Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas: First PIO Parliamentarian Conference held in New Delhi

Every year, January 9 is celebrated as Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD), an annual celebratory day that marks the contribution of overseas persons of Indian origin (PIO) towards their homeland. This year, the theme has focused on engaging political and elected leaders from across the globe.

The 1st PIO-Parliamentarian Conference was inaugurated by Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi in Delhi on 9th January 2018. Welcoming the delegates to the Conference, the Prime Minister said that while many people may have left India over the course of hundreds of years, India continues to have a place in their minds and hearts. The Prime Minister said that Persons of India Origin (PIOs) are like permanent ambassadors of India and partners for India’s development, who have an important position in the Action Agenda till 2020, drafted by the NITI Aayog.

Addressing the 2nd Plenary Session on ‘Resurgent IndiaRole of PIO Parliamentarians’, Shri Ananthkumar, Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs said that, “I am honoured to be here on the momentous occasion of the 1st PIO-Parliamentarian Conference and extend a warm welcome to all of you.”

At the outset, the Minister congratulated Union Minister for External Affairs (MEA), Smt. Sushma Swaraj for hosting this important and historic conference, where a Rainbow of Parliamentarians of Indian Origin from over 20 Democracies of the World gathered to share Parliamentary best practices and mutually enrich each other with their experiences.

Shri Ananthkumar stated that under the dynamic leadership of Shri Narendra Modi, India and the Indian Diaspora has found greater recognition and popularity among the Comity of NationsThis is evident from the unprecedented response received by the Prime Minister in every country that he has visited. Occasions such as this conference provide us with an opportunity to further strengthen and diversify our engagement with diaspora, the Minister added.

Elaborating the contributions of PIOs in different countries around the world, Shri Ananthkumar said that people of Indian origin have contributed considerably to the economy and social upliftment of the countries in which they lived. The Minister conveyed his sincere appreciation at how languages like Hindi, Bhojpuri, folklore such as Ramayana, literature from India, traditional cuisine etc. have not only survived but are flourishing in these countries. This was possible and achieved only because Indian migrants in these countries were determined to preserve their traditions, norms and customs. “All of you here are members of our extended family and bound by ties of history, emotional attachment, cultural affinities and kinship”, the Minister added.

Shri Ananthkumar called the gathering as a mini World Parliament of People of Indian origin. He congratulated the External Affairs Minister for laying a strong platform today by organizing todays summit on PIO Parliamentarians. Further, he stated that PIOs have achieved great heights in Politics and Governance in various countries and also become Heads of State which is a matter of great pride and happiness for 1.25 billion Indians here.

The Minister invited the august gathering of PIOs to partner in the development of their Motherland India. Flagship schemes of Government of India such as Skill India, Start up India, Stand up India, Make in India etc. provide a great opportunity for PIOs to partner in India’s resurgence as a global power, Shri Ananthkumar stated

The session also witnessed distinguished PIO Parliamentarians placing their experiences before the gathering and how they are still very much connected to their roots in India through the Principles of Peace and Harmony that they have imbibed from their ancestors. Other dignitaries who addressed the gathering included Shri M. Thambidurai, Deputy Speaker Lok Sabha and Shri D.K. Mulay, Secretary MEA. (PR)

Sound bites:

  • As many as 120 parliamentarians, mayors and political leaders from 23 countries are participating in the conference.
  • January 9 is celebrated every year as ‘Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas’ to commemorate the contributions of overseas citizens of Indian origin towards India.
  • While 124 MPs from the UK, Canada, Fiji, Kenya, Mauritius, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and other countries are slated to take part in today’s conference, 17 mayors from US, Malaysia, Switzerland, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago will also participate in it.
  • No lawmaker from the US is  attending this year’s PIO conference because of the ongoing session of the Senate.
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Indian Origin NRI arrested and charged with sexually assaulting woman on plane in Michigan

A 34-year-old man of Indian-origin Prabhu Ramamoorthy was arrested by federal authorities in Michigan after a woman co-passenger complained of being sexually assaulted by him after falling asleep on the flight.

