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|MOIA MINISTER RAVI PAYS TRIBUTES AT INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY IN SURINAME
Minister Vayalar Ravi of Government of India's Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) on June 4, 2007 paid tribute to the first arrivals of Indians in Suriname by laying a wreath at the Mai-Baap sculpture in Paramaribo, Suriname. The sculpture representing a male and female Indian indentured laborers was erected in June 5, 1993 at the site of depot where the first ship on June 5, 1873 unloaded the first of many batches of indentured laborers in the subsequent years until 1917 when the practice was abolished.
"We will always remember their sacrifices and the hardships the faced", said Min Ravi as he acknowledged the difficulties encountered by the Indian indentured laborers in Suriname and elsewhere in the Indian Diaspora. The tribute by Min. Ravi at the Mai-Baap sculpture and previously at Commewijne where 24 Indians were killed were scheduled and coordinated by Krishna Nandoe, Harold Ramdhani and other executives of GOPIO of Suriname chapter. GOPIO International included President Inder Singh and Secretary General Ashook Ramsaran, as well as Chairman Yesu Persaud of GOPIO of Guyana and Life Member Dr Chan Misier of the Netherlands.
The tribute at Mai-Baap was followed that evening by a well attended GOPIO of Suriname Indian Arrival Dinner where Min. Ravi was the guest of honor and attended by several prominent members of government, business and civic organizations. Dr Chan Misier presented his new book titled Spirituality to Min. Ravi, Amb. Sharma, Mr. Inder Singh and others
|INDIAN EMPIRE POLL RESULT: GOPIO MOST KNOWN NRI-PIO BODY
India Empire, a monthly magazine published in New Delhi with focus on worldwide NRI-PIO community, last month conducted a comprehensive poll about several current issues as the most known organization that is best serving the interests of the Indian Diaspora, or is there a need to shift the Pravasi Bharatiya Divastowards thesecond half / end of December when more overseas Indians are present in India
"The poll was taken by a significantly large number of respondents from all over the world (about 30 countries). The findings reiterate GOPIO's undoubted clout as a Diaspora body, its primacy of position among Diaspora bodies, the quality of its leadership, the pioneering role it plays in taking up valid issues related to overseas Indians," says Sayantan Chakravarty, editor and publisher of INDIA EMPIRE. "Equally significantly, nearly 4 in every 5 person who took the poll said that there was a need to shift the dates of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and hold it in late December, rather then the second week of January," he continued.
The broad findings of the poll are given below:
Which according to you is the most known body in the world that is best serving the interests of the Indian diaspora across the world?
Indian Forum 1.75%
Do you think the induction of Dr Shashi Tharoor into GOPIO will add to the credibility of this powerful organization?
Can't Say 13.56%
Do you think the GOPIO's role in taking up, and dealing with issues related to Indians in Trinidad and Tobago and Fiji has been timely and satisfactory?
Can't Say 15.79%
Is it time that the Government of India worked more closely with any single diaspora body like the GOPIO to increase both business and cultural opportunities between overseas Indians and India?
Can't Say 5.36%
Is there a need to shift the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas towards the second half / end of December when more overseas Indians are present in India (as opposed to the second week of January)?
Can't Say 7.14%
Is there a need to make the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas more investment-oriented?
Can't Say 7.02%
Do you think the GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) is playing a proactive role in recognizing the efforts of the Indian Diaspora worldwide, and helping lobby better with the Indian Government?
Can't Say 10.34%
For more information, contact: Sayantan Chakravarty, Editor, Indian Empire, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.indiaempire.com
|US SENATOR OBAMA APPOLOGIZES TO INDIAN AMERICANS
A campaign memo from US Senator Barack Obama attracted the ire of the Indian American community in poking fun at Democratic Primary's leading candidate Senator Hillary Clinton headlined "Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)'s Personal Financial and Political Ties to India. The reference to Punjab was from Clinton herself, who joked last year at a fundraiser hosted by Indian Americans she could "certainly run for the Senate seat in Punjab and win easily."
The Indian American community campaigned against this memo which resulted in an apology from Senator Obama. In a letter, Obama later said the memo was "stupid" and offensive to Indian Americans. Senator Obama acknowledged that the memo was a mistake and that he was not aware of the contents prior to its distribution.
The memo tried to kick up dirt around Bill and Hillary Clinton's former investments in Munjal-owned Easy Bill, her fundraising among Indian Americans and the $3,00,000 Bill Clinton had received in speech fees from Cisco.
