April 2017 n Rs 25/-
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PEOPLE AND UN TURKEY PRESIDENT ERDOGAN SUPPORTED INDIA FOR PERMANENT SEAT IN THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
Mevlut Cavusoglu Minister of foreign affairs of Republic of Turkey with Smt. Sushma Swaraj our Minister for External Affairs Signed Memorandum of Understanding between Diplomatic Academies of Turkey - India.
“Terrorists will drown in Blood they shed”: Erdogan
PEOPLE AND UN RNI NO. DELENG/2012/44082 Vol. VI, No. 2 A Publication of The Indian Federation of United Nations Associations, New Delhi Quaterly : April 2017
Suresh Kumar Srivastava Secretary General , IFUNA PUBLISHED BY
Suresh Kumar Srivastava On behalf of
The Indian Federation of United Nations Associations, New Delhi
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PEOPLE AND UN do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial.
IT WAS A PLEASANT SURPRISE: Dr. Negeri Lencho, Minister of Communication Ethiopia, informed Suresh Srivastava, Secretary-General-IFUNA that he was a student of Institute of UN Studies while studying in India. Prof. Lokesh Chandra, President, Indian Council for Cultural Relation and International Academy of Indian Culture is also seen greeting Dr. Lencho. PAGE 5
Permanent member of security council
State UNAs- Women’s Day
Turkey will always be with India
Bihar- Jhakhand UNA-Earth Day
Trump - Xi Jinping Summit PAGE 10
Obsession-Visa Restriction PAGE 15
CHANDER P. MAHAJAN
International Mother Earth Day 2017 at Shri Venkateshwara Universtiy, Tirupati - UNA Andhra Pradesh PAGE 22
Press Freedom Day-Assam UNA PAGE 24
PAGE 16 PAGE 30
IFUNA Celebrates Women-Day
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PEOPLE AND UN n APRIL 2017 3
T IS A MATTER OF SATISFACTION that the US state department spokesperson has catogarally said "We encourage India and Pakistan to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions," after US Ambassador to UN Nikki Harley spoke that US under President Donald Trump would like to "find its place" in efforts to de-escalate tensions between the two Asian neighbours i.e. India and Pakistan. The United States spoke person, said that India and Pakistan should resolve their differences through "direct dialogue", indicating continuity in its stated position, contrary to the shift suggested by Hailey. The 45-year-old Haley surprised both Indians and Americans when she said it at a news conference. India on its part has rightly shot down Hailey's suggestion, saying, "Government's position for bilateral redressal of all IndiaPakistan issues in an environment free of terror and violence hasn't changed."The previous administration under President Barack Obama had maintained that the US has no role to play in disputes between India and Pakistan. India has consistently ruled out third party mediation, including by the UN or
U.S. ready to strike North Korea to stop nuclear test
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the US.If Nikki Hailey is so concerned to deescalate tensions; she should use her good offices to prevail upon the US Government and its allies to stop aiding Pakistan financially and militarily. So far the successive US Governments have given trillions of Dollars to Pakistan as aid. Unfortunately this money has been utilised by Pakistan to harbinger terrorists and terror. It is evident from the fact when the whole world was looking for the Osama bin Laden he was enjoying the hospitality of Pakistan at Abbottabad which is one of its military cantonment area and at a stone through distance from its capital Islamabad. Pakistan is still safe haven for Terrorists. Some time back in this column we had expressed our concern regarding uncalled for excessive militarisation of North Korea by its young dictator Kim Jong-un. North Korea, a politically isolated dictatorship of 25 million people, has a history of belligerent statements and sometimes fatal skirmishes with neighbouring South Korea. The world became used to provocations from North Korea in decades past, but in recent years the threats have increasingly been backed by alarming advances in weapons capabilities that threaten other nations as well, even China to some extent. According to US secretary of state Rex Tillerson both Presidents Trump and Xi had a wide ranging comprehensive talk on North Korea during their recent Florida summit. Immediately after Chinese President Xi left for home, President Donald Trump started raising pressure on North Korea, touting the US naval "armada" ordered to the troubled peninsula. It is also said that Donald Trump also offered China favourable trade deal in exchange for support over North Korea nuclear threat According to reports China and South Korea have signalled they would take a stand against North Korea if it conducted another nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile test Is it a joint venture of Trump and Xi to tame this young dictator? If so it is a welcome move. â€” Pran Mohan Parvatiyar (firstname.lastname@example.org)
India Will Become Permanent Member Of UN Security Council: Sushma Swaraj
xpressing confidence that India would become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on 6th April 2017, the country expected that the new members would have the same rights, including the veto power, as the existing permanent members. During the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, Ms Swaraj said India has all the credentials to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council and four permanent members, US, UK, France and Russia have all extended support. The fifth member, China, has also "not publicly opposed it", the External Affairs minister said. "I am confident that if not this time, then next time, India would become a permanent member of the UN Security Council," she said. To a question whether India would also get the 'veto' power, Ms Swaraj said
the country wants the same responsibilities, prerogatives as well as obligations as the current permanent members. "We don't want any discrimination between old and new members. We don't want two classes - that there is a first class and a second class of permanent members. This should make it clear that India wants the same responsibilities, prerogatives and obligations as the current permanent members," she said. She also
said India has been making diplomatic efforts to ensure not only expansion, but also reform in the Security Council. She said India wanted expansion of its permanent as well as non-permanent membership of the council. In her reply tabled in the House, Ms Swaraj said on the issue of extending veto powers to new permanent members in their submission during the inter-governmental negotiation process of the 69th General Assembly, USA and UK opposed extension of veto to new members. France supported the extension while Russia and China did not make any submission on the issue, she said. She said discussions were currently on in the UN General Assembly through inter-governmental negotiation and India and other pro-reform groupings have been calling commencement of text based negotiations n
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Turkey will always be with India in its battle against terror
n Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj was received by Turkey President Erdogan at his visit to India
t a meeting on 1st May between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, India firmly explained to the visiting leader that "the issue of Kashmir is essentially an issue of terrorism," and asserted that its disputes with Pakistan must be settled bilaterally. Ahead of his visit, Mr Erdogan had in a television interview suggested a "multi-lateral dialogue"
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on Kashmir, offering to mediate between India and Pakistan. At the meeting, Mr Erdogan assured India of his country's full support in the fight against terrorism, which PM Modi described as a "shared worry". Erdogan visit to India is soon after winning a referendum giving him sweeping powers, which has gone down poorly in western world .His visit to India no
doubt confers a degree of legitimacy on his new positions. Following are the top highlights from President Erdogan's visit to India: n "The President and I are clear that the strength of our economies presents an enormous opportunity to expand and deepen commercial linkages between our countries," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said as the two leaders jointly addressed
n Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan & Prime Minister Narendra Modi Greeting each other after Joint Press meet in New Delhi. the media after their bilateral meeting. nThe Prime Minister said they had held detailed discussions on counter-terrorism. "Nations of the world need to work as one to disrupt terrorist networks and their financing and put a stop to cross-border movement of terrorists...We agreed that no intent, goal, reason or rationale can validate terrorism." nThe talks happened on a day when Pakistani troops crossed the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and killed and mutilated two Indian soldiers. nAsked if Mr Erdogan's proposal of multilateral dialogue on Kashmir had figured during the meeting between the two leaders, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said India's position that Kashmir is its integral part is very sharp and publicly known. "We conveyed our viewpoint clearly on terrorism and Kashmir (to the Turkish side). It was made clear that there cannot be any justification for terrorism whatever is the intent. We clearly conveyed that the issue of Kashmir is essentially an issue of ter-
rorism. n Mr Baglay said Mr Erdogan was told that "we have been victims of crossborder terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism for 40 years. As far as Kashmir issue is concerned, we have always been ready to resolve it with Pakistan. Not only Kashmir but also all other bilateral issues should be resolved in a peaceful manner. The Turkish side heard it with "care and attention," the official said. nPresident Erdogan expressed his support for India's bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. Calling for reforms in the world body, he said, "India, with a population of 1.3 billion is not a part of the UNSC. Over 1.7 billion people live in the Islamic world but they too are not a part of the UNSC. This is not a healthy sign". nIndia and Turkey have decided to increase their bilateral trade from $6.4 billion to $10 billion by 2020," Mr Baglay said. Mr Erdogan travelled to India with a 250-member business delegation. nIn the interview to WION news
channel ahead of his visit, Mr Erdogan had said, "We should not allow more casualties to occur. By having a multi-lateral dialogue, (in which) we can be involved, we can seek ways to settle the issue once and for all." nThis is President Erdogan's first foreign visit after winning a controversial referendum on April 16 which further consolidated his executive powers. nAfter thwarting a coup attempt in July last year, the President had ordered a crackdown on schools, universities, media, police and judiciary which were suspected to have links with Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Islamic cleric living in the US who Erdogan believes was behind the coup nAfter thwarting a coup attempt in July last year, the President had ordered a crackdown on schools, universities, media, police and judiciary which were suspected to have links with Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Islamic cleric living in the US who Erdogan believes was behind the coup.. n
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TRUMP-XI SUMMIT As two-way trade reaches USD 519 billion, China is now the largest trading partner of the US.
n P.M Parvatiyar
RESIDENT DONALD TRUMP and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping wrapped up their first summit by announcing a 100-day plan to improve strained trade ties, the only tangible announcement after their meetings that were overshadowed by the US military strikes in Syria. President Donald Trump pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping to do more to curb North Korea's nuclear program and help reduce the gaping U.S. trade deficit with Beijing in talks on Friday, even as he toned down the strident anti-China rhetoric of his election campaign. Trump spoke publicly of progress on a range of issues in his first U.S.-China summit – as did several of his top aides – but they provided few concrete specifics other than China's agreement to work together to narrow disagreements and find common ground for cooperation. As the two leaders wrapped up a Florida summit overshadowed by U.S. missile strikes in Syria overnight, Xi joined Trump in stressing the positive mood of the meetings while papering over deep differences that have caused friction between the world's two biggest economies. Trump's aides insisted he had made good on his pledge to raise concerns about China's trade practices and said there was some headway, with Xi agreeing to a 100day plan for trade talks aimed at boosting U.S. exports and reducing China's trade surplus with the United States. Speaking after the two-day summit at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Xi had agreed to increased cooperation in reining in North Korea's missile and nuclear programs – though he did not offer any new formula for cracking
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At U.S.-China summit, Trump presses Xi on trade, North Korea
Pyongyang's defiant attitude Mr Trump aides, who participated in the two-day talks held at the US President's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, described the meetings as productive and said the two leaders exhibited 'positive' chemistry. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the two sides agreed to speed up trade talks to help close a lopsided imbalance in China's favour, a common campaign-trail complaint of Mr Trump. According to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer ,during the meetings, Mr Trump highlighted the challenges caused by the Chinese government intervention in its economy and raised serious concerns about the impact of China's industrial, agricultural, technology and cyber policies on America's jobs and exports, Mr Spicer said Mr Trump underscored the need for China to take concrete steps
to level the playing field for American workers, stressing repeatedly the need for reciprocal market access. China is now the largest trading partner of the US. Last year, two-way trade reached USD 519.6 billion, compared to USD 2.5 billion in 1979 when the two nations established diplomatic ties. The talks were overshadowed by a crisis in Syria as Mr Trump, just before his dinner with Mr Xi, ordered a massive military strike on a Syrian air base in retaliation to a 'barbaric' chemical attack on civilians allegedly by embattled President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Noting that the two leaders had positive and productive meetings, Mr Spicer said, Mr Trump and Mr Xi agreed to work in concert to expand areas of cooperation while managing differences based on mutual respect. Mr Trump had hoped to use the trade issue as leverage to get China, North Korea's closest ally, to pressure the reclusive nation to
FOCUS give up its nuclear weapons programme. China and the US agreed that Pyongyang's programmes are a serious problem, but have not seen eyeto-eye on how to respond. "The two sides noted the urgency of the threat of North Korea's weapons programmes, reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearised Korean peninsula and committed to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions," said Mr Spicer. Mr Trump and Mr Xi agreed to increase cooperation and work with the international community to convince North Korea to peacefully resolve the issue and dismantle its illegal nuclear and missile programmes, Mr Spicer said, adding that the two sides had a candid discussion on regional and maritime security. "The Presidents' discussions on North Korea were very wide-ranging, very comprehensive, and more focused entirely on both countries' previous commitments to denuclearise the peninsula. There was no kind of a package arrangement discussed to resolve this," according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "President Trump noted the importance of adhering to international rules and norms in the East and South China Seas and to previous statements on nonmilitarisation. He also noted the importance of protecting human rights and other values deeply held by Americans," Mr Spicer said. The two leaders established US China Comprehensive Dialogue, elevating their dialogue status. Mr Trump and Mr Xi also established a new and cabinet-level framework for negotiations, he added. The United States-China Comprehensive Dialogue will be overseen by the two presidents and have four pillars, which are, Diplomatic and Security Dialogue, Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, Law Enforcement and Cyber security Dialogue, and Social and Cultural Issues Dialogue. "The two sides agreed to undertake an ambitious agenda and meeting schedule to show progress and demonstrate meaningful results," he said. "This visit was a
In Palm Beach, Florida. U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and China's President Xi Jinping walk along the front patio of the Mar-a-Lago estate after a bilateral meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 7, 2017. "we have a thousand reasons to get the China-US relations right, and not one reason to spoil it."
