Congress party seems to be Consistently Inconsistent on critical national and international issues.
Yesterday’s Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s remarks about the BJP and Sangh Parivar are like the pot calling the kettle black. It is the Congress party which has preached, practiced divisive politics in the country in last 50 years and it has always encouraged fundamentalist forces, it has thrived its politics on caste, region and religion. It has given credibility to Muslim league which is responsible for the partition of country by taking them to Ministry; it has aligned with communal forces like All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen and also other communal splinter groups in various parts of the country.
It has also really encouraged forces of separatism and divisiveness at times for the sake of temporary political benefits. I would like ask the congress party, who propped up Bhindranwale, who called him a great saint and then later who was forced to send army to golden temple to take on him.
Who encouraged LTTE ?, who gave them arms and training, then who is responsible for the loss of more than 1000 precious lives of Indian Jawans sending them to Sri Lanka in the name of peace keeping force?.
And thirdly who is responsible for what has happened in 1984 in Delhi where there was a genocide Sikh killing more than 3400 people?. Who gave the statement saying that when a banyan tree falls the earth will crumble, who made that statement what does it mean? How a party like that criticize BJP which is nationalist party. You encouraged the cast politics, you encouraged regional politics, you encouraged religious politics, you gave support and encouragement by your actions to these communal elements from time to time and you are accusing us now. You have aligned with all this communal groups at times for temporary political benefits. It is divisive politics coupled with vote bank politics practiced by Congress that has brought our country to the present situation. It is the appeasement politics of Congress that has widened the divide between majority and minority, though nothing worthwhile has been done to minority, and it is legacy of the Congress regime that has complicated the Kashmir issue. Don’t raise an accusing finger against the BJP it will boomerang on you, You have played vote bank politics, you never bothered to bring unity in the minds of the people, you have ruled the country for more than 50 years and ruined the country and how dare you criticize our ideology, you have no moral right to do that. You have also earlier sympathized with organizations like JKLF, at times you are soft on organizations like SIMI, then AL UMMA. You aligned with fundamentalist Majlis in Hyderabad Municipal Corporation made them as mayor gave them credibility in the political circles which they were lacking all these years. So you cannot criticize the BJP ,You have ruled for more than 50 years practiced vote bank politics and you always gave only empty slogans, words for the poor and deeds for the rich that has been a hallmark of your government. That’s why even after 68 years there is illiteracy of 35-40%, there and 25% of people are still living under below the poverty line.
Congress party sympathies with forces that celebrate and try to make icons of Kashmiri separatists, you went to JNU to express solidarity with sympathizers of terrorists Yakub Memon, Makbul Bhat and Afzal Guru and others who always tried to wreck the country and its constitution, challenge the unity and integrity of the country.
Now you are sympathizing with Amenity International who has provided a platform where divisive slogans and anti Indian slogans were raised and you supported such activities even in Hyderabad you expressed to solidarity with these extremists Maoists, fundamentalist, communalists who all came together to celebrate Yakub Memon and Makbul Bhat and Afzal Guru and now you try to preach us about the unity of the country and you accuse us that we are responsible for divisiveness.
You ruled the country for more than 50 years from Delhi to Galli from Parliament to Panchayat from Mukhya Mantri to Municipality every power was given to your hands. What is the social harmony that you have brought in all these years? Who is responsible for the present state of affairs right from the practice of untouchability, to social disharmony amongst the people, it is your politics it is your divisive agenda which is responsible for the present situation. Our government came to power only 2 years back, we are steadfast working hard the Prime Minister has brought in social security and we are trying to bring social harmony, we are focusing on oneness in nation and we are focusing on development and good governance Antodaya uplifting the poorest of poor is our priority. Country is moving ahead in spite of international adverse economic situations. Our growth rate is higher than anybody else in spite of the fact that China which is economically strong nation is going negative. Now the World Bank, the world economic forum, Asian development bank, Moody’s rating everybody appreciates India and they says India is the most favorite destination for the investors. Who is responsible for the present situation in Jammu Kashmir. Jammu Kashmir situation is your making, you create a situation, you encourage such forces and then now you are blaming our government. Who is responsible for creating a sort of divisive mindset in the people and at times you are willing to sympathize even with those who even denigrate the armed forces which are fighting the terrorist and separatists under adverse climatic conditions.
You aligned with National Conference, You aligned with PDP and it is ok for you, but when we align with PDP it becomes unnatural. You are silent on ISI and you are violent on RSS, You are hard on nationalists and soft on terrorists, that has been your line and now you try to criticize us forgetting what has been said by your leader, that’s why the entire social media yesterday was discussing about that infamous statement of 1984 made soon after the genocide. On issues relating to foreign affairs we should all be extra careful, that means the country has to speak in one voice. But Congress itself is speaking in many voices. This is not expected from a party like congress, which has ruled the country this many number of years. You are supposed to be a matured party. Morning your HRD minister gives a statement, in the evening the party disowns, afternoon your former External Affairs Minister statement comes questioning the government stand and in the evening your party distances, next day former Home Minister makes a statement and even writes an article then the party distances itself. What is all this?
Why these double standards, is it the way a matured party should respond to such a serious and sensitive situations. I expect the congress party to be more mature in responding to such situations where the unity and integrity of the country is involved and particularly dealing with terrorists and their sponsors.
We should not fall prey to the tactics of our neighbor, some of the statements made by Congress leaders may be music to Pakistan ears but people of India are not willing to tolerate.
To sum up as I said yesterday, your party seems to be Consistently Inconsistent on critical national and international issues.
Delhi Medical Association celebrated its 102nd Foundation Day on 21st August 2016 at DMA House, Daryaganj, New Delhi.
Award presentation ceremony was held where DMA honoured the doctors who have rendered exemplary services to the profession and our association along with the President and Secretary of IMA Local branches in Delhi and best workers from each branch.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan Hon’ble Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Govt. of India graced the occasion asChief Guest along with Smt. Anupriya Patel, Hon’ble Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Sanjiv Nayyar, Mayor, North DMC, as Guests of Honour besides other dignitaries. The programme was attended by more than 500 doctors from Delhi and NCR.
On this occasion the Dr. Harshvardhan exhorted to the medical man to be together in serving the society and called upon doctors to create good public -government partnership to provide Health Care to the people at their door step.
Dr.Rakesh K. Gupta, President, DMA said that DMA shall work untringly with the Government and provide quality health care services to the city of Delhi.
Dr. Ashwani Goyal, Hony. State Secretary, DMA said that DMA is committed to participate in all health programmes of the Govt. of Delhi.
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GOPIO is a community supported non-profit organization taking up issues of the Indian Diaspora and attempting to unifying the community in its common causes. Support GOPIO by becoming a Life Member or chapter member. Once can become Life Member online by visitinghttp://www.gopio.net/online_membership.html.