The memo stressed that Cisco had shipped hundreds of American jobs to India. In short, the memo tried to build a case that the Clinton investment portfolio showed telltale signs of being "pro-outsourcing, pro-India."
|A SINGLE WINDOW FOR OVERSEAS INDIAN INVESTMENTS IN INDIA
The government of India has recently launched an Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) to help overseas Indians to invest in India. Speaking at the launch function, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, said that there are 25 million Overseas Indians spread across 130 countries. The objective of the single window OIFC is to promote overseas Indian investment in India and to facilitate business-to-business partnership between Indian businesses and overseas Indians. The Center would also function as a clearing house for all investment-related information; assist states in India to promote investment opportunities to overseas Indians in the infrastructure and social sectors, and to provide a host of advisory services to PIOs and NRIs.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is the private sector partner to administer this not-for-profit neutral trust. Minister Ravi also launched a website www.oifc.in for the new Facilitation Centre, which will provide reliable data on investment opportunities.
The new trust will have a two-tier body for management - a governing council and an executive directorate. The MOIA secretary will be the chairman of the governing council while the CII director-general will be the vice-chairman.
|GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
GOPIO IRELAND TO BE INAUGURATED ON JULY 29TH
The all Ireland Chapter of the GOPIO will be officially inaugurated on Sunday at 6.30 p.m., 29th July, 2007 in Dublin. The newest GOPIO Europe unit will cover all 32 counties of island of Ireland. GOPIO Ireland chapter will be unique since it will unite PIO and NRI communities from two states with different cultural traditions in a single organization to reflect changing political climate in Ireland after a long troublesome period.
Inauguration will take place in the magnificent St Patrick's Hall in the historical Government building of Dublin Castle. The St Patrick's Hall has been a venue for a number of major EU meetings during Irish Presidency of the European Union in the past. It was also the birth place of Anglo-Irish agreement that culminated in devolution and the power sharing government in Northern Ireland.
The Chairman of the GOPIO International Dr. Thomas Abraham will be present at this event. The organizers have also invited Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayala Ravi and Deputy Minister for External Affairs Anand Sharma who has the responsibility for EU in the ministry. Two ministers from Ireland are also invited to the function, Mr Michael Martin, Irish Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Minister Tom Kitt, Government Chief Whip.
Our other invited guests will include a few Members of the European Parliament, EU and UK GOPIO officials, leading PIO and NRI persons and representatives from the Government establishments in Ireland, UK and the European Union.
Similar to other GOPIO chapters, GOPIO Ireland will be a non-partisan secular organization engaged in promoting the well being of people of Indian origin and enhancing their contribution and cooperation in the island of Ireland.
Lord Diljit Rana of Malone, Executive vice-president of GOPIO international is also chairman of GOPIO Ireland and can be contacted at email@example.com.
Dr Prabhu Kulkarni, India Director of Asia Trade Forum of the Irish Exporters Association is the chapter president, E-mail: Prabhu.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Satish Kumar, Lecturer, School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology, Queen's University Belfast is Hon Secretary, E-mail: email@example.com
Those interested to attend the inaugural bash may contact any one of the officers.
GOPIO CHAPTER INITIATED IN ST. VINCENT'S
A GOPIO chapter has been initiated in St. Vincent's in the Caribbean, the island nation with a population of 118,000 of which approximately 6% are of Indian Origin. This chapter formulation resulted from initiatives made in 2006 with St. Vincent and the Grenadines Indian Heritage Foundation (SVGIHF) by GOPIO International Secretary General Ashook Ramsaran. That was followed by the visit of GOPIO International delegation (President Inder Singh and Secretary General Ashook Ramsaran, Trinidad IAD Coordinator Dr Vijay Ramlal) and Minister Vayalar Ravi of Government of India Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) to commemorate the 146th anniversary of the Indian Arrival in St. Vincent's.
GOPIO of St. Vincent's executive is comprised of: President: Mr. Elmore Gaymes; Vice President: Mr. Branson Thomas; Secretary: Ms. Jannis Deane; Treasurer: Mrs. Cheryl Rodriguez. The foundation has had previous affiliation with GOPIO in the recent past as Dr. Arnold Thomas, Vincentian Historian and International Liaison Officer was emissary to the last GOPIO conference in New Delhi on January 7, 2007.
