06 ESCAPE FROM IRAQ The story of Indians stranded in this middle-eastern nation
12 KENyA CAllING The visit of Minister Prakash Javadekar
TEMPlES IN uSA Two temples are coming up Maryland and New Jersey
16 KIP 4th and 5th generation diaspora youth learn about India
18 WE Actor Vivek Oberoi interacts with empowered women
22 OI EXPECATIONS What Overseas Indians expect from India
28 INDIAN MEMORIAl Sanctioned in Reunion Island
31 INVESTMENTS Opportunities in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
ESCAPE FROM IRAQ By Sayantan Chakravarty and Kul Bhushan
istory is academic, but its lessons are revealing. History tells us that Iraq— home once to an ancient civilization that boasted the Hanging Gardens of Babylon—is yet again a modern day burning battlefield, a nation that has failed to learn from its hoary past. Over most of the second half of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st it has remained on the boil, and turned into one of the most hostile war zones anywhere in the world. Once more it is doing that reputation no harm. The crops
of peace have dried up, and fresh harvests of conflict have arrived, and the Indians who have lived and worked there are finding out again how easily Iraq goes up in smoke, and threatens to stay that way for years. So, slowly, surely, but unwillingly, they are leaving their lives in Iraq behind, and making their way back to India. Some are escaping, others are simply being helped to leave. The crisis in Iraq is a clear and present danger to the rest of the world, for it has been triggered by a new outfit—the ISIS, a breakaway faction of the Al-Qaeda—that is out to overthrow the weak Iraqi Government by all means of force. Nearly 10,000 Indians have been affected, 4,000 of whom have
ISIS militants who want a new world order have made Iraq their favourite hunting ground
india empire | July 2014
Nurses arrive in Kerala after they were kidnapped by ISIS militants. (Below) Family members shed tears of joy at the reunion
made their way back to India, but not before some like medical nurses from Kerala had a scary and harrowing experience of being kidnapped by the ISIS rebels. Much of the credit for the safe return of the 4,000 Indians must go to the prolonged and quick negotiations held by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs—both headed by Mrs Sushma Swaraj—with counterparts in the Gulf countries to pressurize the rebels to ensure safe passage for the Indian nationals back home. The Prime Minister’s Office has also stepped in to making security assessments and carry out covert negotiations with authorities, whenever necessary. The ISIS is an active militant group in Iraq and Syria. The
group aspires to bring much of the Muslim-dominated regions of the world under its direct control. They want control over the Levant—an area that includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Kuwait, Cyprus and southern Turkey. It came into prominence in January when it took over Fallujah and was recognized as a terrorist group by Washington. It is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. IRAQ—DOWN THE AGES Babylon is the most famous city of ancient Mesopotamia, cited by Herodotus as one of the 7 wonders of the Ancient World (it is no longer on that list) because
July 2014 | india empire
Kerala Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy welcomes back home a nursing staff who was evacuated from Iraq
of its man-made terraces of flora and fauna. Its ruins are located about 90 km away from the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were raised by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of the neo-Babylonian empire, 2,500 years ago. But the ancient city’s glory did not last very long, even though its legend did. Waves of invaders from neighbouring states, including Persia, ensured that the city went into rapid decline. At the height of his powers, Saddam Hussein who ruled modern day Iraq and initiated many wars with his neighbours Iran and Kuwait, began reconstructing the 600-room palace of Nebuchadnezzar II. He wanted to be known as the protector of Iraq, but his end at the hands of the USA didn’t ensure that lasting legacy. The bricks hastily laid by Hussein’s workers began to crack up in less than 10 years time. Saddam’s fall from power ushered in plunderers into the refurbished palace who stripped away the interiors and upholstery, decimated the glass windows and generally laid waste to the place. Between 1980 and 1988, territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly 8-year war. It devastated the economy. Many Indians were affected at the time, and world oil prices had gone up sharply as both Iraq and Iran went to war. Another long-standing territorial dispute led to the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, known more as the Persian Gulf War. Hussein, during his reign as President of Iraq and Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council between 1979 and 2003 oversaw both wars. Hussein was deposed following the 2003 US-led invasion of the country. Following the invasion, the situation deteriorated to the extent that in 2006–2007, Iraq was on the brink of 8
india empire | July 2014