GOPIO ELECTS DR. THOMAS ABRAHAM, INDER SINGH AND SUNNY KULATHAKAL TO TOP POSITIONS
At the last GOPIO General Body Meeting, Dr. Thomas Abraham was brought back as the Chairman of GOPIO International after a lapse of seven years. Chairman is the head of the organization, as well as coordinates and chairs the General Body meeting. The Chairman also oversees the functioning Executive Council, GOPIO Councils and conducting elections every two years. Outgoing Chairman Inder Singh was elected as Executive Trustee of the GOPIO Foundation.
A new position GOPIO’s Global Ambassador was created by the GOPIO General Body by a constitutional amendment. Outgoing Executive Vice President Sunny Kulathakal from Bahrain was elected as GOPIO’s Global Ambassador. As GOPIO Ambassador, Mr. Kulathakal has been given the responsibility to initiate chapters in all those cities and countries where GOPIO is yet to make its presence with chapters and Life Members.
The GOPIO Chairman, Executive Trustee and GOPIO’s Global Ambassador serve as ex-officio members of the Executive Council headed by President Niraj Baxi, who serves as CEO of the organization.
GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Foundation Executive Trustee Inder Singh and Global Ambassador Sunny Kulathakal
Brief profiles of Abraham, Singh and Kulathakal are provided below.
Dr. Thomas Abraham
Dr. Thomas Abraham can be given great credits to the Indian Diaspora movement in the last 4 decades. Dr. Abraham coined the word PIO (people of Indian origin) in 1989, when he served as the Convener of the First Convention of People of Indian Origin in New York. Dr. Abraham initiated, nurtured and built up several community institutions including the Federation of Indian Association (FIA) of New York Metro Area, the National Federation of Indian-American Associations (NFIA), GOPIO, National Indian American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) and South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS). Was also co-founder of Indian American Kerala Center in New York and served Co-Chair for the campaign to raise funds for Jagdish Bhagwati Chair for Indian Political Economy at Columbia University. A material scientist and nanotechnologist by profession, Dr. Abraham is president of Innovative Research and Products, Inc.
Inder Singh regularly writes and speaks on Indian Diaspora. He is the author of The Gadar Heroics – life sketches of over 50 Gadar heroes. He is Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation, was chairman of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin from 2009-16 and president from 2004-2009, chairman of National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) from 1992-96 and president from 1988-92. He was founding president of Federation of Indian Associations in Southern California.
Publicist, author, publisher and community worker Sunny Kulathakal is a Post-Graduate in Economics. After a stint in the editorial department of a leading newspaper, he served as the Director of Development Department of a college in Bangalore for eight years. From 1977 onwards in the Middle East, Kulathakal did a series of research studies on Indians in the Gulf which were published as cover stories in the Illustrated Weekly of India, a Times of India publication. From 2004 onwards, Kulathakal is in Bahrain publishing The Gulf Who’s Who Directory. After receiving the community service award from GOPIO in 2004, he has been serving GOPIO in various capacities.
GOPIO has also expanded with appointments of International Coordinators in those regions where there were vacancies, national Coordinators and area coordinators as well as other position including GOPIO Council Chairs and Co-Chairs. These will be announced after all profiles are compiled.
GOPIO OPENS CHAPTERS IN MAURITIUS AND REUNION ISLAND
On July 16, 2016, Dr. Pradip Sewoke, International Coordinator Europe and executive member of GOPIO International and Mr. Vasant Rambojhun launched the GOPIO Quatre-Bornes under the presence of his Excellency S.E. Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, acting President of the Republic of Mauritius.
Photo above: Team of GOPIO Mauritius Quatre-Bornes, from l. to r. Treasuer, Avinash Boodhoo, Assistant Secretary Somah Waani Seetaram, Assistant Treasurer Lajput (Ramesh) Bundhoo, General Secretary Essoda (Sheila) Bundhoo, Vice President Shami Sewoke (also first Life Member of the island), Founder President Hirenduth (Vasant) Rambhojun.
One of the main objectives of the island of Mauritius, also known as the “Chota Bharat” or Little India, is to transform itself into a globally competitive economy with comparatively low custom duties and no trade barriers while attracting foreign investors. It is the only country in the world which has the highest percentage PIO’s/ NRI’s from India among all other ethnic communities.
Dr. Pradip Sewoke, executive member of GOPIO International, advocated for a GOPIO chapter in Mauritius. With the help of Mr. Hirenduth ( Vasant) Rambojhun, founder-president and ex-director of the Architecture Division of the Governmental Department of Urbanism, and Mr. Shami Sewoke, international businessman and the first Life Member from Mauritius, Dr. Sewoke effort became fruitful.
Photo above: GOPIO Mauritius Quatre Bornes team: From l. to r.: Treasurer Avinash Boodhoo, Assistant Secretary Somah Waani Seetaram, Assistant Treasurer Lajput (Ramesh) Bundhoo, General Secretary Essoda (Sheila) Bundhoo, ,Vice President Shami Sewoke, Founder President Hirenduth (Vasant) Rambhojun
A foreign delegation of GOPIO officers was in attendance to support the launching of the first chapter in Mauritius. Dr. Pradip Sewoke represented the executive committee of GOPIO International based in New York, USA. Mr. Mehen Poinoosawmy, President of GOPIO France Paris chapter, Ms. Rita Abraham, Chairperson of Women Council of GOPIO International, Mrs. Michelle Mickael, life member and five other new life members from South Africa: Mrs. Yasmin Sanglae, Dr. Terrence Kommal, Mrs. Sherita Kommal, Mrs. Pratibha Naidu and Mr. Jay Naidu.
In his welcome address President of GOPIO Mauritius Quatre Bornes, Mr. Hiren Rambhojun said, “The steps taken today will be highly beneficial to the Diaspora in the further enhancement of education, health-care, culture and socioeconomic status.”
Dr. Pradip Sewoke elaborated on the future evolutions of GOPIO International (New York) and the creation of the GOPIO International chamber of commerce. GOPIO will move mainly towards business and other activities will follow as usual thus increasing the interactions between Indians of resident countries and India.
Ms. Rita Abraham illustrated the importance of the GOPIO Women’s Council which is an ideal platform for women to work on local and international issues.
Photo above: GOPIO Women’s Council Group with Mauritius Active President Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory (in the middle) and GOPIO women’s Council Chair Rita Abraham
His Excellency Mr. Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, acting President of the Republic of Mauritius congratulated Mr. Hirenduth Rambojhun and Dr. Pradip Sewoke for launching of Quatre-Bornes, the first island chapter. He praised the notable achievements of GOPIO throughout the world: Fiji Indians human rights Issue, PIO/OCI Card, filing case on human rights violations at the UN Human Rights Commission.
Also included in the event was a performance by the dancers from Gopika Academy of Performing Arts (GAPA).
News of the launching ceremony news was successful with many people interested in joining GOPIO International as members.
