Indian Prime Minister Modi goes to Washington

Trump meets Modi: Indian Prime Minister to meet America leaders and President Trump. This is Mr. Modi’s first trip since Mr. Trump took charge.

ModiTrump

The agenda for the Prime Minister’s visit to USA (June 25-26, 2017) was published in Indian Embassy’s website:

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Washington DC on June 25-26, 2017, at the invitation of the President of the United States of America, The Honorable Donald J. Trump.

Prime Minister will hold official talks with President Trump on June 26. This will be the first meeting between the two leaders. Their discussions will provide a new direction for deeper bilateral engagement on issues of mutual interest and consolidation of multi-dimensional strategic partnership between India and the U.S.”

President Trump took to Twitter:

Modi Ji is equally excited on Twitter

Media reports include

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.

NRIs in Middle East: Expatriates scramble for return tickets as Qatar crisis escalates

News update from mathrubhumi on the Quatar crisis:

Kasargod:  The expatriate community in Qatar is scrambling to find tickets to come back home following the escalating crisis in the country following the isolation of Doha. Following the crisis, the expats who booked tickets through or from other Gulf Countries are in a rush to find or buy tickets on Indian and Sri Lankan flight operators before the vacation begins on June 22.

The airlines in the Gulf countries have responded to the crisis by assuring the passengers a full refund of the ticket amount. The expats, in the meanwhile, have pointed out that the move is insufficient to tide over the crisis as the airfares have quadrupled following the crisis.

Several Malayalies who run their own businesses in the Gulf countries conduct their financial transactions out of Doha. The country is also at risk of food shortage as was signaled by the heavy rush at the hypermarkets. The food, egg, meat and milk supplies of Qatar are either from or routed through Saudi but the country hopes the transactions will have a smooth flow in the holy month of Ramzan.

Meanwhile, KMCC President SAM Basheer has asked the Malayaly community to have faith in the administrators of Qatar. High-level talks are on to diffuse the crisis and the community should abstain from interfering in the domestic affairs of the country and beware of negative propaganda in social media.

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.

Sushma Swaraj: Even if you are stuck on the Mars, Indian Embassy there will help you.

Last week, NBC’s Megyn Kelly asked Indian PM Modi if he is on Twitter

Indian digirati quickly took to social media asking Ms. Kelly to do her homework before interviewing world leaders. At last count, beloved NaMo had over 30 million followers!

NaMo

With 8 million plus followers, Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj continues to make waves. In the past, we have blogged “NRIs wonder: How do I bring my issue to the attention of Sushma Swaraj?”

Her latest tweet is a bit Tongue-in-cheek, but may not be too far fetched.

 

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.