PM Modi lauds ISRO’s space feats during US trip

Indian Space research commercialization and business venture Modi seems to be telling private Space ventures:  Move over SpaceX . Time to sell ISRO’s capabilities to the west too! 

Space: the final frontier. Made in India or make America Great in Space again…. seems to be the question here.

Modi seems to be selling India’s public-private Space ventures:  Move over SpaceX . Time to sell ISRO’s capabilities to the west too!

ModiTrump

The Times of India has featured PM Modi speaking up ISRO’s capabilities during his recent visit to the US.

With the Indian space agency achieving several milestones in recent months, PM Narendra Modi, during his current visit to the US, lauded Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) for its rapid advancement in space technology.

While addressing the Indian diaspora in Washington DC on Sunday night, Modi said, “India has earned a big name in space technology. Just two days ago, Isro had launched 31 satellites in one go. A few months ago, we had broken the world record by launching 104 satellites in one go.”

The PM also spoke about Isro’s achievements in launching the country’s heaviest rocket GSLV Mk III on June 5, which made India capable of launching a 4-tonne-class geosynchronous satellite. He said, “We recently launched a rocket whose weight was not counted in kilograms but was compared with the weight of many (200) elephants. Our government’s focus on technology-driven governance, technology-driven society and technology-driven development is showing desired results.”

Space is certainly in Mr. Modi’s agenda. The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar(NISAR) is scheduled to be launched in 2021 but the work has started on it at Pasadena, a suburb of Los Angeles. India has also been forging ahead with a private-public business venture called Team Indus. Team Indus, ISRO aim for January 26, 2018 to plant Tricolour on moon. Team Indus is the only Indian team in this Google-sponsored global effort.

  • NDTV asks “Will NASA-ISRO Mega Satellite Pass Trump Test? Scientists On Tenterhooks?”
  • India.com adds : “Narendra Modi-Donald Trump meeting in US: NASA-ISRO satellite at stake”

Do I really need an immigration company advise to move to Canada from UAE?

My age 34, have 9 yrs exp, have 5yr old kid and educated wife, pls suggest

This was a query from an online forum that our Editor responded to.

No. You don’t really need an ‘immigration company’ to advice you on moving to Canada IFF:

  • You are able to download all immigration forms and documents from the CIC web (link: Apply to immigrate to Canada)
  • You are able to understand all the requirements and follow them on your own (most of it is simple English)
  • You are able to get all the documents, copies, attestations etc as required
  • You are able to seek police and security clearance
  • You have access to required funds
  • You are able to search information on ‘life in Canada’ and know where you want to land and what you want to do there
  • When in doubt, you are confident that you can ‘search’ the web and seek answers

If you are educated and confident, there is no reason to hire an immigration consultant/company. Most of these consultants help you fill the form and help with documentation.

Either way, you are still responsible for the application and to respond to queries from CIC.

 

Update on Investing in Real Estate in India for NRIs

Investing in Indian Real Estate is a perennial topic of interest to Non Resident Indians (NRIs), OCIs, PIOs and others. 

A few months ago, we blogged about the need for streamlined and flexible policies (ref: “NRI investment in real estate: Flexible policies are the need of the hour”). It turns out that things are moving in the right direction. There is a lot happening on the legislative front.

An Article in moneycontrol examines the Impact of RERA on NRIs investing in India property market 

The question now is whether NRIs can be more confident in making an investment decision with policy changes such as RERA and GST attract NRIs to Indian realty in 2017.

The government has largely addressed most of the above concerns by some of the key policy changes introduced in 2016, namely the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA), the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Benami Transaction Act.

RERA or the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act 2016 (RERA) will ensure regulations in this largely unregulated market. The purchaser will be more protected and greater transparency in the sector will be visible. RERA will put accountability on the developers in terms of financial disclosure, timely development of projects and maintaining good corporate governance practices.

The Punjab state government has taken a lead by proposing to set up an ombudsman solely for NRIs. An Article in Times of India says 

“A lot of NRIs face problems either related to their property or other matters. They come to the state only for a short period every year and cannot afford spending long time dealing with legal problems. With the objective to redress their grievances effectively in a time-bound manner, the state is bringing a new legislation to create an Ombudsman for NRI Affairs,” the budget proposal states.

To further connect with Punjabi NRIs, the state government has unveiled “Friends of Punjab-Chief Minister’s Garima Gram Yojna” for the Diaspora.

There is certainly a demand from NRIs. Khaleej times examines how “More NRIs keen to make second property investment”

More NRIs in the UAE are now interested in securing an additional investment back home – there has been a rise of 110 per cent in this segment from 20 per cent last year to 42.12 per cent now.

This was revealed in a survey conducted by the organisers of the upcoming Indian Property Show among 10,000 UAE-based Indian expats.

There is an increase of about 45 per cent in people looking to buy homes in the budget range of Rs5.1 million to Rs7.5 million (Dh290,000 to Dh426,000) from 21 per cent last year to 30.48 per cent this year.

Although Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune remain the top favourite cities among the Indian community here, Kannur, Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram have emerged as new destinations of interest.

“NRIs are crucial stakeholders of the real estate industry. In 2017, total NRI investment in realty in top eight cities is expected to touch $11.5 billion [Dh42.20 billion]. This will represent 20 per cent of the total market share, currently estimated at $60 billion [Dh220 billion],” said R. Srividya, general manager of corporate sales and brand engagement, Indian Property Show, Sumansa Exhibitions.

Endnote: You may also be interested in GaramChai.com section on NRI Real Estate

When everything is available in the USA, why do people carry so much stuff from India?

This was an interesting question that came from an online forum.