Photo above left: GOPIO Mauritius Audience and right Ti Diams Receiving Donation from Mauritius Acting President Paramavisum Pillay Vyapoory, from l. to r. Hirenduth Rambojhun, GOPIO International Coordinator for Europe Dr. Pradip Sewoke, Ti Diams (Diabetes Association) Abdullah Dustagheer and Acting President Vyapoory
Before the close of the event, acknowledgements were made of the donations given to four institutions, namely Ti Diams, Ranger Foundation Centre and Sookhun Gaya Government School and SACIM.
Contact: Hiren Rambhojun, President, Gopio Quatre Bornes Mauritius, +230 5258 6819 firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO REUNION ISLAND INAUGURATED
On July 14, 2016 Ms. Rita Abraham, Chairperson of the Women Council of GOPIO International, Dr. Pradip Sewoke, International Coordinator Europe and executive member of GOPIO International and Mr. Mehen Poinoosawmy, President of GOPIO France, Paris chapter, launched GOPIO Reunion Saint Denis. Reunion Island has around 250,000 PIO (People of Indian Origin) among its population but until now there was no GOPIO chapter affiliated to USA, New York.
The event was highlighted by the presence of the General Consul of India in Reunion, Shri Sanjeev Bhati, who commended GOPIO on the progress in different issues regarding the welfare of Indians residing abroad.
The mayor of Reunion, Saint Denis, Mr. Gilbert Annette, whose great grandmother is of Indian origin, expressed his full support of the launch of the new GOPIO chapter and appreciated the hard work of Chapter President Jean Regis Ramsamy.
Photo above – GOPIO International delegates welcomed in Reunion Island by the chapter officials: from l. to r.: GOPIO International Coordinator of Europe Dr. Pradip Sewoke, Mrs Katty Carpaille, GOPIO Paris NC President Mehen Poinoosamy, GOPIO Intl Women’s Council Chairperson Rita Abraham, Saint Denis Mayor Gilbert Annette, GOPIO Reunion Saint Denis Assistant Secretary Roselyne Moutoussamy, President Jean Regis Ramsamy and Vice President Jean-Max Govindassamy
Dr. Sewoke welcomed GOPIO Reunion Saint Denis into the worldwide GOPIO family. He explained the GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce and its contributions in terms of business and relationships with India, something GOPIO can bring to Reunion Island.
Mr. Mehen Poinoosawmy explained GOPIO’s achievements in Paris, France thanks to GOPIO. Youngsters, ages 18 to 26 years, of Indian origin from France, Guadeloupe and Martinique have been reconnected to India through programs such as KIP (Know India Programme) and SIP (Study India Programme). Paid internships have been made possible to qualified interns of the Diaspora to join any international company in India. These young people are the best ambassadors of these Indian companies in their countries of residence. Ms. Rita Abraham initiated the Women’s Council of the chapter where a group of women vowed to work with GOPIO International to facilitate friendships and exchange ideas to develop project opportunities on both the local and international level.
Photo bove: GOPIO-Reunion organizers and GOPIO Internaional officers and some of the participants at the chapter launch. Photo shows Yogesh, Loljeeh bros, Claudia Ramassamy, Huguette Catapoullé, M.P Deltour, Chantal Acama, Luçay Permalnaick, Rita Abraham, P. Sewoke, M. Poinoosamy, Lynda Savaranin, J. R. Ramsamy and wife Marianne, Ketty Carpaille, Roselyne & Carmen Moutoussamy
President Jean Regis Ramsamy, who is a reporter, writer and historian, showered praises on the first Indians who arrived on Reunion Island and their contributions to society. He noted that July 14th is celebrated as Bastille Day and going forward it will also be remembered as the day the GOPIO Reunion Saint Denis Chapter was launched.
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INDIA CAUCUS OF THE US SENATE TO GET A BOOST WITH BOTH US SENATORS FROM CONNECTICUT COMMITTED TO JOIN
Two US lawmakers from Connecticut, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have publicly committed to join Senate India Caucus at community meetings organized by the Connecticut Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) last month. Senate India Caucus was started in 2004 at the initiative of the Indian American community with former Democrat Senator Hillary Clinton and Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, who continues to serve as its Co-Chair. Senator Mark Warner is now the Co-Chair from the Democrat side. As a bipartisan body, Senators Cornyn and Warner have been working to engage Indian Americans and Indian government officials to expand cooperation between the United States and India, the world’s largest democracy.
At an interactive breakfast meeting organized by GOPIO-CT last month in Stamford, CT, Senator Murphy noted the increasing cooperation between the USA and India in defense, containing terrorism, trade and commerce, education, IT and technology areas. Addressing GOPIO-CT Annual Banquet held last month, Senator Blumenthal thanked the Indian American community for its enormous contribution to America. Both Senators made their commitments in public at separate meetings hosted by GOPIO-CT.
“We want a strong set-up in the US Capitol for India which could bring more synergy in the next level of cooperation between the two largest democracies of the world,” said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO who had initiated the effort with both the Senators.
Photo above: Connecticut’s senior Senator Richard Blumenthal with GOPIO-CT Treasurer Biru Sharma and GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham
“With Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a joint session of both houses in June, there is much more awareness of India among the lawmakers and this is the right time for the community to reach out lawmakers who are still not yet members of the India Caucus and GOPIO will continue to do such effort,” Dr. Abraham added.
Photo above: GOPIO-CT officers with Senator Chris Murphy at the community reception and interactive meeting held in Stamford, CT, From l. to r.: Srinivas Akarapu, Shaielsh Naik, Sangeeta Ahuja, Biru Sharma, GOPIO-CT President Shelly Nichani, Sanjay Santhnam, Senator Murphy, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Varghese Ninan, Bhavana Jhuneja, Santosh Gannu, Louella D’Silva, Meera Banta and Anita Bhat
GOPIO AND INDIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY HOST MINISTER NITIN GADKARI AT THE LA HARBOR BOAT RIDE AND INTERACTION
Indian American Community of Southern California hosted lunch at the La Espada Vessel “Harbor Breeze” Los Angeles Harbor for Nitin Gadkari, India’s Minister of Transportation and Shipping and Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok, Consul General of India, San Francisco, on July 22, 2016. There were approximately 40 people on the boat including GOPIO Foundation Executive Trustee Inder Singh, GOPIO Treasurer Kewal Kanda, NFIA president Ashok Madan, GOPIO LA president Navin Gupta, several members of GOPIO – Rajinder Dhunna, Abdulgani Shaikh, Yash Singh, Sunny Chauhan, Ajmer Singh and many prominent members of the community, Harbhajan Samra, Sudip Gorakshakar, Satish Kanda, Nadadur Vardhan,Avadhesh and Uma Agrawal, to name a few. Some members of the local OFBJP, Roshan Khandpur, Malik Banda, Bala Palanisamy, Subbu Shanmugham, and Raj Walia, also attended the lunch.