great opportunity for both presidents and their wives to get to know one another, enjoy meals together, and work on important issues. Each side also brought a senior delegation that was also able to build relationships for the work ahead," Mr Spicer said to the media. They reviewed the state of the bilateral relationship and noted the importance of working together to generate positive outcomes that would benefit the citizens of both countries. To boost bilateral ties, Mr Xi underlined the importance of further enhancing economic, military and law enforcement cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. China and the United States is now each other's biggest trading partner, from which the two peoples benefit a lot, Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying. "China welcomes the US side to participate in cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative," On defence ties, which he said make up an important part of the bilateral rela-
tions, Xi pointed out that mutual trust in military and security areas forms the basis of the strategic mutual trust between the two countries. During the summit, Mr Trump appeared to have toned down his anti-China rhetoric, to respect the "One China" policy in a telephone call with President Xi in February. Despite his tough campaign talk, Mr Trump has so far not followed through on his threat to formally brand China a 'currency manipulator', nor to hit Chinese imports with punitive tariffs. The US President was quoted as saying that "tremendous progress" has been made, and declaring this progress as "truly" and America's relationship with China as "outstanding. It is reported that President Xi said at the meeting that "we have a thousand reasons to get the China-US relations right, and not one reason to spoil it." The Chinese leader went on to emphasize that cooperation is the only right choice for the two countries, and that China and the US have the capability of becoming great cooperative partners. President Xi invited President Trump for a state visit in China later this year. President Trump accepted and announced he was already looking forward to the visit. China's state-run Xinhua news agency said, â€œThe two leaders agreed that their first meeting was "positive and fruitful",. During their talks over the two days, Mr Xi and Mr Trump exchanged views on key areas of bilateral cooperation as well as global and regional issues of common concern, it said. Mr Xi said that he and Mr Trump have gained better understanding of each other, cemented their mutual trust, scored many major consensuses, and built up a good working relationship. Xi also spoke in mostly positive terms. "We have engaged in deeper understanding, and have built a trust," he said. "I believe we will keep developing in a stable way to form friendly relations ... For the peace and stability of the world, we will also fulfill our historical responsibility." "Well, I agree with you 100 percent," Trump replied n (With input from Agencies)
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OBSESSION —VISA RESTRICTION
Indian techies talent is welcome elsewhere not dependent on the US alone With rising anti-immigrant rhetoric in the US, countries around the world are now opening up to Indian tech talent that is likely to be turned away from Silicon Valley if the visa restrictions are put in place. mid growing anxiety over the Trump administration’s possible revamp of the H-1B program, other countries around the world are putting the minds of Indian engineers at ease. Considering that Indian companies and techies are the biggest beneficiaries of temporary work visas and that the US accounts for most of India’s software exports, India’s $150-billion technology sector will likely be hit temporary. India’s IT bigwigs like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, and Wipro have been equipping themselves to deal with an impending visa-reform blow. For years now, they have employed more local talent in their North American outposts and moved projects out to nearshore centres—facilities near the US that allow people to work in similar time zones as the American market at lower costs but with fewer visa hassles. With rising anti-immigrant rhetoric in the US, countries around the world are now opening up to Indian tech talent that is likely to be turned away from Silicon Valley if the visa restrictions are put in place. “In attempting to reduce the incentive to bring consultants into the US, the dynamic that will be created is incentives to move the entire project outside the US,” said William Stock, an immigration lawyer and president of the American
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Immigration Lawyers Association. “The big workaround is going to be: ‘How do we ship this work overseas? Because we don’t have the workforce in the US.’”
Welcome abroad A decade ago, TCS invested in a “global delivery center” in Mexico. The same year, rival Wipro opened a software development facility in the country. Infosys followed suit in 2013. Taking note of its role as the de facto near-shore center for US operations, Mexico is more than willing to ramp up its intake of Indian talent. In an interview with Indian Express this month, Mexico’s ambassador to India, Melba Pria, called the city of Guadalajara “a technology hub with the presence of at least 10 major Indian IT
companies like TCS and Infosys.” If the immigration outlook in the US indeed turns bleak under Donald Trump, Mexico will be “more than happy to have Indians relocate to Mexico,” Pria said. In 2007, Mexico signed the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with India, which amounted to almost $6 billion in two-way trade between the countries when Indian prime minister Narendra Modi visited that nation in mid-2016. Opportunities beyond the US market are also widening for Indian techies. On Wednesday, a delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs condemned the protectionist discourse in America and pushed to solidify an EU-India trade and investment pact,
INDIAN TECHIES which has been stalled since 2013 as of both sides failed to reach an agreement. David McAllister, the head of the group, said that Europe is “open” to allowing more Indian professionals in. After Trump moved to deny entry to people from several Muslim-majority countries last month, nearly 3,500 executives from Canada’s technology industry, in an open letter to their government, called for the institution of “an immediate and targeted visa, providing those currently displaced by the US executive order with temporary residency in Canada.” If H-1B laws become more stringent, Canada will likely have an equally heartening response. An Indian-origin entrepreneur in Canada, Ray Walia, has tailored a program to leverage the Canadian Start-up Visa program at his not-for-profit tech incubator Launch Academy. The program allows international start-ups to relocate their headquarters to Canada and helps key members of the business and their families secure permanent residency in Canada within six months. Looking east, Japan already offers a perk to short-term contract workers— they are exempt from making a social security contribution there. To woo Indian investment and talent in the longer run, Japan has introduced its own “green card” of sorts that will make skilled professionals eligible for permanent residency within two years of working in the country. “India has very advanced technology. Our ICT-related industry does not have the talent and capacity of India,” Shigeki Maeda, executive vice-president of the Japan External Trade Organization, told reporters. Strapped for talent With a number of countries vying to attract Indian talent to their regions, USbased companies fear becoming less competitive in the global landscape. Silicon Valley has a chronic skill shortage. Nearly two-thirds of the H-1B visas allocated in 2014 went to people in computer-related occupations, illustrating the demand for foreign workers in the US tech industry. Last year, 65% of American chief information officers and IT leaders surveyed for a Harvey Nash/KPMG
An Indian-origin entrepreneur in Canada, Ray Walia, has tailored a program to leverage the Canadian Startup Visa program at his not-for-profit tech incubator Launch Academy. The program allows international startups to relocate their headquarters... report said that skill shortages were a major drawback. Indians have given the Valley some of its most successful unicorns—private start-ups valued at over $1 billion—and denial of visas have driven budding entrepreneurs to set up shop elsewhere. America’s tech industry is not ready to bow down just yet, though. Of nearly 450 human resource professionals in the US surveyed late last year by Envoy, a global immigration services provider, 55% expected their foreign national headcount to increase in the next year. More than 60% of employers described sourcing foreign national employees as
“extremely or very important to their companies’ talent acquisition strategy,” up 42% from 12 months prior. American companies not only want to recruit and retain top talent from abroad, they’re also trying to expand global operations: 59% of the employers expect to increase their demand for work authorizations outside of the US. The highest share, 27%, will look to Mexico to secure work authorization for their employees. Homecoming India has been labelled the world’s fastest-growing major economy, and Ernst & Young ranked it as the third-best destination for technology investments. The trend of exporting engineers to America has slowed. Many bright tech professionals from the most prestigious colleges in the country don’t want to leave at all. Legacy institutes like the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, and IIT-Madras have acquired more funding and fostered research-oriented environments. If the US shuts its door, Indian techies need not relocate elsewhere—they can just come home. In recent years, the motherland’s lure has been strong enough to draw back some of its own exports: Many Indians have left their Google gigs for e-commerce start-up since 2015. Indian tech giants are also finding more workarounds to deploying non-citi-
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zen workers in the US. Theyâ€™re taking advantage of offshore offices, conducting business over the cloud, and leveraging artificial intelligence.