civil war. Conditions did, however, improve after U.S. troops were sent to Iraq in 2007–2008, and the war was declared formally over in December 2011, with the U.S. troops leaving the country. But the pullout has evidently not helped, and now a well-prepared and well-equipped ISIS is taking full advantage of Iraq’s weak army. INDIAN HISTORY IN IRAQ Indians have had strong links with Iraq since the 15 century. During the last century, Indians worked in large numbers to build the country now destroyed by wars. Indians went to Iraq for pilgrimage and stayed on. After Iraq's independence in 1932, their descendants assimilated in the country and acquired Iraqi nationality. They lived mainly in Karbala, Najaf and Baghdad and ventured into business. Before World War II, British rulers sent them to build roads, railways, waterways and postal services. They also worked as accountants, clerks and technicians. With the discovery of oil in 1960s, Iraq embarked on massive construction projects and Indian companies won lucrative contracts in infrastructure projects and thus Indian professionals and workers went in thousands in 1970s. The well-established Indians set up businesses and recruited more Indians to work for them. Saddam Hussein took power on July 16, 1979. He welcomed Indians as he felt they had valuable contribution to make to Iraq. In the 1980s, Indians peaked at an estimated 80,000 in Iraq. Generally, Indians were treated well under the Saddam regime but like any other Middle East country, they had to comply with the laws of the land and ensure a troublefree stay. Indians, who qualified, were allowed to take up Iraqi nationality.
Minister for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, Mrs Sushma Swaraj meets up with women from Punjab whose families were held up in Iraq
They got jobs as truck drivers, low-level administrators and labourers with the US and British coalition forces. The new wave of Indians is largely construction labourers, nurses, engineers, missionaries and charity workers mostly from Punjab and Kerala, but also from Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. They went to Iraq chasing new opportunities and fortunes as the country was rising from the ruins of war and reconstruction was going on with foreign and local money. They went where they found jobs: Baghdad, Tikrit (Dictator Saddam Hussein's birth place); Mosul, Erbil, Najaf, Basra, Karbala, among others. ROLE OF THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT After returning from Dhaka, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, spoke to Foreign Ministers of all the Gulf States, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, and met their representatives in India to enlist their support. “Till now I have managed to get 4,000 Indians safe and sound back from Iraq. Although I am worried about the 49 people who are still stranded there but we are trying everything possible to get them also back safe. We have been in touch with these people, not through direct sources and know that are safe and unharmed”, Mrs Swaraj said. Delivering the Baleshwar Agrawal Memorial lecture in July at New Delhi’s India International Centre, she said that “I want to lead the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in a way that all the overseas Indian can count on. I want to make sure that we are behind every overseas Indian to support and back them up in case of problems.” Mrs Swaraj informed Parliament that 39 Indian workers 10 india empire | July 2014
held captive in the city of Mosul were safe, and being provided food and water. The Inter-Ministerial Standing Group for Repatriation of Indian Nationals from Abroad (IMSGRINA) has also put in place contingency plans for the safe and expeditious evacuation of Indians from Iraq. Special camps have been set up in Basra, Najaf, Karbala and the Indian mission’s work in Baghdad has been strengthened with the reinforcement of 25 members. She also said that she briefed Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi every evening on the situation in Iraq. A meeting was held on June 25 by the Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth in Delhi. In the meeting Air India, the Navy and the Shipping Secretary were directed to keep vessels on standby in case a mass evacuation of Indians from violence-torn Iraq was required. As reported by a national daily, the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Intelligence Bureau Director Asif Ibrahim were busy routing a secret diplomatic outreach to Baghdad and Riyadh. Their missions, which were kept secret at the time, were powered by phone calls from Mrs Swaraj to her counterparts in the region. The Indian Government especially the Ministry of External Affairs has put in intensified efforts for the evacuation of stranded Indians in Iraq. The return of 4,000 Indians is a significant diplomatic victory for the Indian Government. But not to forget the other Indians that are still waiting to return home, Ministry of External Affairs will have to further gear up the efforts to evacuate them. Once more, history is repeating itself. The conflict in Iraq is here to stay. ❐ —with contributions from Shamlal Puri and Misha Singh.