The boat left the Harbor a little after 10:30 am for a tour of the Harbor. Prior to the boat tour, Mr. Gadkari met the representatives of the LA Harbor Port Authority and discussed matters relating to shipping and transportation. Mr. Gadkari also chatted with the local community business leaders who presented him some plans to do business with India. Besides sight-seeing at the LA Harbor, Mr. Gadkari and community leaders enjoyed the interaction with each other. Mr. Gadkari was thankful for arranging this short boat tour where he was able to meet the community leaders. Ashoka the Great Restaurant served the lunch on the boat.
After the lunch, Inder Singh, Kewal Kanda, and Ashok Madan presented Mr. Gadkari a book on Global Indian Diaspora, a book on Gadar Heroics, and compilation of articles, Indians in America by Inder Singh. From the Harbor, the minister went to Los Angeles airport for his flight back to India.
Photo: GOPIO officials with Minister Nitin Gadkari during LA Harbor boat ride
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
GOPIO-CT HONORS FIVE INDIAN AMERICANS AND AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS TO STUDENTS AT THE 10TH ANNUAL AWARDS BANQUET
It was a memorable evening in every possible way. The Ballroom at The Hilton Hotel in Stamford, CT was filled with more than 200 invited guests from across the state of Connecticut, including community leaders, elected officials, and honorees and their families last month. The event was the 10th annual Gala and Awards Nite organized by GOPIO’s Connecticut Chapter honoring five for their achievements and contributions to the community: The gala included a cocktail reception, dinner, music, live DJ and dances by participants, eloquent speeches, touching life stories and inspiring narratives on the lives of the five distinguished honorees.
Prominent among those who had attended and spoke at the annual gala included, US Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Jim Himes, Stamford Mayor David Martin, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, Connecticut State Senators Tony Hwang and Carlo Leone and CT State Assemblyman Dan Carter. Earlier in the day, Connecticut’s junior senator Chris Murphy addressed GOPIO-CT members.
Sachin Lawande, President and CEO of Visteon Corporation (Van Buren, MI), was recognized for his achievement as a Corporate Leader. Visteon is one of the world’s leading suppliers of vehicle cockpit electronics, serving auto manufacturers around the globe. Sachin was described to be leading a rapid evolution of electronics technology and software to meet the demands of the connected car era. In his response, Lawande, while thanking GOPIO-CT, he said, “May this award given to me today be an inspiration to the younger generation.”
Anjali Sharma, a Greenwich resident, was honored for Community Service and promoting philanthropy. Anjali, a Trustee of AIF, has worked tirelessly to as a humanist and philanthropist to promote India’s development. She won the loudest applause from the audience for her simple narration of the many effort she and her organization do to bring a little cheer in the lives of hundreds of people in India she has been instrumental in touching with her monetary help. While acknowledging the award, Sharma applauded GOPIO and said, “Your efforts show that you are working to have our community integrated with the mainstream world.
Annapurna Duleep, a former Norwalk Councilwoman, was recognized for her contributions and achievements in Political Involvement. Anna is the first woman and South Asian to be elected Sheriff of Norwalk City in 2014. She is an ardent proponent of gun control. Duleep urged the participants and the larger Indian American community to “Join with me in the effort to take the community to the next level.”
GOPIO-CT President’s Young Professional Achiever Award was given to Roopa Modha of Shelton, who has been working tirelessly to promote women’s issues using her legal expertise to further women’s causes. Her commitment is to empower women and bring the issues of domestic violence and rape into the public domain. A lawyer by profession, She attended the White House’s United State of Women Summit in 2016.
GOPIO-CT 2016 awardees, from l. to r.: David Smith, Anjali Sharma, Sachin Lawande, Annapurna Duleep and Roopa Modha
Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President of GOPIO International who is also a Trustee of GOPIO-CT, while introducing, David Smith of Stamford Hospital as the recipient of the Friend of GOPIO and the Indian American community award, said, “For the first time, GOPIO-CT is recognizing an employee of an institution. Mr. Smith currently serves as Senior Vice President, Strategy and Chief Strategy and Network Development Officer at Stamford Health, Stamford, Connecticut. He has worked in the Health Care Sector for over 35 years. He is an ardent supporter of good health and healthy food habits. David has supported Indian American community for many years.” In his response, shared with the audience as to how he developed an increasing taste for India and the people from this large nation. He spoke about his close association with many people of Indian origin in the US.
GOPIO-CT President’s Young Professional Achiever Award was given to Roopa Modha, who has been working tirelessly to promote women’s issues using her legal expertise to further women’s causes. Her commitment is to empower women and bring the issues of domestic violence and rape into the public domain. In her passionate address, Modha hoped that “this award will inspire many more to join in the efforts to make a just world.” She urged the audience to “be passionate about making a positive impact on others.”
For the second year in a row, GOPIO-CT Scholarship for College Tuitions were given to Gunja Shah, a prospective student at Massachussetts College of Pharmacy; Tanusri Balla, entering University of Pennsylvania; Nikita Jaaswal, who has enrolled to begin her studies at University of California; and Sirin Vahora, another of two, who has been accepted into Norwalk Community College’s Nursing Program. GOPIO-CT Scholarship Committee consisted of Sanjay Santhanam (Chairman), Hari Srinivasan, Tara Sharma, and Priya Easwaran coordinated GOPIO-CT efforts and led the fundraising at the event to expand the scholarship to other parts of Connecticut in the coming years.
Proclamations from Governor Malloy, Mayor David Martin, and US Senator Richard Blumenthal to the awardees were read out at the awards ceremony. In welcoming the guests and dignitaries, Shelly Nichani, President of GOPIO-CT said “We are celebrating the achievements of five distinguished individuals and the award is a reflection of their remarkable accomplishments and commendable services.” He said, over the last ten years, GOPIO-CT has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future.
Congressman Jim Himes, who represents Connecticut’s 4th District in the United States House of Representatives, where he is serving his fourth term, said he was delighted to be at the event to honor the accomplishments of so many talented individuals. He complimented the Indian American community as the highly educated 3.2 million strong, making tremendous contributions to the economic quality of this country.
“You are the community. You are not part of the community,” Mayor David Martin told the Indian Americans. Pointing to the historic nature of the upcoming general elections in November, Mayor Martin urged the members to register and vote, and thus become ensure that your voices are heard.”
Photo: GOPIO-CT 2016 awardees with dignitaries and GOPIO-CT officials
Mayor Harry Rilling said “I am honored to be here to celebrate among friends and am thankful for the warm welcome the Indian community has always extended to me and my family.” He also congratulated GOPIO-CT for its 10 years of service and bringing the Indian community together.
Senator Blumenthal commented GOPIO-CT for its varied services to the community.
Niraj Baxi, the President of International GOPIO congratulated the awardees for “bringing honor to your Indian heritage. We are all very proud of you.” He said he was “delighted to be part of the celebration in Connecticut honoring distinguished Indian Americans and David Smith, a Friend of GOPIO.”