Indeed, US is the land of plenty and almost everything is available in the US. Indian Grocery shops – check out our extensive listing – can be found in almost every city and metro in the US. They stock a wide array of ethnic food, utensils, cookers and trinkets. Indians still prefer to carry suit-case full of ‘stuff’ while traveling to the US. A few weeks ago, we responded to a similar question “Where do I buy Indian mangoes in the USA?”

Here are a few practical reasons why Indians might ‘stuff’ their baggage while traveling to the US.

  1. Food-stuff and dry-grocery – to be used during the initial few days after they land. Many Indian visitors are used to home-cooked food and might plan to cook a dinner/lunch at an extended-stay hotel or at an apartment. [Why don’t they just drive to an Indian store for grocery stuff? Because it may not be possible to drive down during the first few days. ]
  2. Clothing – Indian ethnic wear, like Indian Sarees, Chudidhar (for women) and Kurtas (for men) sell at a steep premium. It is practical to carry sufficient number of these. Indian clothing can be heavy, adding to the baggage!
  3. Trinkets, Curios, handicrafts – ‘what did you get for me?’ is a typical question colleagues, friends and neighbors might ask. Indians returning back to the US generally carry a bagful of typical curios for others and some for themselves
  4. Mom’s pickles – Pickles, papads, ‘homemade’ masalas and savories are perennial favorites even though US customs officers have been known to randomly pick and discard some of these
  5. Indian Utensils – Some folks carry Indian utensils, cookers, mixers and even wet-grinders. Such stuff can be expensive in the US.

Requests from family and friends. Family and friends in the US are sure to make requests from 1, 2, 3 which returning-Indians might be obliged to bring back.

Observations of an absentee landlord in America

Indian Americans, NRIs and Indians in America may need to relocate for work or other family reasons.

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing those relocating: what to do with my house; Sell or rent? While selling one’s house is an option, some people might opt to retain the property and continue to build equity on it. In addition to equity, one can generate rental income that will compensate for the expenses. Absentee landlords generally engage the services of a trustworthy local property manager who can manage one’s property remotely.

Many NRIs also opt to retain their property in the US even after moving back to India and might rent it out via a property manager.

Greensboro

In a new section of GaramChai.com (link),  we present a first-hand account of an absentee landlord in America. Absentee landlord is an economic term for a person who owns and rents out a profit-earning property, but does not live within the property’s local economic region.

Yes CNN, all nonsense words have their roots in Sanskrit

नमो नमः, नमस्कारः Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo,

Kudos to you and CNN for the highly entertaining and engaging interview of this year’s Spelling Bee champion, the 12-year-old Ananya Vinay.

The maturity you guys displayed in quizzing the young Spelling Bee champion about “a nonsense word” tweeted by the President of this great land shows class and finesse!  I just don’t understand all the ruckus over your innocuous remark about Sanskrit.

In a time-honored journalistic tradition, you seem to have researched extensively on South Asians and Sanskrit before the interview. You guessed rightly, that Sanskrit happens to be the mother tongue of the 1.2 billion Indians (just as Latin is the Lingua Franca in all Latin American countries)

I feel the same way as you. Every brown-skinned American kid should be well versed in the language of the land their parents or grandparents migrated out of. After all, didn’t former President Obama speak fluent Swahili?

In your googling you must have come across this little-known fact: Indian babies don’t cry. Rather the first word they utter after slipping out of their mother’s womb is the rhythmic chanting of Om (or Auṃ in Sanskrit: ॐ).  I remember my grandmother singing Sanskrit lullabies to me and my cousins while growing up in the old country; I am sure Ananya’s grandma did so too.

I am glad you are brushing up on your Sanskrit before you interview the Indian-American Fab Five members of the Congress. A few words of Sanskrit with a Namaste is sure to break the ice when you happen to bump into Niki Haley or Bobby Jindal.

Punardarśanāya’ from an Anon-Desi | From  Little India, El Camino Real; where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average spelling Bee contestants.

Opportunity for Visiting NRI scientists to work in Indian institutes

India’s Central Government is all set to launch a first-of-its-kind programme next month wherein foreign and Non Resident Indian (NRI) scientists can work in the country’s scientific institutions for a period of one to three months.

Those of us (including GaramChai.com editor) who attended the “Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) in 2017” recall the announcement on Visiting Advanced Joint Research (VAJRA)

Hon’ble Prime Minister during the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention at Bengaluru on 8th January 2017 has announced the launching of VAJRA (Visiting Advanced Joint Research) Faculty scheme by the Department of Science and Technology which enables NRIs and overseas scientific community to participate and contribute to research and development in India. The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a Statutory body of the Department will implement the Scheme.

VAJRA faculty will undertake research in S&T priority areas of nation wherein the capability and capacity are needed to be developed. The VAJRA faculty will engage in collaborative research in public funded institutions.

The residency period of the VAJRA Faculty in India would be for a minimum of 1 month and a maximum of 3 months a year.

The VAJRA Faculty is provided a lump-sum amount of US$ 15000 in the first month of residency in a year and US$ 10000 p.m. in the other two months to cover their travel and honorarium. While no separate support is provided for e.g. accommodation, medical / personal insurance etc. the host institute may consider providing additional support.

A few key points about the program

  • VAJRA initiative has been welcomed by leading Indian institutes
  • Foreign researchers see the VAJRA initiative as a gateway to meaningful research in an environment full of opportunity
  • The scientists under the VAJRA programme would draw a salary of USD 15,000 in the first month and USD 10,000 each in the remaining months.
  • The number of scientists under the programme has been capped at 1,000.
  • The government currently runs a programme under ‘Ramanujan Fellowship’. However, it is aimed at attracting Indian students and doctors working abroad. The period of the fellowship is for five years.

Link to the Department of Science and Technology announcement 

For more details, log on to http://www.vajra-india.in/