Kenya overSeaS IndIan Meet
Prakash Javadekar in Kenya The first interaction of the Indian diaspora took place in Nairobi, Kenya, recently when Minister Prakash Javadekar attended a UN assembly, reports Swami Anand Kul Bhushan with exclusive photos of Indian meetings by Liladhar Bharadia The first meeting of overseas Indians with a cabinet minister of the new BJP government of India was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in the last week of June. This happened when Kenya Indians hosted a reception for Mr. Prakash Javadekar, the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change: Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs of India. Mr. Javadekar was on his maiden official visit to Nairobi to address the annual United Nations Environment Assembly at the global headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). With a population of around 100,000 Indians in Kenya and a strong support for BJP, it was natural for him to address the local Indian leaders. The apex body of Hindu and Sikh religious bodies, the Hindu Council of Kenya (KCK), held a reception at the Shree Navnat Vanik Mahajan Hall for the visiting Indian minister by HCK chairperson Nitin
Minister Javadekar at UNEA
Minister Javadekar makes a strong point in his speech to leaders of the overseas Indian community in Kenya
12 india empire | July 2014
Pictures ÂŠ Liladhar Bharadia
Kenyan Indian community leaders listen in rapt attention to Indian Minister Javadekar in Nairobi
Malde, and national secretary Kamal Gupta. Among the notable guest were: Kenya Member of Parliament for Embakasi South, Mr. Irashad Sumra, the Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, Mr. Yogeshwar Verma, the Convener of Overseas Friends of BJP, Mr. Vimal Chadha, and a former chairperson of HCK, Mr. Swaran Verma. The HCK officials warmly welcome the minister while the Kenyan MP spoke about the cordial relations between the two countries. Mr. Javadekar greeted the Kenya Indian community leaders and apprised them of the overwhelming BJP victory at the recent general elections. He outlined the challenges before the nation and how the government had embarked to tackle them. A couple of days later, the Indian cabinet minister visited the Deendayal Bhavan where he met members of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) and avid supporters of the BJP. He thanked the Convener of Overseas Friends of BJP Mr. Vimal Chadha and all the BJP supporters in Kenya for their enthusiasm and elation at the victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who led the BJP to form the new government. Mr. Javadekar mentioned that the task before the new government was daunting and it relied on the support of overseas Indians to project a dynamic image of India. During the three-day UNEP Assembly, Mr. Javadekar joined 170 delegations from round the globe to deliberate on climate change and serious environmental issue that faced the world today. He said India will remain committed to energy and resource efficient development. India strongly believed in the post-2015 Development Agenda, an agenda which could initiate sustained and inclusive economic growth in all countries, particularly the developing nations. After the first day, Mr. Javadekar had a series of bilateral meetings to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern. These meetings were held, among others, with Mr. Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for Environment and
A section of the BJP supporters listen to Minister Javadekar at Deendayal Hall in Nairobi
Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP in Nairobi. Mr. Javadekar met with BRICS Environment Ministers for an informal dialogue hosted by the Chinese Environment Minister, Mr. Zhou Shengxian. Mr. Javadekar also had comprehensive discussions with Mr. Daniel A. Reifsnyder, Assistant Secretary for Environment and leader of delegation of USA to UNEA. He apprised the dignitaries regarding India's National Climate Action Plan with eight missions: solar energy, energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, water, Himalayan ecosystem, Greening India, sustainable agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change. Mr. Javadekar specifically outlined the new initiatives related to integrated coastal development, forest conservation, combating desertification, island development and cleaning Ganga River. In addition to meeting the UNEP delegates, Mr. Javadekar met the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and a host of other dignitaries; all of whom extended their best wishes to Prime Minister Modi. â?? July 2014 | india empire 13
RACE ATTACK IN QUEENSLAND GOPIO Queensland President, Mr. Yousuf Alikhan has strongly condemned the recent racist attacks on staff and owner of an Indian restaurant in Ipswich. He said acts like these have no place in our Multicultural, Multi-racial Australia that we all love and cherish. Mr. Alikhan said that stray incidents like these committed by some misguided, ill-informed lowlifes not only create discord and disharmony in the community but tarnish the image of Australia overseas. It also negates the good work done by community leaders like Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs Mr. Glen Elmes. Mr. Alikhan, applauds the authorities for acting swiftly and apprehending the miscreants. He urged the authorities to punish the guilty with the full force of the law. He also called upon the good people of Ipswich to show their disapproval to such despicable acts by patronising the effected restaurant.
