at New York University School of Medicine, spoke on the challenges of medical school and residency. She expressed the need of a true interest in medicine in order to complete the rigorous coursework and clinical. Mr. Nithesh Banta gave the high school students tips on applying to college. He also gave them a resource, College Confidant, to use when they start to apply -

Photo below: GOPIO-CT Youth and Young Professionals Panelist - From L. to R: Ankur Ahuja, Harry Arora, Dr. Nitya Abraham and Nithesh Banta.

GOPIO-CT Youth Networking Luncheon at Stamford, CT 

Photo above: Participants at GOPIO-CT Youth and Young Professionals Networking Luncheon and Panel

"It is Important for the young adults to network and mentor other kids. GOPIO-CT provides this opportunity in a very informal and effective way," said Ankur Ahuja Co-chair of GOPIO-CT Youth. Ankur also announced that the GOPIO-CT youth will be serving at the local soup kitchen on December 26.


"The GOPIO Youth Networking Event was conducted successfully by the Youth.  They did a tremendous job and made the event a memorable one," said Vinod Gannu, volunteer parent coordinator for the day's activities. "We are so proud of our youth; having this fourth annual event is a testimonial to the involvement of these young men and women and their resolve to make it an annual event" said Sangeeta Ahuja, president of GOPIO-CT.




Greensboro, North Carolina resident Neil Shah, a senior at Northwest Guilford High School will split a $50,000 scholarship with home-schooled Yekaterina "Katies" Shpanskaya, a sophomore at the Math and Science School in Raleigh, North Carolina, as the second place winner in the team competition at the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology finals held on December 7th at New York University. Their project, "Supercomputing Analytical Discovery of Plasma Instabilities in Fusion Energy Reactors," provides a better understanding of the fusion process.


The research, which analyzed computer-simulated fusion reactor data, will enable efficient analysis of massive amounts of data on perhaps thousands of computer processors operating in parallel.


Shah and Shpanskaya earlier won the Georgia Institute of Technology regional contest. He is a national AP scholar, an AP scholar with distinction and national Merit Semifinalist. He is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and won first place in a North Carolina network design competition.




John Samuel, policy researcher and international director of Actionaid who hails from Adoor in Pathanamthitta district, has been appointed at the headquarters of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) at Oslo to lead the Global Program on Democratic Governance Assessment. As the new democratic governance adviser to the global programs of UNDP and the Oslo Governance Centre, Mr. Samuel will lead a team of experts and advisers responsible for strengthening democratic governance in different parts of the world. This will involve advising governments and civil society organizations on assessing institutions and sectors of governance.


Mr. Samuel has been a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK. For the last seven years, he has been the International Director of Actionaid, one of the biggest international development organizations in the world. He had also served as the member of the Planning Commission's working group on governance.


Mr. Samuel is the founder editor of the social media network Infochange News and Features, former chief executive of the National Centre for Advocacy Studies (NCAS), Pune and the founding co-chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP). He is the founder of several advocacy and research organizations, including the National Social Watch Coalition and the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, Delhi.



Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission has announced the winners of the 2010 Marshall Scholarships chosen by the eight regional committees. These were confirmed at the meeting of the Ambassador's Advisory Council. Four Indian Americans have been selected to Marshal Scholarship for 2010.

The scholarships were founded by an Act of British Parliament in 1953 and commemorate the humane ideals of the European Recovery Programme (Marshall Plan). They are funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and administered by the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission in the UK (for which the Association of Commonwealth Universities provides the Secretariat). The selection process in the US is managed by the British Council, on behalf of the British Embassy in Washington DC, and the regional Consulates-General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

Among the forty recipients this year, the following are the Indian American winners, with their current affiliation, the school they plant to join in UK and the field they plan to pursue.


Aroop Mukharji - Williams College
London School of Economics and Political Science

Vinayak Muralidhar
University of Oxford

Amol Naik
- University of Chicago
London School of Economics and Political Science

Mitesh Shridhar
- University of Colorado Boulder
University of Cambridge




On Dec 14, 09, Jasmeen Malhotra was awarded New South Wales 2009 Young Volunteer of the year award for her contributions:


  • As volunteer for various charities such as NISAD Schizophrenia Research, Red Nose Day, Clean-up Australia, Child Flight, Harmony Day, UN's International Day of Peace.

         Helping Sikh youth become an important part of the wider Australian community while preserving their own heritage & culture.

         Fostering harmonious relationship between Sikhs & other communities.


As part of youth leadership team, Jasmeen mentored and trained school students for the Youth Peace Parliament, a one-day mock Legislative Assembly sitting involving approximately 60 students from years 10, 11 and 12 students from various New South Wales schools.