Prabhu allegedly groped the 22-year-old seated next to him on a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas which landed in Detroit early on January 3, the Washington Post reported.

prabhu
Image from Facebook

The man, Prabhu Ramamoorthy, who prosecutors said is an Indian national living in the United States on a temporary visa, was charged with aggravated sexual abuse and held without bail after an appearance in federal court in Michigan on Thursday.

The victim told investigators that she woke up to find her pants and shirt unbuttoned and the man’s hand inside her pants.

Federal prosecutor Amanda Jawad said that Ramamoorthy sat between his wife and the victim. He stopped after the victim woke up, and the woman went to the back of the plane to report the incident to a flight attendant, the criminal complaint said.

Two flight attendants told federal investigators that the victim was crying and that her shirt was untied and that her pants were unbuttoned when she reported the incident at about 5:30 a.m., 40 minutes before the plane’s landing, Jawad said. The attendants kept the woman in the back of the plane and offered her a different seat, and while they were talking to the victim, Ramamoorthy’s wife came to the back to see what was going on, Jawad said.

Ramamoorthy was arrested after the plane landed, according to court documents. He told agents in a written statement that he had taken a pill and fallen into a deep sleep, Jawad said, and that he hadn’t done anything besides learning from his wife that the 22-year-old woman was sleeping on his knees.

Magistrate Judge Steven Whalen, who said it was a “very unusual case,” ordered Ramamoorthy to be held pending trial after Jawad successfully argued that he was a flight risk and a potential danger to others around him. The prosecutor said that Ramamoorthy’s wife, who was also living in the United States on a temporary visa, would not make a suitable custodian for him.

Prosecutors said Ramamoorthy, who hails from Tamil Nadu was living in the United States on a temporary visa. He was charged with aggravated sexual abuse and held without bail after an appearance in federal court in Michigan on Thursday.


 

In another unrelated news, Times of India reported that an Indian doctor has been sentenced to 10 months behind bars in the US for groping two teenage female patients and faces deportation to India after the completion of his jail term.

Arun Aggarwal, 40, was sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty to four counts of gross sexual imposition.

UN: India has the largest number of persons born in the country who are now living outside its borders

Trends in migration are closely watched by policy makers around the world. Last week, there was a report on US census bureau will tell you how many Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali are in America

According to a new report from United Nations (UN), India has the largest number of persons born in the country who are now living outside its borders:

The number of Indian-born persons residing abroad numbered 17 million in 2017, ahead of the number of Mexican-born persons living outside Mexico (13 million). The Russian Federation, China, Bangladesh, Syrian Arab Republic and Pakistan and Ukraine also have large migrant populations living abroad, ranging from 6 to 11 million each.

Image credit: UN report

The report highlights a number of trends in international migration :

  • More than six of every ten international migrants reside in Asia or Europe (80 and 78 million, respectively). Northern America hosts the third largest number (58 million), followed by Africa (25 million), Latin America and the Caribbean (9.5 million) and Oceania (8.4 million).
  • In 2017, high-income countries hosted 64%, or nearly 165 million, of the total number of international migrants worldwide. Moreover, most of the growth in the global population of international migrants has been caused by movements toward high-income countries, which host 64 million of the 85 million migrants added since 2000.
  • The number of international migrants includes 26 million refugees or asylum seekers, or about 10% of the total.  Although a majority of the world’s international migrants live in high-income countries, low- and middle-income countries host nearly 22 million, or 84%, of all refugees and asylum seekers.
  • There has been a global increase in the median age of migrants, from 38.0 years in 2000 to 39.2 years in 2017. However, in some regions, such as Asia, Oceania and especially Latin America and the Caribbean, the median age of migrants has decreased by about three years.
  • In 2017, 48.4% of international migrants were women. Female migrants outnumber males in all regions except Africa and Asia; in some countries of Asia, male migrants outnumber females by about three to one.
  • In 2017, two thirds of all international migrants were living in just twenty countries, and half of all international migrants were residing in just ten countries. The largest number of international migrants (49.8 million, or 19% of the global total) reside in the United States. Saudi Arabia, Germany and the Russian Federation host the second, third and fourth largest numbers of migrants worldwide (around 12 million each), followed by the United Kingdom (nearly 9 million).