Indian Mehfil's owner Raj Sharma (inset) tries to shield his staff and family from the man as he storms in on Tuesday afternoon
TEMPLES IN THE USA Mr Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, has said that Sri Bhaktha Anjaneya Temple in Ijamsville, Maryland, currently under construction on a 43-acre lot, will be consecrated on August 31. Religious and cultural programs will form part of its Maha Kumbhabhishekam ceremonies between August 29 and September 1, including poojas, homams, pravachanam, aarathi. The auspicious moment of Kumbhabhishekam is stated to be between 10.45 am to 11.30 am on August 31. Sridharan Vadyar, Balakrishna Bhat, Venkatesh Vadyar, Thyagu Sastri, Ganesan Grukkal and NSS Raghavan are priests of this temple, which is described as "a full service Hindu temple" and whose tagline is "Yatho Dharmha Thatho Jayaha". Sivasubramanian is the General Manager. Ijamsville, whose history goes back to 1785, is an unincorporated community in Frederick County of Maryland. NEW JERSEY: Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Robbinsville, New Jersey, USA, currently under construction, will reportedly be spread over 162 acres and be ready in 2017 with an estimated cost of over USD 150 million. “Mandir Mahotsav”, a series of celebrations and ceremonies to inaugurate this intricate hand-carved temple, also known as Akshardham Mahamandir, will be held on August 10 in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Mahant Swami, Sadguru Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami and Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami. About 2,000 artisans are said to be working in Rajasthan crafting various parts of the temple, which will finally be assembled by master craftsmen in Robbinsville. Besides marble from Rajasthan, Italian marble is also being used. A team of about 5,000 people is looking after the 14 india empire | July 2014
Mr Rajan Zed
project in Robbinsville, reports suggest. Its main building will reportedly consist of four floors and will include an exhibit on India’s culture and history, an activity centre for youth, and ornate pillars and panels showing images from Mahabharata, Ramayana. HELSINKI: A Yoga Gate has been launched at the Helsinki Airport. Mr Zed has described it a step in the right direction. Located in “harmonious Kainuu space”, open round-the-clock near gate 30, passengers can take part in instructed yoga classes, using instructions provided in the space. Yoga mats were also provided and “Jet Lag Yoga” instructed classes were recently held here. It is part of Helsinki Airport’s preparation to serve 20 million passengers annually in 2020. Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and Burlington International Airport Vermont—all in USA, already offer yoga facilities. ❐
ENGAGE WITH INDIA
Union Minister for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, flanked by Minister of State for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, and North East Region, General V.K. Singh and Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Mr Prem Narain meet with the KIP batch in New Delhi in June
Thirty nine participants including a member of Parliament from Trinidad and Tobago attended the Government of Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 28th Know India Programme for three weeks in June. On June 29, they interacted in New Delhi with Minister for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, Mrs Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, General V.K. Singh in the presence of Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Mr Prem Narain. The partner state for the three week programme was Jammu and Kashmir. The participants represented 10 nationsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Fiji, Israel, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Thus far, 27 editions of the KIP have been organized in which 827 PIO youth from 36 countries have participated. The 28th KIP commenced on June 9 and completed on June 30. On day one, the participants met with the Director, Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) for an interactive session. This was followed by lectures and discussions on Indian economy, history, planning, development, constitutional framework. 16 india empire | July 2014
A memento being presented
A group photo of the KIP batch comprising diaspora youth from 10 countries with Minister Swaraj