GOPIO OCEANIC REGION CHAPTERS CELEBRATE YOGA DAY
GOPIO Waikato Inc. marked the second International Day of Yoga in Hamilton. The day was celebrated on 19th June 2016 with great enthusiasm at the Hamilton Council Reception Lounge, under the guidance of High Commission of India Wellington. Kirikiriroa Multicultural Council Inc., GOPIO Waikato Inc., Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Life International Trust, and Art of Living all participated and will collaborate to mark the celebration each year in Hamilton.
Following a welcome message by Mr. Pradeep Kapoor, President GOPIO Waikato Inc., guests were treated to a movie sent by the Ministry of External Affairs India. The movie, a pictorial narration of the first celebration of International Yoga Day 2015, was full of messages by renowned yoga experts from around the globe and scenes of great celebrations in various countries.
Mrs. Suman Kapoor, GOPIO International Coordinator of the Oceanic Region, led a well received warm-up session in which a laughing yoga technique was used. A Seniors Well-Being talk was given by Roselyn Pillai Chitty, a cardiac nurse at Waikato Hospital. The distinguished guests, which included yoga teacher Mr. Matthew Smart of Iyengar Yoga, gave live demonstrations to a multicultural group of youth and seniors. Aloka Peacock commented, “Many participants will join regular classes soon and I came with a lot of anticipation and left with the feeling of joy, peace, and the love of life after witnessing Matthew Stewart’s demonstration of yoga.”
Photo 1: People assembling at the reception lounge in Waikato; Photo 2: Yoga day basket winners Rosy and Manjit with GOPIO Intl Coordinator Suman Kapoor Yoga teacher Matthew; Photo 3: Participants in yoga postures
In addition to the live demonstrations the day was filled with prayers in the Gurdwara, lunch, a tour of Korean Tea Garden at Gordonton, a raffle drawing and fruit distribution to all of the participants. The free event welcomed approximately 110 individuals from Hamilton, Morrinsvelle, Matamata and Auckland. With the presence of senior citizens from Auckland & local dignitaries the day was nothing short of a great celebration of life, peace, and harmony.
Similarly, the Canberra chapter of GOPIO organized a program on June 21st to observe the second International Day of Yoga. The evening included a key note speech “Yoga Today and in its Beginnings” and a panel discussion on the topic, “Yoga: More than Physical.” The event was held in collaboration with the High Commission of India (HCI), the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), the Yoga Mandir (BKS Iyengar Institute, Canberra) and the South Asia Research Institute of the Australian National University (ANU).
Dr. Rakesh Malhotra, President of the Canberra chapter, in his opening and welcome speech, emphasized the significance of the chapter facilitating the partnerships with the HCI, the UNIC Canberra, the Yoga Institute and the ANU, thus enabling Canberra to embrace the second International Day of Yoga. Included in the commemoration were free yoga lessons throughout the city, and a panel discussion in the evening reflecting on the topic, “Yoga: More than Physical,” with an emphasis on benefits of and the future of yoga for generations.
Indian High Commissioner Navdeep Suri addressed the gathering on how the initial resolution by the UN General Assembly to adopt the International Day of Yoga received more sponsors than any prior resolution thus recognizing the global appreciation of the benefits of yoga. He noted that many events were being held in Fiji, Australia and across the world on that day to mark the day.
In prefacing the message of the UN Secretary-General, UNIC Canberra Director, Mr. Christopher Woodthorpe spoke of the universal support for the promotion of yoga. With its holistic nature, yoga received universal commitment by the nations to new Sustainable Development Agenda, which also is holistic in character as it charts the way to a better world for all.
Photo above: Yoga day seminar audience
Following his keynote speech ‘Yoga Today and in its Beginnings’, Dr. Greg Bailey from La Trobe University, joined the panel debate, with Dr. Shameem Black of the ANU, Mr. Alan Goode, Director of Yoga Mandir, and Ms. Leanne Davis, President of Yoga Australia. Dr. Shameem Black facilitated the panel discussion through many questions ranging from the influence of yoga as religious practice to yoga’s contribution to health and wellness, as well as the evolving challenges in teaching yoga in the future with expectations of more than just physical benefits. While the panel recognized the growing influence of yoga across the world, as many see it as a physical activity, all three argued for the importance of yoga teachings staying firmly planted in its cultural roots.
Photo above: GOPIO Canberra EC members with partners and key speakers – Mrs Sneh Dang (Director, Women), Mrs Shilpi Bindra (MC), Dr Mohan Singh (Director, Health and Ageing) , Mr Ashok Jain (Treasurer), Mr Anil Gupta (Secretary), Dr Shameem Black (ANU), Dr Greg Bailey (Key Speaker – LaTrobe University), Dr Rakesh Malhotra (President), Mr Alan Goode (Director, Yoga Mandir), Ms Leanne Davis (President, Yoga Australia) and Mr Christopher Woodthorpe (Director, UNIC Canberra)
GOPIO’s Oceania International Coordinator Suman Kapoor congratulated the chapter on having successfully met another milestone. She sent her regrets for her inability to join the event in Canberra.
COMMUNITY CELEBRATES AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE AND INDIAN AMERICAN HERITAGE
California: America’s Independence was celebrated by the Indian American community of Southern California on July 4th at the Amaya Lounge in Buena Park. With over 120 people in attendance, the celebration included a seminar paying tribute to pioneers, patriots, and Gadar heroes. The event was sponsored by the Indian American Heritage Foundation in a joint effort with GOPIO-Los Angelea, GOPIO-Orange County, GOPIO-Inland Empire, NFIA, Rajput Association of America, India Association of Inland Empire, India Association of Los Angeles, Apna Punjabi Group, and UFICA.
Inder Singh, former Chairman of GOPIO Int’l, shared the history of America’s independence from the British which resulted in the signing of The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. He also detailed the suffering and hardship which the 56 people who signed the declaration had to endure. Those in attendance were appreciative to learn of early US history. Other topics covered included, “Early Indian Immigration and Settlement Problems”, “Fight for India Independence (Gadar Movement)”, “Struggle for US Citizenship”, “Indian Community Contributions to India and the USA”, and “Indian Americans Who Made India and Indian Americans Proud.”
GOPIO International Treasurer Kewal Kanda, speaking on the settlement problems of early immigrants, said that most Indians, primarily Punjabis, came to the United States in search of better economic opportunities. However they experienced discrimination and racial prejudice from the American people. Upon graduation Indian students were not able to get jobs commensurate with their high qualifications. Indian community activists began lobbying elected representatives for the grant of citizenship. It was a long, hard struggle, however in 1946 the US Congress passed a bill granting the right of citizenship to 100 Indian nationals annually. President Truman signed the bill into law on July 2, 1946.
Navin Gupta acknowledged the contributions of Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon who gifted $100 million to NYU’s School of Engineering in 2015, Dr. Amar Bose, founder of the Bose Corporation, who gave a majority of company stock to MIT in 2011, and Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur with net worth of $2.8 billion, who has signed the Giving Pledge dedicating 80% of his wealth towards philanthropy.