 

You may also be interested in GaramChai.com statistics section

US census bureau will tell you how many Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali are in America

The US census is finally counting how many people speak Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali.

Marketers, analysts and consultants continually watch for demographics trends on the Non-Resident Indian community in the US and North America. These trends serve many purposes and also enable focused marketing to an ethnic community.

EthnicIndianAmericans

Wouldn’t Amazon want to know if you are of Tamil origin and begin marketing Pongal related items a month before January? Likewise marketing in advance of Holi and Lohri if you happen to be a Punjabi. Details of ethnic subgroup, especially of those from a South Asian background are valuable to marketers.  e-Commerce giants like Amazon, Google, Apple aspire to know detailed demographics of their target consumers and use sophisticated algorithms, cookies and tracking to build databases.

Desi Associations across the US and small businesses and Indian markets also actively court members of ethnic communities. In regions with a larger population of a particular community, one can see multiple associations focused on sub-groups. Likewise one might see multiple Indian restaurants catering to Punjabi, Andhra, Canara, Chettinad and other specialized cuisines in a region with higher population of such communities.

The recent move by US census bureau to track “Language Spoken at Home and English-Speaking Ability” of ethnic communities is an interesting development being watched by marketers. A recent announcement indicates that New data for five languages are available on American Fact Finder Table B16001: Haitian, Punjabi, Bengali, Telugu and Tamil.

  • Of the 280,867 people ages 5 and older who spoke Punjabi at home, 48.0 percent lived in California.
  • Of the 259,204 people ages 5 and older who spoke Bengali at home, 38.6 percent lived in New York.
  • The 321,695 people ages 5 and older who spoke Telugu at home and the 238,699 people speaking Tamil at home were more evenly distributed across many parts of the nation. For both languages, the highest concentration of speakers lived in California, followed by Texas and New Jersey (the number of persons who spoke Tamil in Texas and New Jersey are not statistically different).

In the past years, GaramChai.com has been publishing summary of ethnic data from different sources “Indians, Indo-American and NRIs in the US – Fatcts and Figures” and summary of inputs from a review of Census data.

The US census is finally counting how many people speak Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali

NRIs, foreigners and Senior Citizens without Aadhaar can re-verify their mobile services says DoT

There is a lot of debate among the non-resident Indian community about Aadhaar Verification required for some of the essential services like bank accounts, financial transactions and even telephone service and SIM. The challenge is that many of the NRIs who left India years ago may not have an Aadhaar Card.  They may not be eligible to apply for an Indian Unique ID during short visits back home.

Recognizing this challenge, the Indian Government’s Department of Telecom (DoT) has clarified a procedure for re-verification of mobile connections of foreign nationals, as well as NRI subscribers who either do not have Aadhaar or their mobile number is not registered with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Image result for indian talking on phone
Image courtesy: Shutterstock

NRIs with elderly parents back home will be happy to note that the DoT has also extended the re-verification procedure for senior citizens above 70 years who do not have an  Aadhaar and are unable to complete a biometric authentication

The DoT also added that various representations had been received from Non Resident India (NRIs) Overseas Indians and foreign nationals citing difficulties being faced by them in re-verification of their Indian mobile connections.

Details of the DoT announcement can be found on its website (link). You may also call the customer service of your phone’s service provider.


Previous articles on the topic:

Old and Lonely in New India – NYT

We continually update GaramChai.com with new listings. In a new section for “Elderly NRIs” of GaramChai.com , we feature issues and listings featuring elderly and aging for Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and people of Indian origin.

