Desis in U.S Congress! Indian-American Fab Five formally enter US Congress on Tuesday

Hindustan Times featured “Indian-American Fab Five formally enter US Congress on Tuesday“?On Tuesday, members of the 115th U.S. Congress were sworn in, and that five Indian Americans: Senator Kamala Harris, and Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna, and Ami Bera. All five are Democrats in a Republican majority Congress.


Image credit:?

Jayapal spoke of the significance of her win in broader terms, as reported by The Hindu:

?This country belongs to all of us. My victory has inspired confidence in many young women and I hope a whole new generation of political people rises among us.?

The Economic Times reported Krishnamoorthi?s comments at the event, remarks which also spoke to those hoping to enter politics:

?For all of those in the audience tonight who are thinking about running for office, there is no better time than now. You have role models, we have play book. It?s time to get started.?

The popular Desi blog? a detailed profile of “each of the Fab Five, and for images from their first moments as new members of Congress.”

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 2017

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9 January every year to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India?s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.

Ministry of External Affairs | Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 | Redefining Engagement with Overseas Indians

PBD conventions are being held every year since 2003. These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities. These conventions are also very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.

During the event, individuals of exceptional merit are honoured with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award to appreciate their role in India?s growth. The event also provides a forum for discussing key issues concerning the Indian Diaspora.

Here is an interesting question:

I was born and brought up in India, and like so many of my countrymen, I now find myself enjoying my work and life here in the US. I am on the standard H1B->GreenCard->Citizenship path that many follow.

But I love my country and until recently I could not imagine living permanently elsewhere. I was wondering what it’s like to give up Indian citizenship and accept American citizenship? Was it a hard choice? Did you have regrets?

Response from our editor, Mohan, Naturalized American, OCI, Lived and worked in a dozen countries:

For many of us who have lived overseas for extended periods of time, a western passport is a practical tool to have. Traveling back to India every so often is made easy by having an OCI.

Take my example: The decision for me wasn’t hard. I naturalized as an American in 2012, after which I had to have my Indian passport cancelled and applied for an OCI. This was a very practical decision since I lived in the US and worked for a European multinational. I was expected to make frequent business trips from the US to the European HQ. As Indian Passport holder (even with a US Green Card) I was required to apply and renew a Schengen visa. A US passport allows a visa-free travel.

There are few professions like Government service, holding a Political office or military where nationalism and patriotism are kind of a ‘Bona fide occupational qualifications’ For the rest of us in professional services or business, nationalistic sentiments take a back seat to one?s family and friends, and life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

One way of looking at Naturalization and giving up a birth-citizenship to acquire another one is similar to the ‘Flag of convenience – Wikipedia’

So, how does it feel?

  • Does my heart flutter every time I hear Lata Mangeshkar?s ?A mere watan ke logo? or Mahendra Kapoor?s ?mere desh ki dharti?? Sure it does every time!
  • Do I feel a sense of pride standing up for ?star spangled banner? or when I hear ?America the Beautiful.? You Bet !

How do I target NRI clients through Facebook?

Hmm, wouldn?t it be easy to just enter a few keywords on Facebook groups and target Non Resident Indians (NRI) ? Marketers, consultants and analysts would be out of jobs and most advertisers could just click a few buttons.

In reality it is much more challenging to identify NRIs. This is because:

  • The varied demographics and backgrounds of the people that make up NRIs. NRIs could range from laborers in Dubai and Muscat to bankers on Wall Street and London? and of course Techies on H1 visas and hundreds of thousands of students in western universities.
  • Geographic spread. NRIs are geographically dispersed across the globe
  • Varied professions. NRIs range from housewives to Hindu priests in temples to professionals to Motel business owners.

Now, back to your question. You need to begin classifying your target audience

  • Which – profession, economic class – are the NRIs you are looking to target?
  • Where – Identify the location where you plan to target NRIs
  • Why – Why do you plan to target NRIs? What do you plan to sell them?

Once you have narrowed down the groups, you need further research on NRI portals – example Garamchai.Com – with listings of businesses, places of worship, Indian associations, Student associations etc.

After you have identified these associations and businesses, search on Facebook groups to target people.

If you think all this is a lot of effort you are not wrong. This is just step one in engagement since NRIs even in online groups are going to be wary of unsolicited requests from strangers. This means you need a plan to engage in social media before you can ?target? them.

Message me if you need references to consultants who may be able to guide you. All the best!

Q&A: Why don't Indians wear deodorant?

Here is an interesting question on an online forum and my response

Why don’t Indians wear deodorant?This is obviously a generalization, but I’ve noticed that most Indians in the US don’t wear deodorant. Why is this?

Indians don?t wear deodorant??You must be kidding!

Image source:?Deo ads face the axe effect?

Image:?Emraan Hashmi Cobraman ? (@ehcobraman)

Now, back to the question, With a billion+ people and a growing, affluent middle class, Deodorant market is certainly taking off. FMCG marketers in India dream of getting their Deodorant to be on ?Top 5 Best Selling Men?s Deodorant Brands in India?

A few reasons?some?Indians may not be wearing Deodorant

  • They are Swedesi and dont want to consume western brands.
    • These folks may be waiting for a?swadesi?brand; e.g Baba Ramdev?s pantanjali? deodorant
  • Can?t afford Deodorant
    • ? ? Can you really expect those living on minimum wage to spend ?s on a Deo?
  • Might think that their BO attracts the opposite sex.