Photo: Indian Heritage Day Celebrated in Southern California – GOPIO organizers and speakers
Inder Singh also mentioned Nobel Prize winners Har Gobind Khorana, Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, Amartya Sen and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan. He acknowledged the contributions of political leaders Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Dalip Singh Saund and Ami Bera, and many others in various fields.
The celebration ended with a vote of thanks by Abdulgani Shaikh.
GOPIO INVESTIGATES ON THE COMPLAINTS ON CONVERSION OF PIO CARD TO OCI CARD
As per GOPIO Life Member Mr. Santosh C. Verma(Diamond Bar, CA), author of ‘How to Achieve Worldwide Prosperity and Peace,’ Govt. of India had announced through gazette notification that the PIO Card was now deemed as an OCI. Despite that, many PIO card holders are suffering as unnecessarily complicated requirements have been set in place for converting PIO cards to an OCI.
Mr. Verma said that Mr. B.C. Joshi, Vice Consul (OCI) at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco had told him that as of now, the existing PIO Cards were valid for the life of the holders. They can get an endorsement placed in the PIO Card, and if there is any change in the rules of OCI/PIO Cards, the same will be notified in the Websites of the Ministry of Home Affairs/Embassies/Consulates.
As per Mr. Verma’s understanding, PIO cards will be considered equivalent to an OCI, and that when a PIO card holder would land at the Indian airport, a lifelong stamp would be affixed on his/her PIO card and passport.However, that does not happen. Mr. Verma says that there is a deadline, but no one seems to know about it.When he went to the CKGS web site, the instructions were very complex, the print was too small, and the application had to be completed online. He says that before CKGS was contracted to do the work, the Consulate was doing it, a VISA camp was held in Los Angeles almost every month, and paper forms were readily available. Today, there are many PIOs who have still not received there OCI for after a year, and their applications are being rejected again and again. They have paid money three times but have not received any refunds. If one searches on HELP for complaints against CKGS, they will find many complaints. Even Cox and Kings (CKGS) has many complaints about the process, they do not even refund the money, and are un-responsive to inquiries.Moreover,Mr. Verma is not aware of a channel where one can submit a complaint.
Mr. Verma requests that there should be hard copies of the forms as many do not know how to complete forms online because of a language problem, old age, etc., and that the Consulate General should stamp it as per prior instructions.
GOPIO forwarded Mr. Verma’s emails to the Indian Consulate in New York.
Dr. Manoj K. Mohapatra, Deputy Consul General at the Consulate General of India in New York responded as follows:
The deadline for receiving application for conversion of PIO to OCI has been extended to December 31, 2016. Only the copies of the original passport and PIO card are required for this conversion.
There is no fee except the processing and courier fees charged by CKGS. Dr. Mohapatra also mentioned that the Consulate General of India, New York would be the first Consulate where the OCI card in lieu would be printed at its own facility.
PRESIDENT OBAMA NOMINATES INDIAN AMERICAN KAMALA SHIRIN LAKHBIR AS US AMBASSADOR MALAYSIA
President Barack Obama has nominated an Indian American member of the Foreign Service, Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir, to be the Ambassador of Malaysia. If she is appointed, she will be the fourth Indian-American in the US Foreign Service nominated by the Obama administration. Ms Lakhdir was the Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2011 to 2015; earlier she was the U.S. Consul General in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has also worked in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs as the Director of the Office of Maritime Southeast Asia and as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Ms. Lakhdhir has been a Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China and has served as a Pearson Fellow in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee and the House Financial Services Committee, Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee. Since joining the Foreign Service in 1991, Ms Lakhdhir has also served as a Political Officer in Indonesia, a Consular Officer in Saudi Arabia and was the Deputy Coordinator of the Taiwan Coordination Staff in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Ms. Lakhdhir received a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.S. from the National War College.
FOUR INDIAN AMERICANS INCLUDING GOOGLE CHIEF SUNDER PICHAI HONORED WITH “GREAT IMMIGRANTS AWARD”
Four Indian-Americans, including Google CEO, Sunder Pichai, are among 42 eminent professionals were honored with a “Prestigious Immigrants” award for their role in strengthening the country and its democratic society. Among the others were National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author Bharati Mukherjee, PBS News Hour Anchor and Senior Correspondent Hari Sreenivasan, McKinsey’s Chairman of the Americas Vikram Malhotra and Sundar Pichai. They have been awarded the Carnegie Corporation’s ‘Great Immigrants: The Pride of America’ honor. Since 2006, each year this philanthropic foundation has recognized the contributions of naturalized citizens with this initiative.
The Tamil Nadu-born Sundar Pichai was named CEO of Google in August last year. Ms Mukherjee is professor emerita in the Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley and won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1988 for her work ‘The Middleman and Other Stories’.
Mr. Malhotra leads McKinsey’s practices in North America and Latin America and had joined the global consulting firm in 1986. He also serves as a Trustee of The Conference Board, Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania), as well as a Trustee Emeritus of the Asia Society.
The honors were announced ahead of the American Independence Day celebrations on July 4, as a tribute to the “Role immigrants play in strengthening our country and our democratic society.”
TWO INDIAN AMERICAN PROFESSORS NAMED 2016-’17 JEFFERSON SCIENCE FELLOWS
Two Indian American professors, University of Maryland Prof. Sumant Nigam and Wright State University Prof. Sharmila Mukhopadhyayhave been named 2016-2017 Jefferson Science Fellows by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The innovative Fellows Program engages the nation’s academic scientists, engineers and physicians in U.S. foreign policy.
Dr. Nigam is a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center at the University of Maryland and. He chairs the Climate Variability and Change Committee of the American Meteorological Society and the Advisory Panel for the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory. He also serves on the International Commission on Dynamical Meteorology. Nigam is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. He has a Master’s degree in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in geophysical fluid dynamics from Princeton University, after which he held a postdoctoral position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Mukhopadhyay is a Wright State University professor of Materials Science and Engineering. She is a nanotechnology researcher who has focused her research on the intersection of nanotechnology and nano-biosciences. It includes the design of safe and sustainable nano-materials for energy, environment and biomedical applications. Dr. Mukhopadhyay obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. from Cornell University.
INDIAN AMERICANS PART OF PENTAGON’S MILITARY IT VENTURE
Raj Shahand Vishal Hariprasad were appointed by Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter to leadership positions for the Pentagon’s center in Silicon Valley aimed at innovation in IT solutions for the military. Shah and Hariprasad along with two others will report to Carter as part of the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) project.
According to Carter, “Because the missions now assigned to DIUx are far broader than any one person can oversee, I’m establishing a partnership-style leadership structure for DIUx, one that includes technologists, investors, and business executives.”
Most recently Shah was the Senior Director of Strategy at Palo Alto Networks. Previously he was CEO and Co-founder of a cyber-security company acquired in 2014. Asan F-16 pilot in the US Air Force, he has completed multiple combat tours and is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and an affiliate at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC).
