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.

 

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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/

What do you think about the Indian student touching his American dean’s feet?

mata, pita, guru, deivam.

An Indian Student Touched His American Dean’s Feet And Left Him & The World Happily Surprised

 

Our editor responds:

During my travels around the world, I have been greeted with a Namaste more times than I care to recollect. Many global airlines (e.g Lufthansa – ‘more Indian than you think) have also used this as a marketing gimmick.

The guy in that viral video, Gaurav Jhaveri, must have been genuinely overwhelmed to be receiving his diploma, and probably did so subconsciously, without thinking.

Matha, Pitha, Guru, Deivam is a Sanskrit phrase. The Hindus believe that this is the order in which reverence should be offered.

As for touching an elder’s feet, I am pleasantly surprised. I thought the practice was slowly dying away India. Glad to see at least a few youngsters continue this tradition.

“Science Behind Touching Feet In India” – hindulegends.com

Also in the media:

58-Year-Old Indian Man Detained At Atlanta Airport By US Immigration, Dies In Custody

A 58-year-old Indian man died on Tuesday in the custody of US immigration officials at a hospital in Atlanta. Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel was detained last week for allegedly not possessing necessary immigration documents while entering the country. Mr Patel arrived at the Atlanta airport on May 10 on a flight from Ecuador.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement took Mr Patel to custody at the Atlanta City Detention Center for two days. Officials said the preliminary cause of his death is congestive heart failure.

The Immigration department, in a statement, said the US Customs and Border Protection denied Mr Patel entry into the country as he did not possess the necessary immigration documents. He was then transferred to the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

At the Atlanta City Detention Center, Mr Patel received an initial medical screening and was found to have high blood pressure and diabetes.

On Saturday, a nurse checking Mr Patel’s blood sugar noticed he had a breathing problem following which he was shifted to a hospital where he passed away.

The immigration department said it is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is “undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of the incident, as it does in all such cases”.

The agency has informed the Indian consular representatives who informed Mr Patel’s family about his death.

The agency said that deaths in its custody are “exceedingly rare” and occur at a fraction of the rate of the US detained population as a whole.  (With inputs from PTI)


From the editor – Most of the news accounts highlight the death of Mr. Patel. However, there is no word on the reason for his travel from Ecuador to Atlanta.

Other media accounts of this incident

NRI in News: AT&T’s High Speed-Network is Helping Suman Kanuganti’s Smart Glasses Change the World

Imagine having just arrived at a busy airport and having to navigate to baggage claim, all the while having your eyes closed. Now imagine having to choose your bag out of hundreds of cases of luggage. This was the scenario that Aira’s Co-founder and CEO, Suman Kanuganti, gave at a 2016 global technology conference. This task, which we are casually able to do, is made exponentially difficult for the blind and visually impaired who make up more than 22 million of the U.S. population.

To help those faced with visibility challenges every day, Suman Kanuganti and his team created Aira, a live-time navigational service company that leverages wearable devices, human assisted AI, and widespread bandwidth. Aira was developed within AT&T Foundry for Connected Health, a workshop that fosters emerging Internet of Things (IoT) companies. Here, Suman was able to work closely with AT&T for nine months before showcasing Aira at CES 2017.

Aira utilizes innovative smart glasses technology, along with a dedicated team of certified agents, to guide the users’ around their surroundings while AT&T Dynamic Traffic Management gives Aira agents prioritized connectivity. The user taps on the glasses to connect to an agent who offers assistance. Using a video camera, the agents can “see” from the wearer’s perspective in near real-time and communicate back to the wearer. This way, Aira is able to help, not just in navigation, but also for various circumstances that require visionary aid. Suman’s goal is to expand on these services and develop better software to help those with dementia or autism.

About Suman Kanuganti

Suman holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Finance, but more importantly, Suman was able to cultivate his vision from his roots, pulling from his Bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Kakatiya University, India. His learnings as well as more than 10 years of expertise in leadership and tech has helped develop Aira into fruition, successfully enabling many to navigate independently and even allowing a visually impaired runner, Erich Manser, to finish this year’s Boston Marathon 2017. Beyond the marathon, Erich stated that Aira is helpful for every-day tasks, from picking out a special-occasion card to navigating through populated airports.

Bahubali 2 Phenomenon in the US

The desi blockbuster movie Bahubali 2 has been sweeping all records for earnings the past few weeks. Not surprisingly (for desis), the movie also beat records in North America this past week.

The desi blockbuster movie Bahubali 2 has been sweeping all records for earnings the past few weeks. Not surprisingly (for desis), the movie also beat records in North America this past week.

Bahubali2

The Wall Street Journal took note, highlighting

It’s being called India’s “Star Wars,” smashing box-office records worldwide. The wild superhero epic “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion,” which opened at the end of April, has become the highest grossing Indian film in history, and its breakthrough in the U.S. may be just as significant.

With a $10.3 million opening weekend April 28, it was the No. 3 film in America, beating DreamWorks Animation’s “Boss Baby,” Tom Hanks in “The Circle” and other Hollywood fare. It did so even though it opened on only 425 screens around the country, selected for their demographics, averaging $24,364 per screen. The No. 1 film the same weekend, “The Fate of The Furious,” averaged only $4,890 per screen, on 4,077 screens.

“We were stunned. This clearly turned into an event,” said Greg Foster, CEO of IMAX. “When you have full houses on Thursday night, on something that was unbelievably viral in how the information was disseminated to the Indian diaspora, you’re tapping into something.”

WSJ writer was also surprised how the movie took off without support from mainstream movie critics  “Critics on Yahoo or Rotten Tomatoes, or somewhere. I haven’t seen anything like that,” he said. On Rotten Tomatoes recently “Baahubali 2” boasted a 92% audience score and had no rating at all from critics. Imports like this still take a back seat to Hollywood blockbusters.





Other Articles and news:

What does President Trump’s executive order mean to H1 Visa aspirants around the world?

Here are the remarks by President Trump on Buy American, Hire American Executive Order | Kenosha, WI

“We are going to enforce the Hire American rules that are designed to protect jobs and wages of workers in the United States.  We believe jobs must be offered to American workers first.  Does that make sense?   Right now, widespread abuse in our immigration system is allowing American workers of all backgrounds to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries to fill the same job for sometimes less pay.  This will stop.  American workers have long called for reforms to end these visa abuses.  And today, their calls are being answered for the first time.  That includes taking the first steps to set in motion a long-overdue reform of H1B visas.

Right now, H1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery — and that’s wrong.  Instead, they should be given to the most-skilled and highest-paid applicants, and they should never, ever be used to replace Americans.  No one can compete with American workers when they’re given a fair and level playing field, which has not happened for decades.”

The order by itself was not very prescriptive. This seems to be one of the executive actions that signals more changes coming down. So what does this mean to H1 Visa aspirants around the world?

After Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” order, “there could be an issue even getting fresh H-1B visas. The order is also likely to hit visa renewals.

  • It is unclear if the order will be applicable to visa applications for the financial year starting October 2017.
  • There are over half-a-dozen bills in the US Congress introduced since January 2017 that call for higher minimum wage of $1,30,000, nearly double from the current levels.
  • Government agencies are to suggest reforms that ensure H-1B visas go to the “most-skilled or highest-paid.”

What does this mean to most H1 Visa aspirants?

  • This is one way to interpret this. Those who are the “most-skilled or highest-paid”  will be selected for Visas.
  • Master’s degree holders would probably be “most-skilled” but not all of them would be “highest-paid.” One could only guess if all those with Master’s would be eligible for visas.

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