On June 11, participants went for sightseeing around India Gate, Rajpath, Rashtrapati Bhawan and Connaught Place. On June 12 and 13, participants met the Director General, Center for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) and attended lectures and discussions on issues relating to art, culture, history, heritage, music, dance, contemporary art and literature, craft, regional contribution to Indian culture, conservation of culture and heritage walk to monuments. There were also lectures on folk and tribal traditions, innovation in education, methodologies for cultural education in multi-cultural society besides visits to museums and viewing of films on culture and environmental issues. The participants visited Jammu and Srinagar in between June 14 and 21. The visit was marked by tours to sights such as Shalimar Gardens, the Nishant Bagh and also shikahara rides on Dal Lake. They also called on the Governor, Chief Minister and other VVIPs. Altogether it was a memorable experience for them. On June 22 and 23, the KIP team went to Agra and saw the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. On return to Delhi, the participants visited important landmarks such as the Qutub Minar, the Red Fort, Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Akshardam Temple. They also enjoyed shopping in Delhiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s many malls and markets and witnessed a recording at All India Radio. They also visited Sulabh International. Overall, the KIP provides a unique forum for students
KIP batchmates meet Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah in Srinagar. J and K was the partner state for the KIP
and young professional of Indian origin to visit India, share their views and to bond closely with contemporary India. After end of the KIP, the participants become Youth Ambassadors of art, culture, heritage and a positive image of India â??. July 2014 | india empire 17
MOTIVATING NRIs FOR SEWA Some people talk the talk and others walk the walk. Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi who also describes himself as a social worker, adventure sports enthusiast, poet, pilot and dreamer, inspired over 120 guests to walk the walk at the Women Empowered event in Support of Sewa Day on Tuesday July 1, 2014
WE, organized in all of 10 days, and sponsored by Sun Mark Ltd in association with Sterling Media, was sold out and those present were almost transfixed by the depth of Vivek’s thoughts and left wanting to hear more. The event was to raise awareness for Sewa Day, an initiative to remind us that charitable giving is not always about donating money, it was, many a times about donating time—the concept of selfless service that generations of Indians have known as 'sewa'" was being revived before a mass audience in London. Each year since its inception people come together on Sewa Day to do "sewa". Sewa is about others. Last year— four years since it began—Sewa Day projects were held in 25 countries with over 250 projects and a staggering 75,000 people taking part. Best known as an award winning actor in films such as Company, Saathiya, Shoot Out at Lokandwala and Krish 3, Vivek’s philanthropic work is understated but overwhelming. He has been awarded the Red and White Bravery Award in 2006 for helping rebuild a village which was severely hit by the tsunami. He delivered 6 truckloads of relief to villages and adopted a Tsunami damaged village. He runs a school through project Devi that offers education to underprivileged girls who have been abandoned by their families. He supports the Cancer Patients Aid Association and Banyan which rehabilitate homeless women with mental illnesses and many more. He has been recognized by FORBES Asia for his charity work. He is one of only 4 In18 india empire | July 2014
Reena Ranger Welcoming Guests to the Event. Sitting from left are Vivek Oberoi and Gurinder Chadha OBE
dians on the list, the only Bollywood star and also the youngest. He has donated over USD 3 million, helped raise over USD 25 million, and has also given something just as valuable if not more. And that is his time. Reena Ranger, Chairwoman and Founder of Women Empowered (WE), welcomed the guests to the event explaining that WE is a wholly social initiative which aims to empower women (and men) to make the best of their in-
Pictures © www.countphotography.com
L to R: Yalda Hakim of the BBC, Monty Panesar Cricketer, Manoj Ladwa Trustee Sewa Day, Reena Ranger Founder & Chairwomen Women Empowered, Vivek Oberoi, Muttiahtiah Muralitharan, Cricket legend and world record holding bowler, Natasha Mudhar, CEO & MD Sterling Media, Arup Ganguly Chairman Sewa Day, Harmeet Ahuja CEO Sunmark Ltd
dividual skills and talents. It does so by Engaging, Encouraging, Empowering and Enabling women (and men) to do whatever that special thing is that makes a difference to their lives as they see it. She said, “The satisfaction and humility of doing good is reward enough with the added benefit of benefiting others—we make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give. We must encourage philanthropy amongst ourselves. The world is a large place and it may seem like we cannot change it but if we each strive to make a change for one person then together we would have made a great difference. People such as Mr Oberoi that have dedicated so much of their time towards helping those less fortunate, are a source of great inspiration to all of us.” She added that she was delighted to have had the honour of introducing Sewa Day’s newest ambassador and that Mr Oberoi was able to use Women Empowered as the platform to share his experience with others. She said that this would encourage them to put their fears and doubts aside in order to take steps that would make a difference to their lives and those around them. She said that on a personal level she was inspired by taking part in a concept that was ingrained in her by her faith and upbringing, by taking part in Sewa day projects—in October 2013, WE organized a charity lunch on Sewa Day that raised £ 1,111 and helped it towards its operating costs. Reena Ranger said that Sewa day is a wholly transparent initiative and the money raised went towards its operating