Hariprasad is an Iraq War veteran who earned the Bronze Star Medal. He is the former Technical Co-founder and Director of Software Engineering for Morta Security. He was a Cyberspace Operations Officer for the Air Force and National Security Agency and has served numerous combat deployments
CRAIN’S NEW YORK BUSINESS MAGAZINE NAMES 6 INDIAN AMERICANS AMONG ’40 UNDER 40′ FOR THEIR ACHIVEMENTS
Crain’s New York Business Magazine unveiled its 2016 list of “40 Under 40 Class”, which names 6 Indian Americans from different walks of life including immigrant affairs, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, governance, etc. in New York. They are:
Nisha Agarwal, commissioner in the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in New York City
Sarita James, CEO of Embark, a New York based education software company
Miki Agrawal, CEO and cofounder of Thinx, which provides menstrual protections to women
Gurinder Sangha, a serial entrepreneur, attorney, founder of Lit IQ and Intelligize
Kal Vepuri, founder and chairman of Brainchild, a New York based investment firm
Payal Kadakia, founder of Class Pass and artistic director of the Sa Dance Company
Nisha Agarwal has pledged to put an end to all prejudices faced by new immigrants in the United States. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she along with a judge of a U.S. Court of Appeals, formed the Immigrant Justice Corps, a nonprofit body of lawyers to help immigrants with legal advice. She also serves on the board of directors of Gotham Health Center, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation for various causes.
Sarita James is the CEO of Embark, an education technology company in New York. A computer science graduate from Harvard University and an MBA from Oxford, Ms. James was one of the White House Fellows in 2008. Her company, Embark, helps young scholars to process applications to colleges and universities. She is also a board member of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and is writing a book, ‘Family of Equations’, about how she grew up as an immigrant in Indiana.
Miki Agrawal works towards the causes related to women’s health. A Cornell University graduate and one of the Top Millenials on a Mission by Forbes, she cofounded Thinx to help women with menstrual solutions such as period-proof innerwear. Ms. Agrawal is also determined to break social taboos about menstruation. Her venture has helped to send 30,000 girls back to school till date, in underdeveloped regions. Thinx was one of the 25 Best Inventions of 2015 awarded by Time Magazine.
Gurinder Sangha is a serial entrepreneur and attorney. Currently he is the founding director of Intelligize, a software company empowering legal and financial professionals with technology to produce reports and documents in a cost-effective fashion. He is a member of the New York State Bar Association. Sangha has also worked as a capital markets attorney for Sherman & Sterling in New York City.
KalVepuri is an angle investor. The founder and chairman of Brainchild, an investment firm, he has invested in about 100 companies so far. Since 2014, his company has been the launching pad for three businesses. He has a triple major in electrical engineering, computer science and economics from Duke University.
Payal Kadakia cofounded ClassPass to promote dance-based workout programs for health and fitness across gyms and studios. Trained in Indian Classical and folk dance forms, she also owns and runs The Sa Dance Company, a contemporary Indian dance company. She has been featured in several South Asian publications for her achievements.
INDIAN AMERICANS STUDENTS SWEEP NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BEE CONTEST
Sixth-grader, Rishi Nair maintained the record of Indian-Americans winning the National Geographic Bee for the fifth consecutive year. At the 28th annual National Geographic headquarters, the first three positions of the finals of this championship were also secured by Indian-American students.
While Rishi received a $50,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, Saketh Jonnalagadda won a $25,000 college scholarship as the runner-up and the third place went to Kapil Nathan who won a $10,000 college scholarship.
The seven other finalists, who each won $500, were Grace Rembert, Rishi Kumar, Pranay Varada , Lucas Eggers, Samanyu Dixit, Thomas Wright and Ashwin Sivakumar.
Indian-American students have consistently performed exceptionally well at various bee competitions over the years, as can be seen by their winning 13 of the past 17 Spelling Bee competitions.
INDIAN AMERICAN APPOINTED TO DEMOCRATIC PARTY’S POLICY PANEL
Indian-American Neera Tanden, a long-time associate of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, has been appointed by the Democratic party to a Drafting Committee. She is currently the CEO of the Center for American Progress, a top US think-tank and may be appointed as a cabinet member if Clinton is elected as the US president.
Tanden is the only Indian-American in this committee which is responsible for developing and managing the process through which the Democratic Party’s National Platform is established. Tanden was the policy director for Clinton’s campaign in 2008 and a key protagonist in developing President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform proposals, the Affordable Care Act.
INDIANS IN SINGAPORE WIN YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS AWARD
The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) awarded two Indians and an Indian-origin Singaporean for developing a mobile phone-based solution for teaching English to elementary school students. This solution is targeted to students from low-income families who do not speak English at home and are therefore not sufficiently exposed to the language.
Pramodh Rai, Ankita Gupta, and Priya Andleigh developed this learning solution “Jugnu” that helps students to learn basic English grammar and some vocabulary. The students are asked questions over the phone and a customized program is developed according to their needs.
This program, which started with an initial cost of SGD 5,000 has been tested successfully in three Delhi schools and now Rai, Gupta and Andleigh plan to register it as a business in Singapore. They also plan to implement this program in many other Indian states and in the rest of Asia. This team will receive SGD 10,000 in funding and will get a chance to work with an international firm to further hone their business skills.
INDIAN-AMERICAN TEEN WINS INTEL YOUNG SCIENTIST AWARD
Indian-American, Syamantak Payra, 15 has won the prestigious ‘Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award’ for developing a low-cost, electronically-aided, knee brace that allows a person with a weak leg to walk more naturally. He along with Kathy Liu was awarded $50,000 by Intel Corporation and the Society for Science and the Public (SSP) at the 2016 ‘Intel International Science and Engineering Fair’ in Arizona.
Maya Ajmera, SSP president and chief executive lauded their efforts with “We congratulate them not only for their success, but on their dedication and hard work. They and the rest of the Intel ISEF finalists are the rising stars of STEM and we look forward to watching them pursue their passions and in turn make the world a better place for future generations”
Five other Indian Americans also figured in the 22 “Best of Category” winners and each received a USD 5,000 prize. They were Rajeev Jha (Behavioral and Social Sciences), Marissa Sumathipala (Cellular and Molecular Biology), Swetha Revanur (Computational Biology and Bioinformatics), Tiasha Joardar (Energy Physical) and Prashant Godishala (Translational Medical Science).
NRIs and PIOs NEWS FEATURES
MOON EXPRESS: GOPIO LIFE MEMBER NAVEEN JAIN TO LAUNCH FIRST COMMERCIAL SPACE MISSION
American-led space startup Moon Express has received approval from the United States to embark on the first commercial space mission beyond Earth’s orbit. The Mountain View, CA-headquartered company was co-founded by GOPIO Life Member, Naveen Jain in 2010 and with the government’s backing, it hopes to send 20 pounds of scientific hardware to the moon, by the end of 2017.