Trump's H-1B Squeeze Threatens U.S. Tech Leadership By Leonid Bershidsky
IT'S HARD to calculate the effect of H-1B visas -- which the U.S. government is now making it harder to obtain -- on the U.S. technology sector, but it's likely rather large. If restricting H-1B visas is a Trump administration goal, and there are reasons to believe that is the case, then it's time to imagine a world in which the U.S. has lost its technological leadership. The U.S. government is supposed to only issue 85,000 H-1B visas a year. In reality, it issued 172,748 in fiscal year 2015, and 140,000 a year on average
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between 2006 and 2015. Brain Imports That's because the H-1B visas are issued for three years and can be extended for a further three years. Workers already in the U.S. often get the extensions; they also need to reapply when they switch employers. There are no official data on the size of the U.S. H-1B community, but it should be close to a million people. The total U.S. employment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- the fields in which H-1B workers are employed -- reached 8.6 million people in 2015. It's often said that software engineers are the factory workers of today: Their labor is often not particularly creative or intellectually demanding. These are the kind of workers tech outsourcing firms, which account for most of the H-1B visas, bring into the U.S. But not all the imported brains are the 21st-century equivalent of assembly-line workers. A 2013 paper by Harvard's William Kerr
and the University of Michigan's William Lincoln showed that increases in the H1B population caused tangible growth in the number of U.S. patent applications filed in major cities. Only about 70 percent of patent applications, according to that paper, are filed by people with Anglo-Saxon names; a large proportion of the inventors with Chinese and Indian names appear to be H-1B workers. The thousands of H-1B workers going to Microsoft, Apple, Google, Face book, Amazon and other major tech companies are hand-picked talent, selected from a sea of applicants. What if the U.S. firms stop getting these valuable imports because the Trump administration is trying to force these firms to hire Americans? And what if the administration also makes it harder for U.S. universities - where immigrants are responsible for about three-quarters of patent applications -- to attract foreign professors and students?
H-1B Visa Curbs on Indians Will Also Hurt US: Sushma Swaraj
The U.S. will lose much of its competitive edge in the global tech wars almost immediately. Skilled foreigners won't apply for jobs in the U.S., fearing unfair treatment at the hands of a mercurial White House. Those who seek visas may not get in. European and Asian companies will begin to snap up the top talent Silicon Valley is getting today. And a window of opportunity will open for European and Asian technology firms to catch up to U.S. behemoths. More than half of U.S. start-ups valued at $1 billion or more were set up by immigrants. It's a story of foreign-born capitalists hiring foreign workers to give the U.S. a near-monopoly advantage in several areas of the technology industry. Even today, an anti-U.S. geek in Europe could probably make do with non-U.S. services. He'd get a mobile phone running Samsung's Tizen operating system, Finnish-developed Sailfish OS or a version of Linux; he'd use Moscowbased vk.com for social networking, Russian-owned Yandex or Czech-owned Seznam for search, New Zealand-based Meta for cloud storage, German-owned Here! for maps, and Berlin-based Telegram for instant messaging. But that would be a series of exotic choices. Only Chinese people forced to do without Google search or Face book by their government are justified in opting for weaker local services. Even years of sluggish
"We are not just talking with the US authorities (on H-1B visas and related issues), we are talking with logic and concrete statistics," SUSHMA SWARAJ said The American companies in India are earning $27.5 billion annually. Indian firms have made an investment of $2 billion between 2011 and 2015 Indian IT Firms Generating, Not Stealing, Jobs In US---- Sushma Swaraj External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on 30th March , 17 said to Rajya Sabha if the US puts restrictions on H1B visas, immigration or business outsourcing, it will not just hurt Indians but will be bad for the US too. "We are not just talking with the US authorities (on H-1B visas and related issues), we are talking with logic and concrete statistics," Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha during the Question Hour. "This is a mutually beneficial partnership, and we have told them (the US) that if you snap these ties, it will not hurt us alone, it will also hurt you," she said. She said that the Indian information technology (IT) companies operating in the US are generating jobs there and contributing to the US exchequer. "We have told them that it is not true that Indians are stealing their jobs. On the contrary, Indian companies in US are generating employment for the Americans. So far, Indian companies have given direct employment to 1.56 lakh Americans and supportive jobs to 4.11 lakh," she said. She added that between 2011 and 2015, the Indian companies have made an investment of $2 billion, paid taxes worth $20 billion and Indian workers have contributed $7 billion to the social security scheme. Besides, she added, the American companies in India are earning $27.5 billion annually.
The Minister informed the House that the Foreign Secretary and the Commerce Secretary visited the US between February 28 and March 3 this year and held meetings with cabinet ministers and senior functionaries of the new US administration as well as with the Congressional leadership. "We have emphasized that Indian skilled professionals have contributed to the growth and development of the US economy and have helped the US retain its competitive edge and innovation advantage," she said. Swaraj said that the Trump administration has so far not announced any comprehensive policy changes impacting non-immigrant work visa programmes. "There are 13 bills for consideration before the US Congress. Four of them are about H-1B visas, six bills pertain to outsourcing business to India and three bills are about immigration. But none of them has been passed so far. "The government of India is closely monitoring the developments that may have a bearing upon the movement of Indian workers and professionals to the US. We remain in active dialogue with the US administration and the US Congress at senior levels to safeguard the interests of Indian workers and professionals," she informed the parliament.
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INDIAN TECHIES technological development -- the worst that could happen to the U.S. market leaders if they were to lose the ability to bring in international talent -- probably wouldn't unseat them. But in areas where the U.S. is not dominant yet, a diminished ability to import brains may cost it a shot at similar importance. Israel, Japan or China can seize leadership in battery technology, an area in which these countries are doing pioneering research. Canadian, German and Israeli companies could beat the U.S. in autonomous vehicle technology. Asian companies such as Samsung, Sony and HTC, as well as Finland's Nokia, could pull ahead in virtual and augmented reality. German and Scandinavian firms might get an edge in developing storage for energy generated by solar and wind plants. The races for the Holy Grail in these respective areas are still wide open. Firms, and nations, are running full tilt to win. It may be enough for the U.S. to turn away a few hundred specific engineers, and for some other ambitious country to pick them up, to end U.S. leadership hopes in a future multibillion-dollar market. It's too early for the U.S. to rest on its laurels; tech is, to a great degree, about hype and fashion. Lifestyles and preferences change, and in 10 years' time, the current U.S. tech leaders may be far less relevant than they seem today. And countries that keep their best tech brains or make a special effort to lure them from elsewhere will be the new kings.
