Inder Singh, Chairman of Global
Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) shares his views about Pravasi
Bharatiya Divas and various issues concerning the overseas Indian community
does Pravasi Bharatiya Divas mean to NRIs and PIOs?
Bharatiya Divas (PBDs) is a major effort by the government to reconnect
NRIs/PIOs with the land of their forefathers.
successful has been the PBDs in bridging the gaps between the Indians residing
here and abroad?
the last few years, over 1000 people from various parts of the world spend
their own time and money to participate in the annual PBD event which has
provided a platform for Deshvasis and Pravasis to network among themselves and
build relationships. Along with the main PBD organized by Ministry of Overseas
Indian Affairs (MOIA), many states take advantage of the home-coming of the
Pravasis and organize their own similar gatherings to attract them to their
states. In fact, some of the state events are becoming more popular as Pravasis
can easily relate to people and places in their home states which also offer
free participation for the attendees.
does the Diasporic community need from India and vice-versa?
bureaucracy moves at a snail’s speed. Policy announcements made at PBD raise
hopes among the Diaspora but take years to implement and hence lead to
disappointment. Issues that are of concern to the diaspora go unaddressed in
spite of repeated requests and resolutions.
Many NRIs have inherited property and several NRIs/PIOs have purchased
properties but they have unresolved property related issues e.g. illegal
occupation of land/flats/apartments/houses by unscrupulous persons, delayed
handing over of the promised flats/apartments by builders/realtors/property
dealers, delay in the settlement of related court cases etc. In spite of
repeated demands for changes in property related laws, setting up of fast track
courts, etc. to address the problems facing NRIs/PIOs, Indian Government has
not done anything so far.
This year, MOIA has put up this hot issue for discussion as one of the PBD
seminars on Jan 7, 2010. It is hoped that the deliberations at the seminar can
lead to some concrete steps in resolving the property related issues of the
does GOPIO channelize NRI interests in India?
its inception, GOPIO has been promoting awareness and understanding of NRI
issues and concerns -- social, cultural, educational, economic, or political.
GOPIO also provides an active and well recognized platform for discussion and
deliberation to the worldwide Indian Diaspora and to further advance that
objective, GOPIO has been at the forefront to network the globally spread
overseas Indian community by regularly organizing conferences in various parts
of the world and establishing chapters in various countries. During the last
six years alone, GOPIO has organized twelve international conferences. These
GOPIO conferences and conventions help bring the Indian Diaspora closer to
mother India and strengthen the inherent bonds of history, heritage, culture
and tradition. After all, the destiny of India's Diaspora, in many ways, is
intertwined inextricably with India.
its inception in 2003, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has taken a number of decisions
keeping the Diasporic community in mind. Explain the baggage of bouquets and
brickbats which the Government is carrying.
has taken many far reaching decisions benefitting the overseas Indians.
Overseas Citizenship of India (OIC) scheme, establishment of Indian
Facilitation Center, PIO university, formation of Prime Minister’s Global
Advisory Council of PIOs, Internship program for Indian youth, Scholarship
program for university education for PIO children and bilateral social security
agreements with various foreign governments are just a few of the many laudable
schemes and programs which have been implemented.
But many demands of the NRI community still need the attention of the
government. One such demand pertains to their right to vote in an election.
Many countries provide opportunities for their overseas citizens to participate
in the election process of their countries. India is yet to establish a
mechanism to provide such an opportunity
for its citizens numbering about 9.2
million of the 25 million Indian Diaspora. Thus India is depriving all
citizens from the exercise of their rights to vote in elections held
and central offices. GOPIO has been urging the Government of India to
allow NRIs to exercise their right to cast the absentee vote and to
initiate a process of providing voting rights, through a constitutional
necessary, to Indian citizens living outside India.
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Chairman of the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), Dr. Yesu Persaud,
has been awarded his second honorary degree in just over a year.
This time, the businessman has been bestowed a Degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris
Causa) by the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and
In July 2008, the University of Warwick awarded a Degree of Doctor of Letters
(Honoris Causa) to Dr Persaud. Dr Persaud was among five prominent others who were conferred Honorary Degrees
by UWI on October 31.
The proceedings included a cocktail reception held especially for the five
persons to be awarded Doctorates. At this reception each of the five persons
were presented with a ring made of gold with an amethyst stone with the
Dr Persaud has been hailed for his business contributions to Guyana and the
region.He was the brain behind the formation of Guyana’s first indigenous private
sector bank, Demerara Bank Limited, which opened in 1994.
He also holds numerous positions in other organisations. He is the Chairman of
Trust Company (Guyana) Limited, and Guyana Unit Trust — a mutual fund — and was
the man behind Diamond Fire and General Insurance Company. But perhaps one of
the more notable was the formation of the Institute of Private Enterprise
Development (IPED) which at a critical juncture of Guyana’s history in 1985,
provided an opening for small enterprises to gain access to finance. IPED has
been hailed as a major success story in Guyana and by 2005, had funded over
35,000 businesses with over 50,000 loans.
He is also one of the founding members of the Global Organisation of People of
Indian Origin (GOPIO), which was established in New York in 1989. In addition
to being Vice President of GOPIO International, he is also Vice President of
GOPIO’s Caribbean Chapter.
He has been serving as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Chile for many
years. In 1981, he was awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement, a national honour, for
the expansion of the distilling industry in Guyana. In 1983, he received the
Cacique’s Crown of Honour for developing many new industries.
He also bagged the Gandhi Organisation Plaque and other awards for his
contribution to the Hindu Dharma, and the list goes on.
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