cost. The time that volunteers give goes to helping mankind. She ended by emphasizing the highly effective but simple message that we can change the lives of many with little cost to ourselves and quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived is to have succeeded.” Reena Ranger, on behalf of WE presented the trustees of Sewa Day with a cheque for £5,000 to help them to continue their work. Another £2000 was raised on the night bringing the total to £7000 raised by the WE community. Manoj Ladwa, Founder and CEO of the MLS Chase Group and Sewa Day trustee addressed the audience and said: “Sewa is that special thing that will never come back to us once given. Vivek Oberoi, by pledging to be an ambassador further enforced his mission to support the cause. Sewa Day does not choose social activities, it is your choice and could be as simple as speaking for a little time with someone who was lonely. Arup Ganguly, Chairman of Sewa Day said: "We are honoured and delighted to announce that Vivek Oberoi is going to serve as an Ambassador to Sewa Day. Through his public profile and activism, we hope that many others will join hands with us on Sewa Day this year on October 5, all over the world. On behalf of Sewa Day, I would also like to add my thanks to Reena Ranger and Women Empowered for their continued championing of our cause." Vivek Oberoi touched the audience with heartfelt stories of his mother who he described as the epitome of July 2014 | india empire 19
Guests at the event
Sewa, as she selflessly dedicated her efforts to caring for cancer patients and terminally ill patients daily. He reflected and endorsed the notion of women empowerment, attributing his own empowerment to his mother. Speaking of his own experiences and what awakened him to selflessly engage in sewa, he said: “I was going through a difficult point in my life. Then one day my mum said I should come with her to the memorial hospital and I saw children dealing with cancer and my problems seemed ridiculous and so small in comparison. That kick-started my journey and I realised there was so much to do in life.” Mr Oberoi spoke in the tone of a true philanthropist, while endorsing the message of Sewa Day, “I try to reach out and tell people that this (Sewa) is incredible. I think Sewa Day is a great platform and that it should be a celebration of humanity. It’s the most satisfying feeling. Let Sewa Day on October 5 be the beginning.” An integral part of the event involved a question-andanswer session hosted by the celebrated film-maker Gurinder Chadha, OBE. She posed questions such as whether he felt his fame hindered or helped his charity work and his thoughts on how the inequalities in India would be addressed by the newly elected Indian Government. When asked on his views about charitable work being done in India, he touched upon some of his concerns saying that he felt that every religion had the concept of Sewa so deeply embedded in their culture, but unfortunately charity work had become a fashion of sorts and for those doing charitable work genuinely were getting distracted from their work. Sponsor of the event Harmeet Ahuja, CEO of Sun Mark Ltd said “At the core of our philanthropic values is 20 india empire | July 2014
the belief that we should do all that we can to help those who are less privileged in order to change lives and lift communities out of poverty. This is something we are constantly striving to achieve, and so as a result of this we are honoured to have partnered with the organisers of today’s event.” This was echoed by Natasha Mudhar, CEO and MD of Sterling Media who commented, “It was very moving to hear first-hand how Mr Oberoi’s efforts have helped rebuild lives. His unfettered commitment to ‘selfless giving’ coupled with his superstar appeal is testament to the fact that high profile individuals can influence the betterment of society. We were delighted to support Women Empowered and Sewa Day for this momentous occasion. The work of these two organisations is inspiration for all.” Reena Ranger ended by acknowledging the guests on the night giving special mention to Muttiah Muralitharan, the cricket legend and world record holding bowler, Yalda Hakim of the BBC, and England bowler Monty Panesar. She thanked all those involved with making the event a success and added, “This entire event shows you what Sewa can do. Everyone here today is volunteering or giving their time”. She thanked Amit Patel of Count Photography, Dhru Garvi of Zee TV, Gurinder Chadha, OBE and various print media partners for their Sewa and went on to end that those people present would help to take the profound message delivered by Mr Oberoi to eyes and ears around the world and that this would set the wheels in motion for many more Sewa Projects worldwide. She said she was proud and honoured to have heard such inspiring words from a gentleman, in the truest sense of the word, first hand. ❐