India’s Silicon Valley offers the cheapest engineers. Biotech in Bangalore Bengaluru’s start-up ecosystem is what it is because of its engineers. With an average annual salary of $8,600, engineers in India’s tech hub cost 13 times less than their Silicon Valley counterparts, according to the 2017 Global Start-up Ecosystem Report released in March. The city is home to the world’s cheapest crop of engineers, with the average annual pay of a resident software engineer falling well below the
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Below are the complete rankings for the best start-up ecosystems. (Key; = unchanged, = up, = down, = new entry) Ranking 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Location Silicon Valley New York City London Beijing Boston Tel Aviv Berlin Shanghai Los Angeles Seattle Paris Singapore Austin Stockholm Vancouver Toronto Sydney Chicago Amsterdam Bengaluru
Change in ranking from #6 from #4 from #5 from #9 from #3 from #8 from #10 from #14 from #18 from #17 from #16 from #7 from #15 Curtsey: (Quartz India )
But in areas where the U.S. is not dominant yet, a diminished ability to import brains may cost it a shot at similar importance. Israel, Japan or China can seize leadership in battery technology, an area in which these countries are doing pioneering research... global figure of $49,000. And companies, Indian and otherwise, choose to work out of Bengaluru because it is the most cost-efficient. Not only has the tech centre nurtured start-ups like Flipkart and Big Basket, it is also home to big foreign firms like Uber
and Amazon. However, the city’s talent pool poses challenges in access and quality. For the most part, “engineers haven’t been hired very quickly, experience is average, and visa success is low,” the report says. “The quality and professionalism of resources is also questionable in many cases,” Abhimanyu Godara, founder of US-based chatbot start-up Bottr.me, which has a development team in Bangalore, said in the report. The city, home to between 1,800 and 2,300 active start-ups, also has the youngest tech talent among all start-up ecosystems. Overall, Bengaluru bagged the 20th spot out of 55 cities when evaluated on parameters such as performance, funding, market research, talent, and start-up experience by research firm Start-up Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network. Despite dropping five ranks from last year, it remains India’s favorite tech hub. n
Chhattisgarh UNA Felicitates
Derk Segaar, New UNIC Director
n Members of the Chhattisgarh UN association along with Mr. Derk Segaar, Director, UN Information Centre, for India and Bhutan met Governor of Chhattisgarh. Mr. Balram Ji Das Tandon and discussed the 17 Sustainable Development goals of United Nations. Sanat Jain Secretary General of Chhattisgarh UN Association also presented Literatures to His Excellency
NDIA COULD be Global leader in implementing UN Sustainable Development Goals observed Derk Segaar, Director of United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan. Derk Segaar emphasized on role of 17 sustainable development goals of United Nations addressing a joint meeting of Chhattisgarh United Nations Associations and Rotary Club of Raipur Heritage. Derk said that development priorities should be targeted towards increasing the capacity of developing countries to mobilize domestic resources and food security, public health, education, eradication of poverty and promoting peaceful society. He
n Derk Segaar, Director of United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan addressing the audience. Sanat Jain , Secretary General Chhattisgarh UNA is seen sitting in extreme right.
hoped India would be the Global Leader in implementing sustainable goals as this country has a lot of potential to offer to the world. On this occasion Mrs. Chhaya Verma, MP and Mr. Pramod Dubey, Mayor of Raipur also addressed the audience. The meeting was conducted by Mr. Sanat Jain Secretary General of Chhattisgarh UN Association, President Rotary Club of Raipur Heritage Rotarian Pankaj Sharma proposed a vote of thanks.. Senior officials of State Government and members of various organizations also attended the function. n
(A report by Sanat Jain)
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International Women’s day 2017 WITH UN THEME “BE BOLD FOR CHANGE”
Ms. Mohini Mathur renowned social activist of Mumbai & Vice President IFUNA presiding the function
ndian Federation of United Nations Associations (IFUNA) celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, 2017 at its conference hall in New Delhi on the United Nations theme BE BOLD FOR CHANGE. Presiding over the meeting Ms. Mohini Mathur, Vice President IFUNA, in her keynote address observed that the western wave of the women movement started in the 1960s and continued through the 1970s until it leveled in the 1980s. Later, the economic boom, suburban growth,
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capitalist triumphs and other causes helped to create the nuclear family. Social needs, visibility in media and rising women’s educational standards, sustained a movement targeted to achieve women’s civil liberty rights, eradication of gender discrimination at work-place and in education centres, eliminating discrimination in wages and reproductive rights, starting a sexual revolution and subsequently, amending the laws pertaining to these goals. Ms. Mathur further said ,we have
seen two sides of a woman’s life. In our own country, in various strata of society, on the one hand we have most powerful women in politics, finance, art, music, media and even space research. However, on the other hand, unfortunately, a parallel situation is seen where women still struggle for education, freedom to live with dignity and be selfreliant. Majority of women in India continue to be deprived of their basic rights because of religious taboos, poverty, and lack of infrastructure and orthodox atti-
n The Participants tude, which stops most families from accepting change. Despite the mistreatment, women continue to endure due to lack of financial independence and the stigma associated with living single and independent. The domestic violence, physical, emotional and financial is still widespread in India. The dichotomy is that while women are generally considered inferior to men, women are worshipped as Goddesses with great reverence. Women are prohibited from taking part in decision making both in family matters as well as external matters. Rape and dowry cases have increased leaps and bounds.It is shocking to know that out of 60 rape cases only 15 are done by strangers and rest by family members and friends. Women are burnt alive. Crime against women is widespread. Over several decades, a raging debate has continued about emancipation of women and granting of equal rights and opportunities. However, has emancipation of women become a reality – or, does it still remains a myth? The answer is probably that while large strides have been made, there still is a long way to go.It requires a multipronged approach where a number of agencies can play an active role. Media could play a crucial role in curbing domestic violence, creating sustainable economic empowerment oppor-
n NASA Former Professor Dr. P.D. Bhatnagar is seen in back (right) tunities for women in securing employment and livelihood. Government should enhance access to vocational training, credit facility, property and inheritance rights and other resources as well empowering girls to stay in school and enable them to realize their potential. It should implement and enforce laws and policies that protect women from violence in all its forms and ensure access to justice for violations and end impunity for perpetrators. Providing comprehensive and integrated services for survivors of violence can go a long way in meeting their social, economic and emotional support needs. Investment in community-based women’s movements can prove to be a powerful force for advancement in the long term. And, above all, the woman herself must proactively grab hold of the opportunities that are presented. The mother of today plays an important role as she has seen the suffering of women over the last few decades and missed opportunities for self-sustenance
