80% NRI medical seats vacant even after mop-up counselling 

After two rounds of regular counselling and the final mop-up counselling for MBBS seats in deemed universities, nearly 80% of the seats under NRI category are lying vacant, although almost all seats in the management category have been taken. The universities will now be allowed to admit students to these vacant seats after August 27.
Of the 919 NRI quota seats – 15% of the total seats – 731 seats across India were vacant as on Tuesday, according to the New-Delhi based Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Although 176 students were allotted seats under NRI category in round 1, many did not join. In round 2, a total of 95 students were allotted seats and 58 others were allotted during the mop-up. If any of the 153 students, who were allotted seats in the second round and mop up counselling, did not join the respective colleges, they will have to forfeit Rs 2 lakh deposited at the time of registration with DGHS.
In Tamil Nadu, out of the eight deemed universities, all seats in management quota were allotted at the end of the mop-up round, but barring Sri Ramachandra Medical Universities all colleges had at least 15 seats in the NRI category. Sree Balaji Medical College topped the list with 36 vacant seats and Vinayaka Mission in Salem had the least with 15 seats. “Colleges will now convert these seats to management seats and allot them to students based on their own merit list. There is no guarantee that allotment will be based purely on merit,” said R Seetharaman, a parent, whose son is waiting for MBBS admission this year.
Experts say DGHS, which made it mandatory for students to deposit Rs 2 lakh upfront and made it clear that they would forfeit the sum if they do not join the allotted college, should mandate that unfilled NRI seats would be treated as management/NRI category seats during mop up round. “The universities should not be allowed to convert NRI seats to management after mop-up round. Had the DGHS itself converted it ahead of the mop-up round, all these unfilled NRI seats would have been available for eligible candidates, including NRI candidates. At least next year, this anomaly should be addressed,” said Manickavel Arumugum, a freelance consultant of medical aspirants.
Fees for NRI quota seats is higher than the regular management quota seats. In some institutions, it touches $60,000. College administrators say they will be left with no option but to convert these NRI seats as general quota seats. “We have just two working days to fill up the seats. We have a list of applicants who have cleared NEET but have not got admission in any college. Based on an internal rank list, we will allot seats,” said a senior administrator at ACS Medical College, where 21 NRI seats are vacant.
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Indian origin employee of a Bank loses job after disrespecting Singapore flag

There is an old adage that goes – in Rome, do as Romans do. This extends to immigrants, for whom respecting the culture and National identities of host nations is expected. Of course, this is just common sense too since immigrating to a foreign land is a privileged one shouldn’t take lightly.

Most immigrants, however, struggle to come to grips with dual identities – one of their country of birth where they may have spent their formative years, and the other that of their adopted homelands. Case in point is the story of Avijit Das Patnaik, an Indian who migrated to Singapore a decade ago.

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On 14 August 2008, Mr. Patnaik posted a picture on the Facebook page of the Singapore Indians & Expats group with about 11,000 members. That graphic apparently showed a Singaporean flag on a T-shirt being ripped to reveal an Indian flag underneath. Along with the image, Mr. Patnaik posted a caption reading ‘Phir Bhi dil hai hindustani’ (Still my heart heart is Indian), picking the phrase from a popular Bollywood song.

The message was self-explanatory; Mr. Patnaik, like many first-generation immigrants still identified himself as an Indian. However, the post did not go well with fellow Singaporeans and other digirati who found it “offensive” and “insulting to Singapore”. The post was quickly taken down and Mr. Patnaik’s employer, the Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank got involved.

The Bank released a statement on its Facebook page saying that Patnaik was no longer its employee.

“Since the incident, a disciplinary committee has been convened and as of 24 August, he is no longer with the bank.

DBS strongly disapproves of such actions by our employees. At the same time, it is fair and right that all employees are given the benefit of due process.”