overSeaS IndIan exPeCtatIonS froM IndIa
Overseas INdIaNsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; exPecTaTIONs Putting India back on track is the Himalayan challenge before India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Overseas Indians have hailed Modi and hope for progressive, dynamic, responsive, vibrant and efficient India. Our Contributing Editor, Kul Bhushan from New Delhi, presents the expectations of overseas Indians from the Modi government
All over the globe, overseas Indians have hailed Narendra Modi as the new Prime Minister and also hailed his new Government in India. His stirring speeches and clear policy statements during the election campaign have made a great impact on them and his impressive victory swelled their pride for India. Now overseas Indians expect a progressive, dynamic, responsive, vibrant and efficient India. The greatest challenge for Modi is to fulfill the promises made in his electrifying election speeches. This is no easy task as India is a vast country and the problems are humungous. So what can 25 million overseas Indians expect from the new Modi government? VISAS From the moment they plan to go to India, overseas Indians expect courteous and efficient service in obtaining their tourist visas. When applying for long-term visas for five years and especially PIO and OIC cards, overseas Indians have encountered a lot of problems. Here is a report from Shamlal Puri in London where a demonstration was held at the Indian High Commission: "British Indians who have dealing with the Indian High Commission for collecting visas or getting affidavits signed for matters relating to issues in India have vehemently criticised the way its officials work and treat their "customers" a majority of who come to renew their Indian travel documents or to collect their visas. "Often officials talk down to the visitors and there have been accusations of officers demanding money to sort out documentation speedily. In a majority of cases, visitors are told to come back and their cases drag on for weeks and months. British Indians held public demonstrations outside the Indian mission to protest about their treatment. "It has also been observed that Indian officials at the high commission talk politely to white visitors but talk to Indians as if they are doing them a favour. People have been seen leaving the High Commission in tears and fights breaking out when British passports with Indian visas stamped are made available for collection to the clients. It's just like 22 india empire | July 2014
a cattle market and there is lax security at this point. "Generally, there are long queues outside the High Commission snaking around from several buildings nearby to the India House. Many NRIs here hope the Modi Government will use its broom to cleanse out unwanted, ill-informed and rude officers from here and replace them with customer-friendly faces," reports Shamlal Puri. Overseas Indians expect a major improvement in this area from the Modi government. SECURITY Overseas Indians visiting India are scared about the security of women. Recent reports of rapes have scared them. This situation must improve dramatically. Rapes in India have made world headlines and these do not seem to end. The government has to take stern and swift action to prevent such incidents and punish those responsible, harshly and speedily. CORRUPTION Corruption is endemic and it starts at the airport with customs. Arguments about the value of goods that can be brought by overseas Indians, especially gold, create a bitter taste as soon as they land. More publicity for what can be legally imported needs to be publicized effectively at all embassies, websites and in other media. These rules should be handed over with the visa and applied fairly. SUPPORT Strong support for all overseas Indians has been promised by the prime minister. This is most welcome. Now overseas Indians hope that a strong India will support them and boost their morale when they face a crisis and also help them. During the 2014 election campaign in India, Modi made a historic statement for all overseas Indians during a long TV interview. He clearly said that if he is elected, he would strongly support all overseas Indians in every manner. All overseas Indians, no matter what passport they hold, can come and settle in India. This stems from the strong support from overseas Indians for his campaign.