and growth. She should encourage her daughters to be bold and accept challenges as well as support them in getting equal rights and opportunities. In a country like India, where nearly 50% of the population is women and more than 50% of the population is under the age of 25, if empowered and harnessed it could be a potent weapon of this country. For the woman of today, I am reminded of the courage of Malala Yousafzai embodied in a quote by the famous author, Ayn Rand, ““The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.” Other speakers were Ms. Vertika Sharma and Dr. Madhuri Khosla. The programme was very well attended and participated by eminent academicians, educationists, and dignitaries. There was an extremely active, interesting and stimulating discussion from the audience. The participants expressed their views in a very erudite manner and made brilliant interventions, which made the programme extremely meaningful and successful. n
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STATE UNA ASSAM UNA
THE Assam UN Association in collaboration with PCPS Girl's Polytechnic observed the International Women's day at PCPS Girl's Polytechnic auditorium, Guwahati.. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Atul Bora, Director of Technical Education- Government of Assam said that women's right should be given priority in the society.Dr.R.C.Barpatra Gohain- Dean of law,Guwahati university in his speech gave more importance should be given on the rights of the Women's and girl's and their empowerment. Mrs. Jahnabi Goswami-reputed social activities in Assam asked that every women and Girls should come forward to get their basic rights.Earlier, Dr. Aswini Sarma-Secretary General of UNA-Assam read out the message of UN Secretary General on the occassion. Dr. Paramita Kakoty Principal in charge of the Girl's Polytechnic presided the meeting. An impressive presentation on the women's day was given by Mr. Nilotpal Adhikary -an executive member of UNAAssam. The meeting was well attended by the students and faculties of Girl's polytechnic,Guwahati. n
ODISHA UNA celebrated International women’s day. Dr. Puspalata Rath presided over the function.. A large number of women of various walks of life were present in the function. Manoranjan Patnaik, president UFUNA inaugurated. Smt Bismita Das, Prof Manjsri Mukhi, Smt Sukanti Sahu, Prof Dilip Nananda , CBI judge Bhikari Charan Rout Chief Engineer A.K. Satapathy
poet Bahadur Patasahani spoke on the occasion. They emphasised, at the time of globalisation women has to developed economically & socially a lot of law has been changed for protection of women said speakers. Secretary General of UFUNA Dipayan Patanaik proposed a vote of thanks to well attended audience and participants. n
FORM IV Statement about ownership and other particulars about News Magazine (People and UN) to be published in the first issue every year after the last day of February Place of publication : Periodicity of its publication: Printer’s Name: Nationality : Address:
Delhi Quarterly Suresh Kumar Srivastava Indian C-31, 1st Floor, Panchsheel Enclave, N. Delhi-110017
Publisher’s Name: Suresh Kumar Srivastava Nationality: Indian Address: C-31, 1st Floor, Panchsheel Enclave, N.Delhi-110017 Editor’s Name: Pran Mohan Parvatiyar Nationality: Indian Address: C-6, Raj Residency, Kaushambi, Ghaziabad, UP- 201010 6. Names and addresses of individuals who own the newspaper and partners or shareholders holding More than one per cent of the total capital. Indian Federation of United Nations Associations, C-6, Qutub Institutional Area, New Delhi -110016 I, SURESH KUMAR SRIVASTAVA hereby declare that the particulars given above are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Date : 03/04/2017
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Signature of Publisher
BIHAR – JHARKHAND UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION CELEBRATES EARTH DAY AT PATNA Members of Bihar – Jharkhand United Nations Association in association with Lions Club of Patna celebrated Earth Day by planting trees in the premises of Lady Stevenson Hall at Patna.
n Seen l. to r. : Kumar Manish, Advocate, Secretary General , Bihar- Jharkhand United Nations Association, Ms Chandana Sahay, Treasurer, Rajkumar Sahay, Advocate and ,President of Lions club of Patna and Anjani Kumar Sinha, Secretary ,planted Trees on the eve of Earth day at the premises of the lady Stevenson's Hall, Patna n
P.M.Parvatiyar, Executive Chairman, Bihar UNA attending IFUNA & A.P. UNA Earth Day function at Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati.
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IFUNA IN ASSOCIATION WITH ANDHRA PRADESH UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL MOTHER EARTH DAY 2017 AT SHRI VENKATESHWARA UNIVERSITY, SENATE HALL,TIRUPATI
n Visiting dignitaries from IFUNA with Andhra Pradesh UNA Members at Sri Venkateswara University, Senate Hall, Tirupati
n The participating delegates from various states of the country
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n Suresh Srivastava Secretary General IFUNA addressing on 'International Mother Earth Day 2017' at Tirupati
n Dr. K Thulasi Rao, Patron UNA AP Hyderabad addressing the audience.
n Presenting a Momento to Honâ€™ble Minister L to r H.Y.Dora Chairman and MD SPDCAPL, Jayaramulu, Secretary General A.P. UNA, Shri Pydikondala Manikyala Rao, Honble Minister for Endowments, Suresh Srivastava, Secretary General ,IFUNA and Prof.Ayula Damodaram, Vice-Chancellor, Sri Venkateswara University
n UNA AP Secretary General felicitates K Sham Kumar , UNA Telangana Head
nUNA-AP Secretary General felicitates V. Narayanan Secretary General Tamilnadu UNA
n UNA-AP Secretary General
felicitates Sudhanshu Srivastava Secretary General UNA UP
n UNA AP Secretary General and IFUNA Secretary General felicitate H.Y.Dora Chairman and MD SPDCAP
n UNA-AP Secretary General felicitates P.M. Parvatiyar Treasurer IFUNA
n UNA-AP Secretary General
felicitates Vinayak Srivastava Additional Secretary General IFUNA
n Suresh Srivastava Secretary
General IFUNA with Kailash Khoshla felicitate L. Jayaramulu Secretary General UNA-Andhra Pradesh
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ASSAM UN ASSOCIATION CELEBRATES WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY AT GUWAHATI PRESS CLUB The Indian Federation of United Nations Association and United Nations Associ tion-Assam jointly observed the World Press freedom day on May 3, 2017 at Guwahati Press Club. The Meeting was presided over by Dr. Aswini Sarma, Secretary General of United Nations Association-Assam and Secretary of IFUNA. Mr. Pratap Bordoloi, former Deputy Director of Doordoorshan Kendra, Guwahati in his keynote speech said that “Each and every journalist should focus on development of the society. Their sacrifices and dedication towards journalism are extremely remarkable." Mr. Naba Kumar Thakuria, Secretary of the Guwahati press club said, “Journalism is a good profession for imparting knowledge on development and all round knowledge for the society and the country as a whole. Mr. Biraj Sarma, Ex-Minister of Assam, a good number of distringuished guests and members of UNA-Assam, members of press clubs and journalist representing of several newspapers and electronic media houses of the state were present on the occasion.