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This is not the end of Patnaik’s troubles. According media accounts, police have filed a report and investigations are underway. According to the Singapore Arms and Flag National Anthem Act, any person that treats the flag with disrespect may be fined a maximum of 1,000 Singapore dollar.

There are obvious lessons for immigrants here: in Rome, do as Romans do… and when in Rome, don’t offend Roman sentiments.


Other news source: Netizens call on Govt to revoke Indian national’s PR for defacing Singapore flag, even after he loses DBS job – The Independent

The Dos and Don’ts of NRI Investing In Indian Realty

Amongst the NRI’s there are 3 types of investors. The first type look for short term gains over a period of 1-3 years, the second type look to buy for themselves and the third type are long term investors who want to be in the market for 7-10 years.

The first type of investors have disappeared and more number of people looking to buy for personal use have surfaced.

Samir Jasuja, the founder and CEO of PropEquity added that the market has stabilized in the last 6 months and the worst times are behind us. Over the last 3 years with the advent of demonetization, GST and RERA, the new launches have come down by almost 90%. The best cities to buy into are governed by 3 major factors, which are employment generation, infrastructure and the overall supply demand situations prevailing in the market. Banglore and Mumbai are two of the most hot sites of Real Estate because of the presence of all the 3 aforementioned factors.

“The NRI fraternity is used to 10-14% returns on investment from the residential segment in India” said Virendra Adhikari, the CEO of Asset India Ltd., on being asked about the do’s and dont’s of NRI investment. However, these figures have been bearish due to the current market scenario.

Amongst the NRI’s there are 3 types of investors. The first type look for short term gains over a period of 1-3 years, the second type look to buy for themselves and the third type are long term investors who want to be in the market for 7-10 years. The first type of investors have disappeared and more number of people looking to buy for personal use have surfaced.

More online in the article (link)

NRIs not eligible to file RTI: Centre’s reply to Lok Sabha triggers protests

Union Minister Jitendra Singh told the Lok Sabha in a written reply that Non-Resident Indians are not eligible to file Right to Information (RTI) applications. The Minister said, responding to a question asked by a Member of Parliament (MP) Jugal Kishore Sharma.

“Only citizens of India have the right to seek information under the provisions of Right to Information Act, 2005. Non-Resident Indians are not eligible to file RTI applications. He said subject to the provisions of the Act, the citizens of India could file an online application under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

“Currently, systems of 2,200 public authorities have been aligned to receive, process and reply to online RTIs from the applicants”

Speaking to TNM Sunil Kumar KK, an NRI living in Oman, said that it reveals that the government doesn’t see them as Indian citizens.

“This is a shame. Why can’t we enjoy the facilities that Indians living in India do? We ask only those questions which can be asked according to the Act. So, why should they deny us the online facility?” Sunil asked.

“Additionally, isn’t it impractical to visit the embassy if we are located in a remote area in a foreign land? Many other countries are organising a voting facility for their non-resident citizens. We don’t have that either. And now, they have said no to this (RTI) too,” Sunil added.

Shameer PTK, another resident of Oman, said that he is surprised to hear that the government has denied them the right in the time of Digital India.

“On one side, the government is upholding the theme of Digital India and on the other side, we are being denied the online facility to seek information from government through RTI Act,” Shameer said, adding that it amounts to discrimination.

“Even for Pravasi Bharatiya Divas participation, the government provides online registration only. But to seek information through RTI Act online, they are saying no. It’s like the Orange Passport issue,” he said.

The government had earlier planned orange-coloured passports for Emigration Clearance Required Category Indians for when they travel abroad for a job. However, it was scrapped after protests.

“It looks like the moment you leave India for a job, you are stripped of rights and are seen as an alien. In foreign lands too, you don’t get the basic rights that the locals enjoy and then your own home country denies them,” said Jacob Koshy, an Indian resident in Qatar.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday took to Twitter to state that denying NRIs the right to file RTIs is wrong.