In the Letter of Intent (LOI) to GOPIO International, Secretary Ms. Jannis Deane stated that, "we intend to collaborate our efforts with other GOPIO chapters in the Caribbean and in the global Indian Diaspora to bring about a renewed sense of belonging and to further deeper relations among PIOs of SVG". The statement continued, "We will also continue to strive to meet our goals and objectives which are to research and preserve our heritage, reconnect to our ancestry, educate, sensitize, and foster historic-cultural appreciation among our people through dance, dress, culinary arts and other cultural aspects, to also re-establish the cultural practices which our ancestors brought to our country 146 years ago".
Contact: Jannis Dean, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO CHICAGOLAND KICKS OFF FUND RAISING CAMPAIGN FRO SENIORS' PROJECT
On June 24th, GOPIO Chicagoland kicked off a campaign to raise funds for a seniors' project to be operated by Apna Ghar, Chicago. The project to be known as "South Asian Seniors House of Peace (SA-SHOP)" shall have the goal of providing protective residential facilities and services to neglected, abused or isolated seniors with a view to enhance their dignity, self-respect and quality of life.
Mrs. Kanta Khipple and Mrs. Prem Mehta of Apana Ghar explained the project mission, long term and immediate goals, and the way in which PIOs can support this very noble cause. GOPIO Chicagolabd's immediate goal is to fund a facility in Skokie, Illinois area on a small scale, run it for over a year, learn from the experience, before expanding to a larger scale. Currently, funds are needed to meet this immediate goal.
GOPIO Chicagoland President Samir Shah thanked those in attendance who contributed and made commitments reaching to one third of the target. Shah has appealed to everyone to support this worthy cause for senior citizens.
Contact: Samir Shah, GOPIO Chicagoland, E-mail: email@example.com.
GOPIO GUYANA ORGNIZED DIASPORA LECTURE SERIES
GOPIO Guyana organized a series of lectures as part of its continuing efforts to increase awareness of the Indian Diaspora among PIOs and others in the Guyana and the Caribbean region. These lectures were held in conjunction with the May 5 commemoration of the 169th anniversary of Indian Arrival Day in Guyana. The lecture series were coordinated by GOPIO Guyana Chairman Yesu Persaud and GOPIO Guyana President Dr. Prem Misir who is also Pro-Chancellor of the University of Guyana.
The May lecture series included the following:
May 3 The Indian Diaspora by Shri Prakash Gossai
May 9 Sacrifice & Resistance by Prof. Tota Mangar
May 17 Status of Indian in the Caribbean by Dr. Prem Misir
May 23 Immigration & Hinduism by Swami Aksharnanda
May 30 Indian Settlement in Guyana by Dr Dale Bisnauth
May 31 Guyana-Indian Link by Yesu Persaud
Contact: Dr. Prem Misir at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL INVITES COMMUNITY ACTIVIST TO JOIN ITS ONLINE FORUM ON NRI/PIO ISSUES
GOPIO International has launched an online public forum for NRIs & PIOs to discuss and deliberate on issues of concern. If you have an issue of concern to NRIs and PIOs, you are welcome to post it in this online yahoogroups forum. Please visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GOPIO_Intl and register to become a participant or post a note of concern.
BRITISH INDIAN SHRITI VADERA IS APPOINTED AS A JUNIOR MINISTER
After Keith Vaz, who was a junior minister with the former Prime Minister Tony Blair, a PIO Shriti Vadera has been appointed as Junior International Development Minister by Britain's new Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Vadera, an economist, will be dealing with issues related to India. Vadera's appointment as a Junior Minister is all the more significant since she is from outside the political spectrum.
Vadera, who was a central figure in the Treasury presided over by Brown, was tipped for a key role in 10, Downing Street, due to her proximity with Brown. She has advised him on various international issues, including Africa.
Vadera was born in Uganda but her family moved in the 1970s first to India and then to England, where she studied politics, philosophy and economics at Somerville College, Oxford. She has held key financial and economic positions in London's financial district. Vadera is seen as a key behind-the-scenes figure who has the full confidence of Brown. She has been the main point of contact between the Treasury and the City, London's financial district.
Vadera has overseen many of the more technical aspects of Treasury policy. She managed the sale of government defense-research company Qinetiq, the partial sale of the London Underground and arranged a bond sale to raise money to vaccinate poor children in Africa. She is on the board of trustees of Oxfam. Former minister Stephen Byers once said of her: "Shriti's Shriti. She can be forceful and sometimes she can be a real sweetie. She's a significant player in Whitehall."
