Content update: Weekend in Toronto

We at GaramChai.com are continually updating our links and content. We recently received the following note from AirBnb asking if we could update the section on “Weekend Getaway to Toronto for Desis from USA

My name is Steve and I am part of the Airbnb team. I ?was checking out your?post (http://www.garamchai.com/canada/torontoweekend.htm) and wanted to?reach out and ask a question.

Airbnb has a “things to do in Toronto” guide based on recommendations from?local hosts that might be useful for your audience if you want to add it?to your site as a resource.?

Would you be interested in checking it out? I can send the link over.
Thanks!
Steve

We reviewed the recommendation from Steve and added the following to this page:

Things to do in Toronto – “A definitive guide of the best local spots, as told by local Airbnb hosts:”

#1 High Park (Parks & Nature Parks)
#2 Royal Ontario Museum (Arts & Culture Museums )
#3 Art Gallery of Ontario (Arts & Culture Museums)
#4 Rogers Centre Tour Experience (Entertainment & Activities ?)
#5 Ripley’s Aquarium Canada (Entertainment & Activities)
#6 St. Lawrence Market (Everything Else in Shopping)
#7 CN Tower Toronto (Sight seeing, Points of Interest)
#8 Dundas Square (Entertainment & Activities ?)
#9 Kensington Market (Sightseeing Neighborhoods)
#10 Distillery District (Sightseeing Neighborhoods)
#11 The Drake Hotel (Everything Else)
#12 Trinity Bellwoods Park (Parks & Nature Parks)
#13 Harbourfront Centre (Arts & Culture)
#14 TIFF Bell Lightbox (Arts & Culture Museums)
#15 Air Canada Centre (Entertainment & Activities)
#16 Gusto I-101 (Food Scene Restaurants)
#17 Bellwoods Brewery (Drinks & Nightlife)
#18 Toronto Eaton Centre (Shopping Malls)
#19 Grand Electric (Food Scene Restaurants)
#20 Steam Whistle Brewing (Drinks & Nightlife )

 

Thanks Steve from AirBnb!

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NRI Event: Playback Singer Arijit Singh Live in Concert April 8th Tampa, Florida

Event announcement: Check out the concert by popular?Playback Singer Arijit Singh

Event Date Saturday, April 08, 2017
Name Arijit Singh Live in Concert April 08, 2017 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL 8:30PM
Address 401 Channelside Dr,?Tampa, FL 33602
Brief Description Arijit Singh Live in Concert April 08, 2017 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL 8:30PM
Category Concert Events
Cost $39.00 – $300.00
About Arijit Singh

Arijit Singh is an Indian playback singer, predominantly singing Hindi and Bengali songs. He is praised for his ability of giving soul to lyrics, and “life to a song”. He is known for being shy and emotional and often stays away from limelight despite huge fame and popularity that he enjoys in India.Some of his most popular Hindi songs are “Tum Hi Ho”, “Sanam Re”, “Muskurane Ki Wajah Tum Ho”, “Hamari Adhuri Kahani”, “Hamdard”, “Man Mast Magan”, “Kabira (Encore)”, “Kabhi Jo Badal Barse”, “Samjhawan”, “Sawan Aaya Hai”, “Suno Na Sangemarmar”, “Khamoshiyan”. – Wikipedia


Event organized by ?Roshni Productions LLC

Contact 732-333-8116 or?email : roshniproductions@gmail.com

$11.5 billion NRI investment coming into realty, there is money to be made

Three months back, if someone would have recommended real estate stocks, you would have thought he must be joking.

After the demonetisation drive in November, the real estate sector was left in the ruins as the worst casualty of the cash ban.


You may also be interested in section of GaramChai.com – Realtors, Real Estate, mortgage and property deals for NRIs, Indians and Indo-Americans


But you will be in for surprise if I tell you that the S&P BSE Realty index, the barometer of the real estate sector, has actually delivered 14 per cent return so far in 2017 and is up nearly 2 per cent since demonetisation.