Kamal Singh obtained an ATAR of 99.95% while Jayraj Singh Bhatti obtained 99.85% in High School Certificate (HSC) exam held in October- November 2009. ATAR is a percentile score, which means out of 70,000 students in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, Kamal scored better than 99.95% of 70,000 students and Jayraj scored better than 99.85%.


Kamal came third in Chemistry in NSW (2008) and placed 12th in Biology in NSW.  He will study Medicine at University of Sydney in a Combined degree program. Jayraj has been winning Gold Medal in Shot Putt and Silver in Discus in NSW Open State Relay Athletics. Recently, he also won Silver in Shot Putt and Bronze in Discus throwing in NSW All Schools in his age category.




The 48-year-old Indian Income Tax Act is being replaced by a new Direct Tax Code from April 1, 2011. The provisions of the new Tax Code will have a substantial impact on NRIs who own property and stocks. In the case of property, elimination of tax deductions and the presumptive rate of taxation will adversely impact potential investors.

The new Direct Tax Code is expected to tax:

1.       Income (including Non-Resident Ordinary interest) at a flat rate of 20 per cent without even the shelter of the basic exemption limit.

2.       Hitherto fully exempt long-term capital gains on equity and equity mutual funds at a flat rate of 30 per cent.

3.       Aggregated capital gain income at a flat rate of 30 per cent. (Indian residents, however, will pay 30 per cent tax on capital gains only if such gains are above Rs 25 lakh. This tiered system of tax is not available to NRIs under the Direct Tax Code.)

Under the Direct Tax Code, most NRIs and investors in property will pay heavy price for buying property in the motherland. They will pay tax on the higher of the actual or 'presumptive rent' for let out or deemed let out properties. (Presumptive rent, a new concept under the Direct Tax Code, has been fixed at 6 per cent of the rateable value stipulated by the local authority. Where no rateable value has been fixed, 6 per cent shall be calculated with reference to the cost of construction or acquisition of the property.)


For example, a tenant pays rent of Rs 25,000 per month on a property that costs Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million). The annual rent of Rs 300,000 is 3% of the property cost. Under the new Tax Code, the landlord will have to pay tax as if he is receiving Rs 600,000 (6 per cent of a Rs 1 crore). If the property lies vacant, tax will still be payable for the presumptive rent. Currently, one of the key attractions of India is a tax-friendly capital market system. If this is taken away, there is no gauging the extent of collateral damage that will take place.




Britain and the US have lodged diplomatic protests against the proposed changes to India's visa rules that bar tourists from returning to the country within two months of a visit. The new rules will also apply to Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card holders. The change in the visa rules are said to be in response to the case surrounding suspected terrorist David Headley, who made nine visits to India on a multi-entry business visa. The decision to change the visa was under the directive of the Home Ministry.


The Indian embassy in Washington D.C has posted the rule on its website, which says that "There should be a gap of at least 2 months between two visits to the country on a Tourist Visa. In case of requirement to visit the country within 2 months, permission should be sought from the Head of Mission concerned."


To facilitate bona fide tourists, foreigners holding Tourist Visas, who after initial entry into India plan to visit another country and re-enter India before finally exiting, may be permitted by the Indian Missions, provided they submit a detailed itinerary and supporting documentation (ticket bookings).




The Haryana Govt. has decided to prepare a directory of NRIs who hailed from Haryana. The objective to bring together members of Indian Diaspora who are originally from the Haryana at a common platform to discuss the role of the Indian Diaspora in enhancing cooperation, opportunities and challenges faced by them in the field of culture, heritage and traditions and also trade and investment opportunities available for them in the land of their ancestor.


For this noble cause, the government agency is seeking help from Haryana NRIs are requested to provide the list of persons of Indian origin who belongs to Haryana. We will be thankful to you if you can provide such a list of the above said category to prepare directory of NRIs who belongs to Haryana.


Dr Kuldeep Saini, Deputy Director, Information Public Relations and Cultural Affairs Department, Haryana, 0172-5059107 Office, 9463437252 Mobile, e-Mail:




A report on the PBD Europe held on September 19, 2009 at The Hague, Netherlands prepared by Dr V.V. Moharir and Dr H.U. Qureshi. It is available at The also provides suggestiuons and recommendations.


The program was organized Foundation for Indian Diaspora in Europe (FIDE) on behalf of, Foundation for Critical Choices for India (FCCI), Indian Business Chamber (IBC), Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (The Netherlands GOPIO), Indian Expat Society, Foundation Ujala, Federation Eekta In partnership with Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Govt. of India, Embassy of India (The Hague) and City Council of The Hague.


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Contributors of this issue: 

Inder Singh (USA), Dr. Wahid Saleh (The Netherlands), Ravi Dhingra (USA), Ankur Ahuja (USA) 

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

Visit GOPIO's Official site at or