INDIAN AMERICAN HARVINDER ANAND ELECTED AS MAYOR OF LAUREL HOLLOW
In the village elections held in Nassau and Suffolk counties of Long Island, New York on June 19th, 2007, Mr. Harvinder S. Anand was elected as Mayor for the Village of Laurel Hollow. Anand is the first elected Mayor of Indian origin from Long Island.
The village of Laurel Hollow is a water front community on the North Shore of Long Island, in Nassau County. The village has some of the most expensive real estate in the country, with homes ranging in values from $2 million to $15 million. Laurel Hollow isthe home of the 107-acre Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an internationally recognized genetic and cancer research center that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Anand was appointed to the position of Trustee in December, 2002 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of another trustee. Anand won in a hotly contested election in 2003 for the Trustee position. Anand serves as the village Police Commissioner for Laurel Hollow. He is a graduate of Nassau County Civilian Police Academy and an active member of the Nassau County Police Reserves. Anand also serves on the Advisory Board of Nassau County Law Enforcement Explorers.
Anand has been a resident of the village for over 10 years. He served as the President of Harbour Ridge Homeowners Association and has served in the Planning Board of the village.
A chemical engineer from Panjab University, Chandigarh, Anand attended Hofstra University for MBA. Mr. Anand is the President of Royce International; a multi-national corporation involved in manufacture of industrial chemicals for textile, aerospace, electrical, automotive, marine and construction industries. He is married to Dr. Chandni Anand, a practicing Internist and they have two children.
PIOs MAKE THEIR MARK IN EUROPEAN FINANCIAL MARKET
India-born Anshu Jain, who heads global markets division of German banking giant Deutsche Bank, has been named as the second most influential person in Europe for the third year in a row. Jain, an economics graduate from Shri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi University, has been ranked at the second position in Financial News magazine's FN100 list of top investment bankers, which ranks people in terms of their individual influence on the European capital markets.
Jain is accompanied by three other India-born bankers on the list - Sanjay Patel at 31st, Suneel Kamlani at 59th and JP Morgan's Viswas Raghavan at 90th positions. While Jain has been on the list for three years in a row, Raghavan has also retained his 90th position during this period. Patel and Kamlani, however, have made it to the list for the first time.
NADIA MISIR RECOGNIZED FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS
In recognition of her outstanding scholastic achievement in New York. Ms. Nadia Misir is scheduled to travel to Australia in the summer of 2007 as member of the People to People Student Ambassador Program. Ms. Misir's trip is expected to enhance her knowledge culturally, exhibit her leadership skills as a young ambassador and gain world awareness in Australia. She has also received a congratulatory message from US President George Bush for her accomplishments. Ms. Misir is the Nadia is the daughter of Mahendra and Angela Misir and niece of Dr. Prem Misir Pro-Chancellor of the University of Guyana
Among her achievements were the Editor's Choice Award from Poetry.com and the International library of Poetry for her outstanding achievement in Poetry in May 2004, and September 2005. Her scholastic Achievement portfolio is acknowledged and merited and nomination to Who's Who Among American High School Students for the academic year 2006/2007. This award is bestowed upon the highest-achieving students in High School and qualifies her among the 61 scholarships amounting to in excess of US$100,000. She was selected as a semi finalist for her poem "One strong Nation" in the International Open Poetry Contest in 2003; and has been awarded the prestigious Editor's Choice Award.
INDO-CARIBBEAN CULTURAL COUNCIL HONORS TWO OUTSTANDING PIOs
Indo-Caribbean Cultural Council of New York (ICC-NY) and celebrates the successes and achievements of two (2) outstanding Indo-Caribbean PIOs. Author and screen-writer, Jang Bahadur Bhagiratee, born in Trinidad of Indian parents, versed in Hindi and Philosophy, is preparing to produce a film, "THE DIASPORAN SAGA," based on his novel "Chalo Chinidad." According to Jang, "The Film will be a love story based, filmed within the settings of the lives of our ancestors. It will have historical relevance to countries such as Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, Mauritius, Fiji, India and South Africa. The authenticity of the history will be fully enacted but with a blend of romance, traditional folk songs, and music".
