Expert committee on Non-Resident Indian (NRI) marriages and disputes

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) under the leadership of Sushma Swaraj has set up an expert committee on Non-Resident Indian (NRI) marriages and disputes arising therein.

The Committee includes Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Swati Jaihind along with representatives from the MEA, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Women and Child Development (WCD) and other experts.

The Committee has been mandated to identify legal and regulatory challenges faced by Indian nationals on this pertinent issue and suggest amendments in existing legislations as well as new laws and policies to better resolve the disputes concerning NRI marriages.

The Committee is slated to submit its report by August.

DCW on its part has given certain recommendations and suggestions to the Committee to combat the issues relating to NRI marriages. Further, in order to propose effective and actionable recommendations to the Committee, the Delhi Commission for Women has requested the Committee to seek certain information from MEA and MHA.

The Commission has also decided to seek suggestions from public and experts in the matter, so as to expand its knowledge base as well as learn from field experiences. The Delhi Commission for Women is contacting certain NGOs to seek their opinion in the matter.

The DCW chief has also written to NRI Commission of Punjab, Kerala and Goa to seek data about number of cases arising in their states as well as their views on the matter. Similarly, she has written to chairpersons of women commissions across the country seeking their views on the matter.

The Commission has released a special email ID nri.dcw@gmail.com for people (especially NRIs, experts, NGOs) to share their suggestions on the issue.

The last date for submission is 23 July 2017 till 11 a.m.

Recent questions by Indian lawmakers on the topic include:

  • QUESTION NO.†*450 MARITAL DISPUTES OF NRIs (link) – The Ministry has received 2485 complaints about NRI marital disputes during the last three years and until 30 March 2017.
  • QUESTION NO.1609 INDIAN WOMEN DEFRAUDED BY NRI SPOUSES (link) – The Ministry has been receiving petitions from Indian women stating that their overseas Indian spouse has hidden the fact that he is already married or has a partner. Their petitions pertain to abandonment of the Indian woman by overseas Indian spouse either in India or in the foreign country after marriage. When the overseas Indian husband is summoned to attend court proceedings in India, Indian Missions/Posts have no means for enforcing the order abroad, except when the foreign country accepts the request for mutual legal assistance.

 




Recent stories on the topic include:

Man posing as NRI groom dupes South Mumbai woman of lakhs – The accused, whom the 30-year-old Nagpada-based woman had met on a matrimonial site, introduced himself as an NRI from England cheated her out of Rs 4.19 lakh

SoPs for NRI matrimonial disputes – The Hindu – There have been complaints of frauds, abandonment, domestic violence, extra-marital relationships, ex-parte divorce, being duped of money after promising marriage, forceful/illegal retention of children’s custody, non-maintenance of maintenance etc., from the aggrieved women, Ms.Venkataratnam who left for Delhi said. sThe Ministry of Women and Child Development realising the need, decided to frame Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) providing details of legal recourse available for such women. It would also make available details of legal recourse for such women along with the procedure for accessing the same in consultation with the Ministries of Home, External Affairs, Law and Justice and National Commission for Women.

Q&A – Return to India Query

Advice for NRIs and Indians abroad on returning to India

Here is a recent online query on Returning to India.

I am a software engineer from India and I have spent my last 15 years abroad in various countries. Which place in India is best for an NRI like me to settle down on returning to India with a decent job?

Response from our editor follows

This is a great question, but there is hardy any information on your interests, personal situation, career goals or intent.

If you were unconstrained and had the resources, wouldnt you want to settle in Andamans ?

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or Himachal Pradesh?

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India is a vast, ever-changing nation so it is really important to focus on these:

  • Interests and personal situation:
    • Are you extroverted and outgoing and want an urbane social circle?
    • Do you have an extended family living in a certain region? Do you plan to socialize frequently with your family?

Your interests and personal situation will guide you on the city/region where you want to ‘settle down.’ For example, if your extended family is in Imphal, Manipur, wouldn’t you be better off settling closer in Imphal, Assam or Kolkata? Same goes for your interests. If you love the ocean, wouldn’t you want to settle in Mumbai or Goa?

  • Career goals:
    • Do you specialize in a very niche area. E.g AI or Big-data tool?
    • Do you plan to enrich your career with a move to India?

I am not going to assume whether you are an AI, Big-data or HANA consultant since most metros will have opportunities for these. If you plan to settle in a major metro, this may be a non-issue. However, if you are looking at settling in tier-2 cities, you need to reflect on your career goals and re-skilling too.

  • Intent:
    • Are you clear why you want to move back to India?
    • Are you prepared to accept the ways of life in a developing nation – traffic, pollution, regionalism etc?

Bottomline: Be clear of your intent and you will be better informed. Check out my recent post: “What were your experiences moving back to India after getting US citizenship? What are the best ways to make this move?

You may also be interested in Return 2 India Section of GaramChai.com 


‘Badass’ Vanity fair picture: Is this an attempt by @Deccn_Chronicle to bring ‘Global values’ to India?

Today’s Deccan Chronicle has a color picture of the visibly pregnant and naked Serena Williams showing her bump.

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Today’s Deccan Chronicle  has a color picture of the visibly pregnant and naked Serena Williams showing her bump. This appears on the cover page of the newspaper that kids, their parents and grandparents are bound to ogle at!

Is this an attempt to bring ‘Global values’ to India?


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!

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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/