A recent article in New York Times by Sandip Roy, Old and Lonely in New India, makes for an interesting read. The author highlights pertinent topics impacting the aging population in India including

  • According to the Global Age Watch Index, a survey by Help Age International that measures the quality of life — using income security, health, personal capability and enabling environment — for people age 60 and older, India ranked 71 out of 96 countries in 2015.
  • An aging specialist once told me that in the West, development came before longevity, but in India aging has come before development. The problem is not the 100 million seniors. The problem is they do not have enough savings. There is little by way of a social safety net and health infrastructure. Too few have health insurance or pensions.
  • Old-age homes still carry the stigma of abandonment and destitution. Adult day care centers are too few. Many old-age homes do not accept patients with dementia. Public transport is not senior friendly. Physicians who do home visits are hard to find, though cataract and knee replacement surgeries are booming.
  • What my generation can offer our parents is money and technology. We install Skype on their phones so that they can talk to faraway grandchildren. What did you eat today? How is school? We fly back and forth to do our duty, propelled by equal parts love and guilt. An uncle pretty much commutes from New Jersey to Kolkata to arrange for his mother’s cancer treatment. A grand-aunt insists her grandchildren take exemplary care of her. Her old family retainer scoffs at the face-saving lie.

While a few NRIs remotely manage the affairs of elderly parents, a few decide to relocate back to India. Check out the blog “Life lessons on relocating to India: Six lessons from a six year old”

About a year ago, I was at the crossroads, wondering about work-life decision I had to take. My dad, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer a while ago was starting to gradually slow down. My aging parents lived alone in Bangalore, and I got the dreaded phone call from my mother on the verge of breakdown herself, asking for help.

After a rushed trip to Bangalore to assess and assist – I arranged for a caregiver to help them at night – I began to reflect on the course of action to take. I was living the American dream thousands of miles away – a well-paying job with a multinational, a cozy house in the suburbs of Anytown, USA and our pesky six-year old enjoying the early years at his elementary school.

Fastforward a year. I have come to appreciate how those diagnosed with terminal illnesses and their caregivers quickly learn to appreciate the glass half-full. Thanks to the “extended family” being around, my parents seem much more relaxed. Little Vijay, now Seven, gets to spend quality time with his grandparents and is learning a couple of Indian languages with his new school pals. As for Suja and me, we are learning to enjoy and re-live a bit of the contemporary Indian-dream; till the winds of change blow our way again.


Elderly NRI and senior citizen

Techie reaches mother’s flat on return from US, finds her skeleton

Honorary Consuls in India

During a recent trip to Bengaluru, India’s Silicon valley, I came across a car with an interesting license place that proudly indicated that the occupant was a “Honorary Consul of the Republic of Djibouti.” 

HonoraryCouncil (1)

I was intrigued  and was reminded of Graham Greene’s bestseller. What was a Honorary Consul of the tiny African nation doing in Bengaluru, I wondered.

Of course, this is not yet another vanity plate: The title is conferred after a lot of vetting, verfification and approvals by the host nation and the home country.  Ref: Honorary Consular Corps Diplomatique-India (HCCD-India) was formed in 1995. This website also has a directory of Honorary Consuls representing foreign governments in various parts of India.

Modern day Honorary Consuls are a part of the city’s elite (ref TOI)

It’s an elite clique: Their swanky cars bear black number plates encrypted with white letters, sport flags of a foreign country, they are guests at all the governor’s events, and have special entry to the seat of power – Vidhana Soudha and Vikas Soudha. They are Honorary Consuls — the creme of society who represent different countries but live right here in Bangalore.

The perks come with great responsibility, though; they are local guardians of the nationals of their respective countries who drop into Bangalore, either on a personal or business trip. Should they run into trouble in the city over issues related to passports, commute, money, they can turn to the Consul for help and guidance.
Consuls are also brand ambassadors of their host country, promoting its political trade and culture in India, particularly Bangalore.

 

– Mohan, Editor, GaramChai.com