Consultant Dr. Ashford Maharaj, writing in support of the film stated that, "The prospective film seeks to portray the life of a successful indentured immigrant from British India who made it real big in British West Indies". Roopnarayan Prashad, General Secretary of ICC-NY, will serve as an Associate Producer to represent the interest and legacy of Indo-Caribbean PIOs.
Dr. Taj Rajkumar continues his life-long efforts as an advocate to improve the Indo-Caribbean community in the New York Tri-state region. He was elected as a Democratic State Committee Member for District 31 in New York State in 2004, the first Indo-Caribbean elected to this office. He currently is one of District 31 elected district leaders and in this capacity, he engages all political leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike, on issues that affect the district. He also has the right to endorse Democratic candidates for election to City, State and National seats. Dr. Taj Rajkumar is a tenured professor at the City University of New York serving at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. He continues to stand up for our core values and educate our Community on issues like financial aid for college, small business development, healthcare, immigration and social services for seniors.
Reported by Roopnarayan Prashad
VIDYA RAM TOPS COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY - JOURNALISM CLASS 2007
Twenty-sever years-old Vidya Ram was designated the top student in the Class of 2007 of the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University, New York. Ms. Ram, originally from Chennai, India, topped a list of 28 honors students in the school's M.S. program.
She was awarded the Pulitzer traveling fellowship award, which she plans on using to travel to and write about China. Ms. Ram received a big round of applause when the school made the announcement on Journalism Day, that she was the student of the year. It is very rare for foreign students to win top honors at the school.
Ms. Ram is the daughter of N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu. She studied at Sishya in Chennai, Oxford University and the London School of Economics before going to Columbia University in New York. She spent a year teaching English in Harbin, China; interned at The Hindu group's Frontline magazine in 2001-2002. She also worked at the Hansard Society in London.
INDIAN AMERICAN RAMESH GANGOLLI WINS SPIRIT OF LIBERTY AWARD
An Indian American mathematician, Ramesh Gangolli, has been chosen for this year's Spirit of Liberty award for his contribution to his community and will be honored on July 4th by Seattle Ethnic Council. The Council gives away the Spirit of Liberty award every year to individuals who have made significant contributions to his or her ethnic heritage and community and whose work has benefited the larger community.
Coming to the US in 1961, Gangolli became interested in volunteering in the Indian American community in Seattle. At that time there were only about 100 Indian families in the area. He thought the music of South Asia could be a conduit for cultural understanding. What began as an unnamed event - mini concerts mostly featuring musicians from India - turned into a respected concert series that has since 1981 staged more than 300 events of music and dance.
Gangolli grew up in Mumbai. He lost his left arm in a train accident at the age of 19. He finished first in his bachelor's examinations at the University of Bombay and won a scholarship to attend the University of Cambridge in 1957 to earn his masters. He obtained his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961 and came to Seattle to teach mathematics a year later.
For the past five years, Gangolli has been involved in a project that advocates better mathematics education in the Seattle Public Schools.
|NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
NRI's REAL ESTATE PROPERTIES ARE TARGETED BY LAND MAFIA
GOPIO has brought the attention of Govt. of India and other state governments about issue of maintaining NRI investments in commercial properties in India. At the GOPIO Conference in 2006 in Hyderabad, GOPIO passed a resolution on this issue, which states,
"PROTECTION OF COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS
WHEREAS, PIOs & NRIs are committed to contribute financially and otherwise to the growth & progress of India, and
WHEREAS, they have substantially invested in the Commercial Real Estate, and WHEREAS, the practices and the laws in India do not
provide enough relief to the investors when the tenants refuse to honor their agreements to pay the rents or vacate the premises, and
WHEREAS, the PIOs/NRIs investors find themselves helpless in protecting their investments,
THEREFORE, GOPIO urges the Government of India to enact legislation to protect the investors and set a mechanism where the violations can be brought to the attention of appropriate state and central authorities for relief."
According to the news agency IANS, the "land mafia" in Delhi and other parts of the country are turning its attention to non-resident Indians (NRIs) whose absence is usually long enough to grab their land and sell it illegally at whopping prices. Several cases of unauthorized occupation of land, known as land grabbing, that Delhi Police are investigating show how well-off NRIs, mostly settled in the US and Britain, are falling easy prey to such gangs.
According to police officials, land mafia constitutes mostly a bunch of unscrupulous real estate agents - form a well-organized network to keep a close watch on the lands and properties of those NRIs who hardly visit the city.