n Dr. Asiwini Sarma, Secretary General, Assam UNA Conducting the meeting
n The Journalists and audience 22 PEOPLE AND UN n APRIL 2017
Pakistan army’s reign of terror continues on Pashtun community, women taken as sex slaves Umar Khattak, Pashtun activist, spoke about Pakistani atrocities on the community and said that they were forming a Pashtunistan Liberation army to launch an armed struggle against Pakistan
mar Khattak, Pashtun activist, in January, spoke about Pakistani atrocities on the community and said that they were forming a Pashtunistan Liberation army to launch an armed struggle against Pakistan. Khattak said that the Pashtunistan liberation army would put an end to terror. He asked for the global community to support them in their struggle against tyranny. Khattak spoke against Pakistan and said that the country had misled the community for a long time and they won’t be fooled anymore. He added that Pakistan wanted the region to set up terror camps and hence wanted to evict them. The Pashtun activist further claimed that according to the UNHCR records, about 5 lakh people from the area have fled to Afghanistan to escape from the atrocities of the Pakistan army. According to Khattak, the Pakistan army has demolished several houses, looted markets, and raped women. He termed it as a catastrophe. He further informed the media that Pakistan had kept hundreds of Pashtun girls in Lahore as sex slaves. They have also kidnapped girls from SWAT and Waziristan. Although the reports are to be confirmed yet, considering Pakistani army’s track record in Balochistan, this does not look like much of a myth. Earlier, it had been reported that the Pakistani army had operated in Balochistan and neighbouring regions with unchallenged authority and committed inhumane crimes against the people, so much so that the Asian Human Rights
India ‘incomplete’ without Sindh: BJP patriarch L K Advani
n Senior BJP leader LK Advani former Dy. Prime Minister feels that India appears "incomplete" without Sindh in its territory.
n According to Khattak, the Pakistan army has demolished several houses, looted markets, and raped women Commission had to intervene in the matter. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day speech had spoken about the atrocities committed by the Pakistani state and its army in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir region. The Pakistan army had reportedly been beating up and torturing people and committing all sorts of crime in the region. (Courtesy-ANI)
THE 89-year-old leader made the remarks at an event while lamenting that Karachi, the capital of the Pakistani province, where he was born in a Sindhi family was not a part of India anymore. He was speaking at the 48th ascension anniversary of spiritual leader Pitashri Brahma, the founder of Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya BJP patriarch LK Advani feels that India appears “incomplete” without Sindh in its territory. “At times I feel sad that Karachi and Sindh are not parts of India anymore. I was very active in RSS during my childhood days in Sindh. It is tter of dismay. I believe that India appears incomplete without Sindh,” Advani said.
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IFUNA APPRECIATES AND THANKS UNIC IFUNA commend the publication of SEVEN DECADES AND BEYOND THE UN-INDIA CONNECT to celebrate United Nations connection with India for seventy years with a book containing seventy chapters on seventy themes. The book is a historical record of India's contribution not only to United Nations but towards World Peace. Mrs. Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman has rightly complimented the contribution in this book in her opening paragraph of acknowledgements. The contribution made by eminent and prolific Indian writers in this book has made us proud and honoured. These writers deserve our deepest appreciation for contributing in this book. Above all, we at IFUNA feel honoured and grateful not only for recognizing the contribution of IFUNA towards United Nations but also by immortalizing us by publishing a full chapter on IFUNA in this book. The vast treasure of knowledge encompassed in this book about United Nations and India connect is the unique effort of UNIC and deserves our heartfelt gratitude for all the hardworking staff of UNIC. We are reproducing the pages dedicated towards IFUNA and WFUNA in the book.
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UNIC-IFUNA Indian Federation of United Nations Associations
A Peoples’ Movement
n Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (standing) at an ifuna reception in honor of a cultural delegation to China in New Delhi, 1952
he Preamble to the United Nations Charter begins “We the People of the United Nations”, underscoring the fact that the people of the world are its foundation. This was a deliberate choice by the founders of the United Nations. It was in contrast to the preamble of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which began with “the High Contracting Parties”, referring to the governments. Yet governments (not individual citizens) are represented in the six organs of the United Nations. So in 1946 the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) was formed to reach out directly to the people and help make the United Nations more democratic. Soon after, in 1953, the Indian Federation of United Nations Associations (IFUNA) was set up for the same purpose among the people of India. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948,
n Eleanor Roosevelt holds a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Spanish in November1949, She was deeply involved with the formation of WFUNA as an organization representing the people of the world. WFUNA has viewed human rights advocacy as a core part of its mission. Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the original champions of human rights, supported WFUNA dur-
ing its early days. She elevated the profile of the organisation, influenced its thinking and advanced the idea of a peoples’ movement. The objective was to highlight the distinction between the political establishment and the people, an idea embodied in the concept of human rights. National United Nations associations around the world strive to underscore their identity as a peoples’ movement. Almost 100 countries have their own national associatins under the umbrella of WFUNA. In India IFUNA was established by Acharya Narendra Dev, a political thinker and social reformer. The organisation was founded in Allahabad in 1953, but it remained relatively low profile, perhaps as a result of its location far from the centre of political activity in New Delhi. In 1960, at the urging of its Secretary General, S.D. Pandey, IFUNA was moved to New Delhi, where it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Moving to New Delhi.
