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

Worldwide Education Fund of The Dallas Foundation Receives 2017 MDRT Foundation Worldwide Grant

Carrollton Native Kamal Daya and Worldwide Education Fund of The Dallas Foundation Receive $5,000 Grant from Million Dollar Round Table Foundation

Carrollton-native and New York Life insurance agent, Kamal N. Daya, CLU, ChFC, of Dallas, Texas secured a USD $5,000 grant from the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Foundation on behalf of The Worldwide Education Fund of The Dallas Foundation. This grant comes through MDRT’s Worldwide Grant Program. Through its global grants, the MDRT Foundation is committed to building stronger families and communities around the globe. This year, the MDRT Foundation will award nearly $1 million in MDRT member-endorsed grants to more than 100 charitable organizations worldwide.

Kamal Daya with a Group of Students in India

Daya, a 38-year MDRT member and the 2011 recipient of the Top Quality of Life Award from the MDRT, is the co-founder of WEF along with his wife, Connie.  Previously, India Education Fund of The Dallas Foundation, the organization has expanded over the last year into supporting projects in Pakistan, Tajikistan, and here in Dallas. The organization’s sole purpose remains to help improve the quality and scope of education for underprivileged and marginalized children in some of the poorest areas of the world. To achieve this goal, WEF focuses on five key initiatives: quality English language skills training, technology skills training, coaching and mentoring programs, empowering students to reach their maximum potential and educational and vocational scholarships. With the grant, WEF will expand its programmatic scope into three new programs, impacting over 500 kids and an additional 2000 kids in the years to come. For more information about WEF and its work, visit wef.world.

Beneficiraies of WEF project ( Advance English Course) in Tajikistan

About the MDRT Foundation:

The MDRT Foundation was created in 1959 to provide MDRT members with a means to give back to their communities. Since its inception, the Foundation has donated more than $30 million in more than 70 countries throughout the world and in all 50 U.S. states. These funds were raised by MDRT members and industry partners. For more information, visit mdrtfoundation.org.

About MDRT:

Founded in 1927, the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), The Premier Association of Financial Professionals®, is a global, independent association of more than 49,500 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 500 companies in 70 countries. MDRT members demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service. MDRT membership is recognized internationally as the standard of excellence in the life insurance and financial services business.  For more information, visit mdrt.org.

About The Dallas Foundation:

The Dallas Foundation is the oldest community foundation in the state of Texas, and serves donors and nonprofit agencies through North Texas. The Foundation serves as a keystone – a link between donors and the community issues that the donors care about. For more information, please visit www.dallasfoundation.org.

2017 UK-India Year of Culture

Prime Minister announces 2017 UK-India Year of Culture

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.

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.

 

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/