IANS news agency has been told by a senior crime branch official that the land mafia has formed a complex web including government and bank officials to keep a tab on people who rarely visit their properties back home. The mafia not only sells such land with forged documents but also puts NRIs in trouble by obtaining bank loans against their property. Statistics available with police show that at least 14 cases of grabbing and selling of land owned by NRIs - mostly in upmarket areas of south Delhi - have been registered in the past three years.
According to a police official, the culprits keep in touch with the contacts of NRIs in order to know about their visits and the duration of their stay in Delhi. They also study the status of their properties. Through these contacts, the mafia finds the person in whose name the initial conveyance deed - a legal document signed and delivered to effect a transfer of property and to show the legal right to possess it - has been executed by the NRI or the caretaker of the property here. After that the person is lured by the mafia with hefty amounts. It has also been noticed that such properties are mortgaged with banks for big loans.
GOPIO wants to get feedback on this issue from those who are experiencing such problems. It will be compiled by Prof. Subhash C. Sharma, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Economic, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901, E-mail :email@example.com.
MINI PRAVASI BHARATIYA DIVAS (PBD) IN NEW YORK
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) are planning a four-day program in New York under the banner of 'India at 60' in the third week of September. The Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Commerce will also participate in the event. It will be a sort of a mini Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and would be geared to attract participation of those NRIs who had not been able to attend the annual PBD in India.
INDIAN AMERICANS RAISE $2 MILLION FOR SENATOR CLINTON CAMPAIGN
Indian Americans for Hillary raised about $2 million for the New York Senator's 2008 presidential race. Attracting about 1,000 people, it was billed as the largest of its kind for the Indian-American community.
Senator Clinton recalled her first visit to India in 1996 and drew applause when she cited her work as co-chairperson of the Senate's India caucus.
"It is important in this new era in which we live that the relationship and partnership between India and America strengthen and deepen," Senator Clinton told the gathering.She also noted that India was poised to have its first female president in the next few weeks, referring to the United Progressive Alliance's presidential candidate Pratibha Patil.
NRIs CAN FILE RIGHT TO INFORMATION (RTI) THROUGH EMBASSY
Any NRI with a valid Indian passport can file an Right to Information (RTI) application with the Public Information Officer (PIO) with the Indian Embassy or High Commission by paying a fee of 24 cents. The payment can be made through a demand draft or a cheque.
The Embassy will automatically transfer the application to the relevant department in India within five days if the information requested does not pertain to the Embassy itself. Under the RTI Act,
the public authority must provide the information within 35 days.
This was stated by information and culture attach of the Indian embassy at Washington DC, K A Georgekutty, in reply to a query posted by Somu Kumar of a US-based organisation called AID-India. The statement has come as a boon for expatriate Indians who own some property back home and are worried about land sharks gobbling up their precious landholding (see related story above).
BRITISH ASIAN CONSERVATIVE LINK HOSTS DINNER AT THE CARLTON CLUB
The British Asian Conservative Link (BACL) hosted a dinner at the Carlton Club on the 21st of June 2007 in honour of The Rt. Hon. James Arbuthnot MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Defense Select Committee.
The club was packed with distinguished guests including Lord & Lady Sheikh, The PPC Mr. Paul Uppal from Wolverhampton. The Mayor of Harrow, Cllr. Lurline Champagnie , the present & past Chairmen of the Basingstoke Conservative Association, Mr. Nigel McNair-Scott & Mr. Mark Andrea, Cllr. Pritpal Singh, Mr. Colin Malam, Chairman N.E. Hants Conservative Association, District Cllr from Beaconsfield, Mr. Santokh Chhokar, Mr. Christopher Fenwick, Gen. Sec. of the United & Cecil Club, Mr. Amit Roy of The Telegraph, Mrs. Rita Paine of the BBC, Ms Nidhi Dalmia of Dalmia Media and Mr. Tahir Ali of Venus TV were some of the guests present.
The General Secretary, Dr Rami Ranger MBE, gave a brief introduction of the BACL and explained the rationale behind the organization. The main aims being to promote Asians amongst the Tory leaders and the Tory leaders amongst the Asian community in order to change each others perception. This interaction of the two is encouraging the Asians to join the party of their natural values.
The Chairman, Mr Ranbir Suri, explained that the BACL was his vision when he realized that there was no one making a conscious effort to attract the Asian vote to the Tory cause. He said that when he approached the then Party Chairman, the Rt. Hon. Michael Ancram MP, he applauded the idea but said the Party was unable to fund such an organization. Mr Suri, encouraged by Mr Ancram's response, said that he would find funding from the community and with the support of like minded people, the BACL was born. It is now helping Asians to contest winnable seats.