What does it tell you? The concerns about the real estate sector are largely done with and after the mega booster dose from the Union Budget, things are looking not just rosy but attractive to make this sector a top investment bet for the year.

The Budget announcements clearly indicated that the government?s focus on improving affordability of homes will benefit end-users, which would result in significant increase in housing supply in the secondary market.

?In 2017, total NRI investment in realty in top eight cities is expected to touch $11.5 billion. This will represent 20 per cent of total market share, currently estimated at $60 billion,? KanikaBSE -5.00 % Gupta Shori, COO & Co- Founder, Square Yards, said in a report.

Read more at Economic Times?

Holy Cow: Two sides of the coin. In this case two sides of the new ?5 notes with Tallow

A few months ago, Indians and South Asians in Britain, ?especially vegetarian Hindus and Jains, ?were irked by news that the new currency note – the ?5 polymer note – introduced in England contained tallow. Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet, and is used in candles and soaps.

After the news broke out, Vegetarian Hindus and Vegans in general took offense and took up digital campaigns. ?A?petition demanding the replacement of the notes with a vegan alternative generated over 130,000 signatures. (change.org). The?government and Bank of England began looking into the issue and acknowledged via Twitter that?”There is a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate of the polymer ?5 notes”?

Image tweeted by @LabourAnimalRG

So, why is this a big deal for Hindus and Vegetarians?

The National Council of Hindu Temples, summarized the feelings of Desi community in a statement (link):

The oldest of the worlds’ great religious traditions, Hinduism is the only one that worships the Divine equally in both the masculine and feminine. Our agrarian forefathers offered the bull as a symbol of divine righteousness (the male principle), while the cow is a symbol of divine nurturing (the feminine principle). We now, centuries later, still embrace these symbols and hold them close to our hearts to remind us of the path laid out for us by these complementary forces. To handle something from a slaughtered cow would be to insult the Divine Mother, the principle of nurturing and the loving provision of nature. No aware Hindu will willingly or voluntarily do it.

All British Hindus stand at the crossroads of Shreyas and Preyas, and with every donation at a temple, or every aashirwaad given to a new married couple, or every blessing conveyed by a gift of money given to a grandchild, the choice will have to be made again and again. The next time that PM Theresa May, or other Parliamentarians, visit a Hindu temple they too will have to make this choice before contemplating making a symbolic donation, and since great importance is placed upon Indo British Trade in a post Brexit Britain, payments made in a morally, religiously and ethically tainted currency may well acquire a totally different “bhavana” sentiment.

History of Tallow and Hindus

There is a long history of Hindus and Muslims being provoked and angered by the use of animal byproducts, which the modern British leader seem to have forgotten; or wish to ignore. The key reason for ?Indian Rebellion of 1857,? a.k.a the mutiny by sepoys (soldiers) of the East India Company’s army on 10 May 1857 was the use of Tallow and lard-greased cartridges. (link)

The British, probably assumed that the values and mores of Indians, especially those of Indian immigrants in the UK changed considerably in the decades since.

The other side of the Tallow note

The British Government and Bank of England began to downplay the issue and used digerati to communicate the fact that there was less than 0.00007g of Tallow per ?5 note. In effect, all the banknotes in circulation combined would have less than 23kgs, half the tallow output of an average cow! ?Some also argued that currency notes were an outdated concept in a digital age and this shouldn?t be a big deal.

Now comes the news that the Bank of England has refused to yield to pressure from protest groups about its use of animal-derived products in bank notes, saying that it will not pull any of the existing ?5 notes from circulation and will print the ?10 notes as planned.

?The Bank was not aware of the presence of animal-derived products when it signed the contract with its supplier for the ?5 and ?10 banknote polymer,? the Bank said in a statement last week.

?When the Bank discovered the presence of these products, its first step was to alert the public and subsequently has been treating the concerns raised by members of the public with the utmost seriousness,? it added.