The approval by the government is historic, since it is the first time that a private company will venture outside Earth’s orbit. It also sets a precedence for legal and diplomatic agencies on how they ensure similar non-governmental projects to comply with international space treaties. This mission got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, the White House, NASA and the State Department, since it is subject to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
The initial mission set forth by Moon Express will be “one-way,” Jain said, adding the company wants to be sure the hardware and software is working properly. Apart from collecting information about the moon, the crux of the mission is to show people that anything is possible.
While on the moon, Moon Express hopes to conduct experiments such as refilling rocket fuel and mining for elements and minerals. Jain hopes that other companies will build on those experiments, leading to unforeseeable breakthroughs. He told India-West that if people need to live outside Earth, the best place could be the moon, since it is relatively near (See I-W Aug. 10, 2011 http://bit.ly/1Of9eFd.).
According to its website, Moon Express is developing innovative, flexible and scalable new robotic spacecraft that will radically reduce the cost of space exploration and unlock the mysteries and resources of the moon. Jain hopes to build an autonomous vehicle that will land on the moon and explore it. He feels that this spacecraft may be able to bring platinum, gold and silver back from the moon and be a marketers’ dream and in future be a place for people to live and spend vacations.
Jain has a Bachelor’s degree from IIT Roorkee and an M.B.A. from XLRI Jamshedpur. He is the founder and CEO of Bellevue, WA -based BlueDot; he is also a columnist, contributor and mentor at Forbes, WSJ and the Huffington Post. Additionally, he founded and previously served as CEO at both Intelius and Infospace, and is also currently serving on the board of trustees at XPRIZE and is on the board of directors at Singularity University.
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
KERALA’S RETURNING NRIs CAN APPLY FOR SUBSIDIZED LOANS UP TO RS. 20 LAKHS FOR STARTING BUSINESS
It has been learned that the Kerala’s Norka Dept. Project for Returning Emigrants (NDPREM) has issued a plan for returning NRIs. Accordingly, those who spent two years and above abroad are eligible for a loan of 20 Lakhs at very low interest rate (with Gov’t. subsidy of 3 Lakhs) to commence business in India.
UK’s new immigration policy that intends to limit the number of migrants living in UK, is poised to deliver a fatal blow to the National Health Service (NHS) by deporting many Indian nurses, currently working there. If levels of recruitment stay the same, by 2020, 6,620 nurses (most of them from India) will be impacted, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
According to the new rules, a nurse can remain in the UK only if she or he earns a minimum of £35,000 a year (the salary of a senior nurse). Since the majority of nurses will not earn this salary within six years, up to 3,365 nurses currently working in the UK may have to leave the country in 2017, as a result of the changes in the 2012 immigration law.
Unfortunately, the NHS has already spent over £20 million recruiting the 3,365 nurses already working in the UK who may have to return home because they are unlikely to meet the income threshold. If recruitment from outside Europe were to continue, by 2020 employers may have invested nearly £180 million on recruiting nurses who may have to leave the UK after six years. Dr. Peter Carter, Chief Executive of the RCN felt that the UK would be sending away nurses who have contributed to the health service for six years. The skills and knowledge of these nurses would be lost and the money spent on their training would be wasted. Losing their skills and knowledge and then having to start the cycle again and recruit new nurses to replace them, is completely illogical.
UK’s loss however could be India’s gain. According to the World Bank, there was a shortage in India of 2.4 million nurses in 2012 and this trend is only likely to worsen.An Indian community spokesman said, “India will benefit by the skills that the UK trained nurses will bring back to India”
OVERSEAS INDIAN VISITORS TO ENJOY E-VISA PLUS IMPROVED PILGRIMAGE SITES
The new E-Visa will be a boon to overseas Indians. This visa is identified electronically by the airline, while the passengers check in and then checked by an Immigration Officer when they arrive at their destination. Therefore it is much quicker than the traditional paper visa, inserted into passports. This electronic visa is one of the announcements made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget on 10 July 2014. He said this system will be implemented within the next six months for a number of countries that send the maximum number of tourists to India (UK, USA, Russia, France and Germany) at nine airports.
Customs clearance will also be easier because a free travel allowance of goods worth Rs. 45,000, has been announced. This is an increase of Rs. 10,000/-. This allowance does not include personal effects including a laptop or a tablet, a mobile phone, a camera, a pair of binoculars, etc.
The improvement of tourist sites was also announced in the Budget. The sites slated for improvement were Amritsar (known for its Golden Temple, holy place for Sikhs), Mathura (venerated by Hindus as the birthplace of Lord Krishna) and Ajmer, place of the shrine of the Sufi saint, Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti revered by Muslims and Hindus. Also, two sites in South India, Kanchipuram a temple city and Vellakuram, a typical village near Chennai.
The Buddhist circuit of Sarnath-Gaya-Varanasi will be developed with an investment of Rs 100 crore to provide world-class facilities to pilgrims. Cleaning up the Ganges is also a major project for the government. Five new tourist circuits with specific themes will be developed with an investment of Rs. 500 crores. This project will be complemented with a Rs. 100 crore program, National Mission on Pilgrim Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) for heritage and tourism cities.
Tourism contributed 6.6 per cent to the national income (GDP) and created 39.5 million jobs and 6.58 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2012. With these initiatives, India hopes to attract many more tourists and increase tourism earnings in foreign exchange.
SWAB FOR SHIBU
Airman First Class Shibu of the US Air Force is a loving son, brother and uncle. In April 2016, he ws diagnosed with MDS, a disorder of the marrow, whichproduces unhealthy blood cells.
Register as a donor to help Shibu and thousands like him in search of a matching donor and donate if you come up as a match. Shibu’s best hope is finding a South Asian match. Register at http://www.samarinfo.org.
Contact: SAMAR Head Office, Rafiya Peerbhoy Khan or Moazzam Ali Khan, 104-70 Suite 312, Forest Hills, NY 11375, Tel: (718) 592-0821.
GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION
GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.
GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and 2/3 of the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.
GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world, so as to network with people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have a chapter in your city, please visit the GOPIO website (www.gopio.net) and get details of chapter initiation (visithttp://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). This process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:
GOPIO Chairman – Dr. Thomas Abraham, Stamford, Connecticut, USA, Tel: +1-203-329-8010, E-mail: email@example.com
GOPIO President – Niraj Baxi, San Jose, California, USA, Tel: 408-307-9845, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO Intl. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editor: Nami Kaur (New York, USA)
Associate Editor: Layla Matthew (Bangalore, India) and Ila Rosengarten (Denver, CO, USA)
Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)
Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation, USA), Dr. Pradip Kumar Sewoke (International Coordinator for Europe), Jean Regis Ramsamy, President, GOPIO-Reunion Saint Denis, Reunion Island),Mehen Poinoosawmy (President, GOPIO France Paris Nord, Paris, France), Pradeep Kapoor (President GOPIO Waikato Inc., New Zealand), Dr. Rakesh Malhotra (President, GOPIO-Canberra, Australia)
GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter.
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