NRI Q&A: For returning NRIs of India, is there any way to save the tax on the NRE Savings interest?

Here is a recent online query:

For returning NRIs of India, is there any way to save the tax on the NRE Savings interest?

This is typically interesting. If you keep your money overseas, you can avoid the Indian taxes that is relatively high and hardly 1% of Indians pay taxes. In other words, practically the Government does not want the funds to be brought back to India. Looks weird!!!

Response below:

Evaluating just tax on your interest/savings is very myopic and can lead to poor decisions. Why do I say that?

  • Repatriate or not is a question that requires a lot of thought
    • Interest / dividends income in many western countries is taxable. For instance, if you have an account in the US, UK or Canada, your financial institution will automatically report it to tax authorities, and may also deduct tax (TDS) before you get paid.
    • Interest rates in the west – in $s??s or ? -?are much less than offered for??.
    • Of course other factors like exchange rate fluctuations will have to be taken into account
  • It is not practical – or wise – to evade taxes. Look for holistic strategies to avoid and minimize taxes. Check out?Difference Between Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (with Comparison Chart) – Key Differences
  • Tax planning needs to take a 360 view of your earnings and finances and not just interest
    • Unless you are a professional financier or full-time investor (e.g Warren Buffet), Interest and dividends from investments are going to be one component of your earnings.
  • Tax planning will also have to consider one?s global income considering tax treaties India has with other governments . E.g -?US ? India tax treaty –

Another key factor to keep in mind: A ?returning NRI? will become a (tax) ?resident? of India after returning and spending a set period of time in India.

Bottomline: Trawling in Quora and online forums may give you partial answers. If you have sizable income and investments, hire a competent tax adviser.

NRIs doing good for their motherland

Here are a couple of recent stories of NRIs giving back to their motherland

NRI donates 1 Lakh for Udaipur Government School

– By Udaipur Times Team on December 29, 2016


NRI Kusum Singhvi showed her love,?belonging?and responsibility towards her hometown by donating items worth Rs 1 Lakh at Government School situated at Bhatiyani Chauhata.

Kusum said that even though she is staying abroad, she cannot forget her homeland and her responsibilities towards the same. Kusum and Aamir Singhvi have been staying in USA for the last 40 years. They said that they have always wanted to do something for the kids in India and have also been motivating other NRIs to take up similar steps.

Chief Guest, District Education Officer Virendra Pancholi, said that it is a great source of motivation for kids to see an NRI come and work towards their development. This will go a long way in boosting the morale of the students.

Singhvi family gave material including tables, chairs, sweaters, dresses, registers, notebooks, carpets etc amounting to Rs 1 lakh.

District Education Officer acknowledged the efforts of Singhvi family by garlanding them.

NRI alumnus makes gesture for a cause

– The Hindu

A cardiologist settled at Atlanta in the U.S., Sreeni Gangasani, an alumnus of 1985 batch of the Kurnool Medical College (KMC), on Tuesday donated a dozen stents, each costing about Rs. 40,000, for implantation in the poor patients.

Dr. Sreeni handed over the stents to KMC principal G.S. Ramgopal during a continuing medical education programme on cardiology held as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations of the college.

Recalling the last wish of his friend, who died of cancer, to contribute Rs. 50 lakh from his account for the social cause, the cardiologist also promised to donate Rs. 25 lakh for development of infrastructure in the college and an equal amount to the cardiology department in the Kurnool general hospital. Dr. Sreeni later delivered a lecture on heart failure update 2017.

Another alumnus of 1985 batch, Mahesh Mulumudi, settled at Seattle in the U.S., suggested a partnership between the alumni members in the U.S. and the Kurnool Medical College for academic and financial support to the college. Dr. Mahesh delivered a lecture on ?what?s new in interventional cardiology? at the CME.

The medical college was geared up to celebrate its diamond jubilee and would launch its e-magazine in January 2017 to share experiences of professors and suggestions of students, KMC principal G.S. Ramprasad said. The college planned a series of CMEs to hone the knowledge of its faculty members and students and would conduct several events in collaboration with doctors abroad in July 2017, he added.

Miss India Nepal Worldwide 2013

ON HER WAY TO SUCCESS! Miss India Nepal Worldwide 2013.. Garima Pandey, the only actress in Bollywood after Manisha Koirala who makes her way into Bollywood.

Hailing from Nepal, she has already made her mark in the beauty industry by carving her name on the trophy of Miss India Nepal Worldwide ?2013 & now she is on her way to mark her brilliance in Bollywood.

She is probably the only actress after the very gorgeous Manisha Koirala who is on her way to make it big in Bollywood “There are not many actresses in Bollywood who have successfully made a mark in the industry after Manisha Koirala who has not only done some brilliant work but made Nepal proud. Earlier she was the daughter of Nepal not she is the daughter of the nation”

“She has been my inspiration in every way. From her acting skills to the way she has conducted herself, she has been outstanding. Just like her I would like to do some iconic work and make Nepal proudadds Garima Pandey.

?I belong to a simple family back ground where we don?t have any association with Bollywood, but it was my passion for this art which made me pursue acting” says Garima.