What next?

Activists were disappointed by the announcement from theBank of England. “The move has disappointed the sizable but vocal Asian minority in England ?The Bank keeping tallow, or beef fat, in the new fiver sends a message to vegans, as well as Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, that our values don?t matter? ?summarizes an article in Guardian

Vegan and Hindu groups have promised to keep the issue alive, so?this is probably not the last word on the topic.

Other links:

 

NRIs have a hard time adopting a child. Maybe this is why

I was reminded of the excruciating process NRIs and OCIs undergo while reading a recent story “NRI woman, two others plotted to kill adopted boy”

People adopt children for different reasons. Some couples do it because they aren’t able?to conceive, while others do it for altruistic reasons. Regardless of the reason, adopting a child can be one of the most selfless acts a couple can do.

Adoption of children from India by Non Resident Indians (NRI) or Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) can be especially hard.?India has a lot of orphanages with destitute children but the legal system for adoption in India can be painfully slow, especially if the parents happen to be NRI or OCI and hold foreign passports, and intend to take the child out of India.?Adoption agencies, at least the genuine ones go by the letter of the law.?The excruciating wait can test the will of all but the most spirited prospective parents.

The?news account of the recent incident in Times of India goes on to describe:

 

 

The murder of a 12-year-old orphan boy, Gopal Ajani, on February 8 was the result of conspiracy hatched by a London-based NRI woman and two others to adopt the child first, insure him for a huge amount and then eliminate him to claim insurance.Investigation by Keshod police revealed names of NRI woman Aarti Dhir (53) and Nitish Mund (27), both natives of Gurdaspur in Punjab, and Kanwaljit Raizada, a resident of Keshod. Nitish and Raizada were studying together in London and were sharing a room there. Aarti was their neighbour and works in a watch showroom. The trio had been hatching this conspiracy since 2015 when they met in London, said Ashok Tilva, police inspector.

“After the adoption formalities of Gopal were completed, they had taken a life insurance of Rs 1.30 crore for the boy. The insurance money was to be shared among the three in proportion to the premium they contributed. They had also paid two premiums of Rs 13 lakh each,” Tilva told TOI.

What makes humans commit such ghastly acts for money is beyond comprehension. Stories like these, when done in the backdrop of noble act of adoption is all the more heart wrenching. It?makes one empathize with the bureaucracy put in place to safeguard interests of adoptees.


Other links of interest

NRI's date with politics: Non Resident Indians participating in politics

An interesting question came up online “How can I participate in Indian politics being an NRI?”?The question prompted us to research on this topic further.

Many Indian-Citizen NRIs participate indirectly in Indian politics by the use of social media. Some NRIs actively participate on overseas chapters of political organizations like Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS),?Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and others.

Some NRIs are also known to travel to their Indian “home-town” to actively participate in elections and to vote.

Image result for oci indian

A times of India article features “NRI’s date with politics”

But what makes Indians living abroad to be a part of political process in India? The people of Indian heritage living across the world have a mix of characteristics: some are foreign citizens, while others are Indian citizens (NRIs). Some have nominal relationship with India, their ancestors having left Indian shores generations back, while others belong to the pool of a mobile population having active stay and ties in India. Majority of NRIs living abroad find new roots in adopted lands, raise families, work and pay taxes and enjoy the facilities and privileges as much as locals do. But there is something that makes them yearn for India! They may continue to live offshore, yet their heart lies in India. In other words, you cannot take India out of their hearts. Aligning with a charitable work is one of the common things NRIs do to give back to India. Increasingly, political participation has also become a tool for many to contribute to their motherland even while sitting afar.

Over the years, the political parties of India have also reached out to the Indians settled abroad. This has culminated in Indian parties having their foreign extensions. Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) is the most obvious case in point. Its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) also has overseas presence. The global front rechristened as Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS)- has presence in several countries. The HSS provides a platform for cultural nourishment to the Indians (Hindus) far away from their land and also conduct ‘sakhsas’.