The Guest of Honour spoke at length about the need to attract candidates on merit regardless of their colour and race. He promised to support ethnic and women candidates for the greater good of the Party. Lord Sheikh also spoke about the need for the Party to give and take if the Party was to get the best out of its ethnic members. The Party must value the contribution of those who were working hard for its success. Justice should be seen to be done.
The Vice Chairman of the BACL, Dr. Ashraf Chohan thanked the guests.
INDO-CARIBBEANS CELEBRATE ARRIVAL DAY IN NEW YORK
Indian Arrival Day has been celebrated in grand style at the Smokey Oval Park, in Queens, New York for the past twenty-two years. The program is coordinated under the auspices of the Indo-Caribbean Federation, spearheaded by Mr. Ralph Tamesh and Mr. Frank Singh. May is a very significant month for many Indians of the Northern Hemisphere. It was on May 5, 1838 that the first batch of East Indians went to then British Guiana (now Guyana) in the Caribbean as indentured workers on the British sugar plantations. Hence, the month of May was set aside for the special celebrations marking the arrival of Indians in Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname, Jamaica and here in New York as well.
Caribbean PIOs talented in areas such as, the Indian classical dancing, singing, playing musical instruments like the dholak and harmonium, participated to showcase their unique talents for the world to see. The event was very competitive because the top performers bagged off trophies. The event has attracted young participants from throughout the New York Tri-State region and elsewhere. Also, revelers packed Smokey Park to capacity and cheered loudly for their favorites to win.
Reported by Bina Mahabir
MEMORIAL TO AIR INDIA VICTIMS IN TORONTO
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen unveiled the memorial for the 329 victims of the Air Indian bombing in June 1985. Two-thirds of the victims came from Toronto. The Prime Minister was joined by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Mayor David Miller in paying tributes to the victims.
The ill-fated flight 182 from Toronto to Delhi was brought down with a bomb loaded on a plane in Vancouver and transferred on to the Kanishka in Toronto. All 329 passengers and crew parished in the icy waters of the Irish Coast. Two British Columbia Sikhs, Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripduman Singh Malik, were tried and acquitted in the case in 2005.
Reported by Gurumukh Singh
WESTERNERS HEADING TO INDIA FOR TOP JOBS
Many major companies in India have started actively recruiting qualified middle and senior-level executives from outside the ranks of returning overseas Indians which hitherto have been the main source of external talent. But the expatriates from countries such as the US and Britain have been demanding exorbitant salaries forcing head-hunters and chief executives to look for similarly experienced and qualified foreigners.
The search for foreign qualified candidates has however not diminished demand for the expatriates as the no. of jobs has also surged from 5 per cent to 15 per cent during the last three years. The salary package for chief executive can range from $250,000 to $850,000 while for country heads, the range can be $300,000-$400,000.
HOTEL CHAINS TO CAPITALIZE SHORTAGE OF ACCOMMODATION INDIA
India has dire shortage of hotel rooms; barely about 110,000 as against 150,000 in one single US city of Las Vegas. Many hotel chains want to capitalize on the country's chronic shortage of tourist and business travel accommodation.
BEST Western International is planning to roll out 100 hotels in India. Cabana Hotel Management, licensee for Best Western, plans to open 10,000 rooms across India and invest more than $US1.2 billion over the next 10 years to develop four-star hotels in India.
Last November, French hotel group Accor and Dubai-based developer Emaar Properties announced to jointly develop 100 budget hotels in India. Hyatt International Hotels has planed to open 15 deluxe hotels and Starwood, owner of the Sheraton brand, is aiming for 50 hotels by 2010.
|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 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 (www.gopio.net) and get details of chapter initiation (visit http://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:
GOPIO President - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: 818-708-3885, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit http://www.gopio.net/membership_form.htm, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.
Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO General Secretary (New York, USA); and Munish Gupta, GOPIO Media Chair (Los Angeles, Calif)
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Contributors of this issue:Inder Singh (USA), Bina Mahabir (USA), Jannis Deane (St Vincent's), Dr Prem Misir (Guyana), Roopnarayan Prashad (USA), Gurumukh Singh (Canada)
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Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) | P.O. Box 1413 | Stamford | CT | 06904