 

More than 21,000 Indians overstayed their visas in the US last year

According to report by the Department of Homeland Security, over 1.07 million Indians visited the US on B-1 visa (business) and B-2 visas (pleasure or medical treatment) last year. According to DHS report (link), nearly 14,200 of these visitors overstayed.

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In its 2017 Entry/Exit Overstay Report, the DHS said there were 52,656,022 in-scope non-immigrant admissions to the US through air or sea port of entries (POEs) with expected departures occurring in the fiscal 2017; the in-scope admissions represent the vast majority of all air and sea non-immigrant admissions. Of this number, the DHS calculated a total overstay rate of 1.33 per cent, or 701,900 overstay events. For India it was 1.32 per cent.

After years of heady growth Patanjali Ayurved is facing a slowdown

A while ago, we featured Patanjali Ayurved, and it was the fastest growing FMCG company in India. Our feature (link).

Patanjali Products

A few recent articles in the Indian media seem to indicate that Patanjali Ayurved is facing a slowdown after years of heady growth. According to an article in Economic times,

It closed the last financial year at around the same level as the previous fiscal year’s revenue, Rs 10,000 crore.
However, there could be a bigger worry for Patanjali than flat revenues. According to a recent Credit Suisse report, consumer offtake has declined in many product categories. While the company continues to hold sway over toothpastes with Dant Kanti, and in ghee, incremental gains in these categories are said to have declined. “Patanjali is facing headwinds with FY18 sales  ..

Another article also reviews if Distribution could be Patanjali’s Achilles heel? 

There is a huge gap between demand and supply, admits Acharya Balkrishna, MD of Patanjali Ayurved, who’s recently been in the news for his 94% stake in the organisation. (A development touted as a strategic move to take the limelight off Baba Ramdev who has been the face of the company all this while). Balkrishna tells us that besides 1200 Patanjali Chikitsalayas, 2500 Aarogya Kendras, 7000 open stores in villages, and 5600 marketing vehicles, his team is working on launching 250 mega stores in .

According to industry estimates, Patanjali products are currently available in 2 lakh traditional retail outlets popularly called as kirana shops. That’s 1/30th the presence of Hindustan Unilever in the kirana universe (over 60 lakh outlets) — the market leader in FMCG space who Patanjali has reportedly been giving sleepless nights to. As for Colgate and Nestle — players Baba Ramdev took a direct dig at and threatened to oust within a year — the numbers are 47 lakh and 35 lakh, respectively.

Fake call center scam – U.S court sentences 21 people of Indian Origin to 20 years in prison

The United States Department of Justice (link) on Friday announced that a court in Texas had sentenced 21 members of an India-based fake call center and money laundering scam to varying terms of imprisonment. Three others were sentenced earlier this year.

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“The stiff sentences imposed this week represent the culmination of the first-ever large scale, multi-jurisdiction prosecution targeting the India call center scam industry,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “This case represents one of the most significant victories to date in our continuing efforts to combat elder fraud and the victimization of the most vulnerable members of the U.S. public.  The transnational criminal ring of fraudsters and money launderers who conspired to bilk older Americans, legal immigrants and many others out of their life savings through their lies, threats and financial schemes must recognize that all resources at the Department’s disposal will be deployed to shut down these telefraud schemes, put those responsible in jail, and bring a measure of justice to the victims.”

“This type of fraud is sickening,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick.  “However, after years of investigation and incredible hard work by multiple agents and attorneys, these con artists are finally headed to prison. Their cruel tactics preyed on some very vulnerable people, thereby stealing millions from them. These sentences should send a strong message that we will follow the trail no matter how difficult and seek justice for those victimized by these types of transnational schemes. We will simply not stand by and allow criminals to use the names of legitimate government agencies to enrich themselves by victimizing others.”

This news of white-collar crime by Non Resident gang was covered by other Indian newspapers after Press Trust of India highlighted it “Over 20 Indian-Origin People Sentenced In Massive US Call Centre Scam”