The current year marks 25 years of existence of HSS in the USA. Similarly, OFBJP has chapters in more than 15 countries, with most active presence in the USA, the UK and Canada. Behind successful organisation of political rallies for BJP’s Narendra Modi were the combined efforts of the HSS and the OFBJP. The significance of overseas chapters can be gazed from the fact that BJP has in place a full time global convener whose job is to actively work on the overseas chapters. But the most amazing story of an Indian political movement galvanising the Indian diaspora across the world is exemplified by none other than the nascent political party called Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Many Indians Oversea ? (OCIs) actively participate in the politics of their host nations, especially after they attain citizenship of their host countries.

NEET 2017 FAQ for NRI, OCI, and foreign national aspirants

Here is a recent announcement from India’s? Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) regarding NATIONAL ELIGIBILITY CUM ENTRANCE TEST (NEET)

As per regulations framed under the Indian Medical Council Act-1956 as amended in 2016 and the Dentists Act-1948 as amended in 2016, NATIONAL ELIGIBILITY CUM ENTRANCE TEST (UG) ? 2017 [NEET(UG)-2017] will be conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), for admission to MBBS/BDS Courses in India in Medical/Dental Colleges run with the approval of Medical Council of India/Dental Council of India under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India except for the institutions established through an Act of Parliament e.g. AIIMS and JIPMER Puducherry.

The NEET (UG)-2017 will be conducted on Sunday, the 7th May, 2017. The responsibility of the CBSE is limited to the conduct of the entrance examination, declaration of result and providing All India Rank to the Directorate General Health Services, Government of India for the conduct of counselling for 15% All India Quota Seats and for supplying the result to state/other Counselling Authorities.

A lot of students go abroad to study medicine. Those who have studied medicine in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are exempted from the screening test. (Representational image)
Googled Image of Test takers

 

This year foreign national aspirants need to take NEET, according to Supreme Court orders passed last year. Here are some key points that Non-Resident Indians (NRI), Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and foreign nationals need to keep in mind before applying for NEET 2017.

A few additional clarifications for NRIs and Foreign nationals

What is the minimum qualification for appearing in NEET-UG, 2017 for candidates of Foreign Nationals?

  • Any examination which in scope and standard (Last 02 years of 10+2 Study comprising of Physics, Chemistry and Biology/Bio-technology; Which shall include practical test in these subjects) is found to be equivalent to the Intermediate Science Examination of an Indian University/Board, taking Physics, Chemistry and Biology/Bio-technology including practical tests in each of these subjects and English.
  • Provided that to be eligible for competitive entrance examination, candidate must have passed any of the qualifying examinations as enumerated in Bulletin or appearing in the qualifying examination in 2017.
  • Provided further that the students educated abroad seeking admission into medical colleges in India must have passed in the subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Bio-technology and English up to the 12th standard level with 50% marks and their equivalency determined as per regulations of the Medical Council of India and the concerned University.

 

What are the eligibility criteria for appearing in NEET-UG, 2017?

Indian Nationals, Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Oversees Citizen of India (OCIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) & Foreign Nationals are eligible to appear in NEET (UG)-2017.

  • He/she has completed age of 17 years at the time of admission or will complete the age on or before 31st December of the year of his/her admission to the 1styear MBBS/BDS Course.
  • The upper age limit for NEET-UG is 25 years as on the date of examination with relaxation of 5 years for the candidates belonging to SC/ST/ OBC category.

Who can appear in NEET-UG, 2017 for 15% All India Quota seats?

  • Indian Nationals
  • Non Resident Indians (NRIs)
  • Oversees Citizen of India (OCIs)
  • Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs)
  • Foreign Nationals are eligible to appear in NEET (UG)-2017 for 15% All India Quota Seats.

From which city foreign nationals, OCIs & PIOs can appear in NEET-UG, 2017?

They can choose any three cities as given in Appendix-II.