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rought a number of advantages, including support from WFUNA, the Government of India and the United Nations itself. By enlisting the support of the Prime Minister’s office and moving to the capital city. IFUNA was able to inject new life into its activities, build networks of support and archive greater prominence Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit became the fifth President of WFUNA in 1954, and also held the presidency of IFUNA around this time. Selection of an individual of her stature underscored the political establishment’s commitment to the United Nations as an organization and to the philosophy of peace and internationalism behind it. The organization was founded on four pillars’ peace, international understanding, the environment and human rights. Within the United Nations, IFUNA is the only origination responsible for representing the Indian people, independent of their Government. IFUNA began by concentrating on building youth awareness of the United Nations. It established partnership with schools to hold quizzes on UN topics and encourage study of the UN. All participants were awarded certificates, reinforcing citizen involvement in the United Nations and encouraging a sense of ownership among young people. IFUNA was eager to incorporate the United Nations into the formal education curriculum. This led to the founding of the United Nations Institute in 1969. Through its six-month diploma course, it has taught hundreds of thousands of post-secondary students, including diplomats and dignitaries, about the work, structure and values of the United Nations. It was established by Dr. Nagendra Singh, an IFUNA member who went on to become a judge at the International Court of Justice. Today, IFUNA encourages schools to observe United Nations commemorations, such as through UN Day and Human Rights Day, spreading UN messages among communities. Since 1973 IFUNA has published the quarterly magazine PEOPLE AND UN, providing news and analysis about India's global partnerships. These are both intergovernmental, such as a development pact
28 PEOPLE AND UN n APRIL 2017
between India and China, and non-governmental, such as the Tata Group's collaboration with UNDP to craft the Tata Index for Sustainable Human Development. The magazine also highlights issues of common concern for the Indian people and the United Nations, bridging the gap between international and domestic affairs. Advertisements in the publication also help to finance the organization, supplementing funds provided by the Ministry of External Affairs and external grants. IFUNA serves not only as a forum for the people of India to learn about the
United Nations, but also as a conduit for the UN to reach the Indian people. India hosts a number of regional and sub regional conferences, as well as WFUNA plenary assemblies. According to Suresh Srivastava, IFUNA Secretary- General, the organization has had the distinction of receiving almost all the United Nations Secretaries- General who have visited India: U Thant, Kurt Waldheim, Javier Perez de Cuellar, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon. During the UN's fiftieth anniversary celebration, IFUNA was made the official 'ambassador', hosting celebrations across the country. At
pivotal moments in India's history, IFUNA has also helped enable 'track II' diplomacy, informal and unofficial dialogue involving private citizens that can inform official processes. Partnering with UN agencies In India to commemorate observances such as World Literacy Day or World Food Day, IFUNA seeks to bring the ideas and themes of the United Nations to the attention of communities. IFUNA's decentralization makes this especially effective, as it is the only body. Suresh Srivastava, IFUNA Secretary- General, at the launch of the yoUNg@70 Campaign in New Delhi in October 2014. associated with the United Nations that, through its 18 state chapters, spans almost the entire country. State chapters often look to politicians and leading members of society to take on leadership roles, as this adds to their outreach capacity and resources. The state chapters facilitate discussions by academics, practitioners and civil society
to provide inputs on shaping global discourse on topics ranging from disarmament and racial discrimination, in the early years, to the post- 2015 development
agenda today. For instance, in 2014, IFUNA and WFUNA together organized a workshop, 'Freedom from Violence - Peace, Security and Conflict Prevention in the Post-2015 Development Agenda', to further the cause of a just and peaceful world. The United Nations system is often seen as large or unwieldy, a confusing 'alphabet soup' of acronyms and entities. The UN associations, however, enhance the direct relationship between people of a Member State and the UN itself. The work of IFUNA, by linking Indians with other countries and cultures, helps to promote the goal of making the United Nations truly representative of the peoples of the world. IFUNA aims for a bright and ambitious future, including expansion to all the states in the country, to make it a true people's movement. n
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ankind has always dreamed of a Golden Age. Some imagine it as having existed in the remote past, while others project it into a distant future. For those who have the eyes to read the signs, the Golden Age of spirituality has already begun, and we are witnessing its dawn. Already, young and old throughout the world are beginning to seek spiritual awakening. People today are realizing as never before the ephemeral nature of material life. Although we have made great strides in science and technology, we find humanity is no closer to happiness. The world is still strife-torn, the crime rate is ever-increasing, wars continue to be fought between people of one religion and another, between people of one color and another, between one country and another. Even within the family there is unhappiness. Family life has deteriorated, and every day we come across cases of broken homes, uncared-for children, and forsaken elderly parents. Today if we inquire from the parents. Parents say that their children are not respectful or obedient. And the elderly say that they are uncaredfor and forgotten, and may even have been placed in old-age homes. If we inquire the youth, they would say they have too much work and too little time to give to family and parents.
Not only family life, but community life is also vanishing. There is such an emphasis on individuality that we are not concerned about our neighbors. A man may fall seriously ill and need help - even die and those living next door may not learn of it for weeks. With our material advances we have been able to acquire so many luxuries, but we have not been able to bring peace to the world, to our countries, to our communities, to our families, or to our own souls. We may build the tallest building in the world, possess the costliest diamond, become president of the richest nation, and fulfill all our sensuous cravings, but such achievements, we find to our dismay, do not give us lasting peace and happiness. We then begin to ask, "Can we not seek something which will give us permanent happiness and bliss?" This quest is leading us to explore numerous paths and movements which promise peace to the soul. In this age of spiritual awakening we find people returning to more healthy ways of living: vegetarian and natural diets, physical exercises, hatha yoga, natural remedies for disease, wellness and fitness programs, and abstinence from smoking, drinking and intoxicating drugs which harm the body. Others who long for world peace join organizations to further that end: Ecological groups, organizations to deal with world hunger,
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social welfare societies, world peace organizations and human rights movements are a few examples. Others are trying to raise the moral and ethical values of mankind, especially in the fields of politics, education and business. More and more people are turning to spiritual paths. Meditation is no longer something obscure; it is being practiced by people of all religions, ages and avocations. These people are joining different groups and are practicing various forms of yoga, Transcendental Meditation, Zen Buddhism,
H.H SANT RAJINDER SINGH JI
Sufism, and the like. Some forms of meditation are becoming a daily feature in the lives of doctors, educators, scientists, lawyers, businessmen, politicians, those in the creative arts and all other walks of life. Meditation is now being recognized as a means to relieve depression and reduce the tensions of daily life. It is being used by many to increase productivity on the job, to help the concentration of students who have learning difficulties, and to give those who were addicted to drugs a natural means to overcome their problems.
While many practice meditation to relieve anxiety and become more productive, a growing number of serious seekers are turning to meditation to solve the mystery of life and death. All our lives we are learning, and in a sense always remain students. When we are children we learn from our parents and teachers, later we learn from our college professors, and even when we take up our professions we learn from those who are already proficient in that field. In spite of all the books we have in our libraries, when we wish to master a subject, we go to living teachers. If this is the case with outer knowledge, how much more important it is to have the help of an adept when it comes to inner knowledge. In the past, esoteric knowledge was confined to the lucky few who were disciples of the great Masters of their time. But in the age of spiritual awakening, such knowledge is available to everyone. This is a significant step in the spiritual evolution of man. Spirituality is a practical discipline in which, under the guidance of a competent teacher, we can transcend the body and know for ourselves that we are spirit. It is the most natural path, one that does not require us to leave our family, job, home or religion. Like God's other gifts, it is free and available to all. Many people fear that the Golden Age will be preceded by a world catas-
trophe and cataclysmic upheavals. It has been said that whenever there is a change from one age to the other, it is accompanied by a dissolution or grand dissolution. But the Golden Age will not be ushered in by worldwide destruction. The new age will come about through a change of hearts. When the day dawns, the night seems to linger and there are many shades of gray before the sun comes into its full glory. Likewise, there are many stages before the new consciousness comes into its own and bathes the world in spiritual light. As more and more people take to meditation and learn to transcend their limited physical consciousness, they will begin to see that all are children of the same Father, of the One God. The walls which separate man from man will gradually crumble and we will create a world in which every individual no matter how humble - is respected and cared for. We are witnessing the dawn of a spiritual revolution. By definition, such a revolution, unlike political, social or economic ones, cannot be enforced from without. It is an inner revolution which centers on a change of consciousness. We cannot convert others, we can only convert ourselves. If we can accomplish this transformation we will not only hasten the spiritual dawn, but will ourselves bask in its full glory n
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