overSeaS IndIan exPeCtatIonS froM IndIa
How this is carried out remains to be seen. MINISTRY The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) needs an overhaul to become more responsive and pro-active with the diaspora. The new minister, Sushma Swaraj, announced greater coordination between MOIA and the Ministry of External Affairs since she heads both of them. The annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conference should get a shot in the arm and attract many more overseas Indians as it will be held in Gujarat next year. PROPERTY Overseas Indians have invested heavily in property in their home towns or villages. With astronomical property prices in India, these real estate assets have become very valuable even in terms of hard currency. Plus, the Indians government allows an overseas Indian to remit up to one million dollars from the sale of property without any permission. So it is no wonder that many a time, these properties are grabbed by their greedy relatives or caretakers and so they land up in courts. Thousands of these property cases are lingering in courts and the only solution is to setup fast track courts to hear and clear these cases speedily for overseas Indians. INVESTMENT If overseas Indians want to invest in India, then setting up of a new industry takes a very long time due to the jungle of red tape, laws, rules and regulations. Endless permissions are also needed before a start- up. Prime Minister Modi has made his state Gujarat very investor friendly and attracted massive investment from overseas Gujaratis. Now his task is to make India also investor friendly and for this purpose he has announced Vibrant India Investment Conference - on the lines of Vibrant Gujarat - in November this year. BLACK MONEY Payment under the table or in 'black' is not the norm for overseas Indians. The estimates of black money run into 24 india empire | July 2014
millions, if not trillion of dollars. Recently, Swiss banks revealed that the deposits from Indians have increased! Bringing back black money stashed abroad is one of the first tasks the prime minister undertook by appointing a Special Investigation Committee. This high powered committee hopes to deliver what it has been assigned. INFLATION Overall, overseas Indians expect that India will combat high inflation. This is touch task what with the latest political and violent upheaval in Iraq sending the crude oil prices sky-high, a forecast of a weak monsoon to reduce crop yields and bottlenecks in farm produce storage and distribution. ECONOMY Modi has taken over the reins of an economy growing at 4.7 per cent. This is a lot lower than eight per cent growth India enjoyed earlier. His government aims to reach nine per cent growth during his five-year term. To achieve this high growth rate, the new government will require rapid infrastructure development and modernization of air, rail, road and sea transport; reduce fiscal deficit from 4.5 per cent to less than three per cent, increase revenue, boost investment, tax reform and a host of other measures. He has clear plans to start this exercise but the initial reforms mean some harsh measures or bitter medicine. Coupled with dramatically improving governance, implement efficiency in the civil service and streamlining policy decisions are other factors for his success. HIMALAYAN Modi has heralded a new era of accountability, governance and fast response. But he faces tremendous challenges: a depressed economy, low economic growth, low investment, lethargic civil service, entrenched corruption and a weak monsoon. Putting India back on track is THE major challenge. Modi's powerful leadership should overcome these Himalayan challenges and make every overseas â?? Indian proud of him and India.
OFBJP Convenor Vijay Jolly at Ireland OFBJP launch program flanked by Lord Loomba, Dy Mayor Larry, Cllr Ruairi & Cllr Ms. Deirdre in Dublin
OFBJP Global Convener Mr Vijay Jolly recently travelled to Dublin, Ireland to launch and inaugurate the new OFBJP (Overseas Friends of BJP) chapter. The keynote address was delivered by Lord Raj Loomba, Member House of Lords, United Kingdom. Earlier Ireland Dublin City Council Mayor Hon’ble Christy Burke welcomed and greeted OFBJP Convener Mr Jolly at the local city council hall. Indian Ambassador Ms Radhika Lokesh was also present on the occasion. A book of Dublin in poetry and songs titled “If Ever You Go” was presented to BJP leader Mr Jolly. A Lord Ganesh statue was presented by Mr Jolly to the Mayor. Warm good wishes of “Friendship & Goodwill” on behalf of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and BJP President Mr. Rajnath Singh were conveyed to the citizens of Ireland. Mr. Jolly nominated BITS IIT India topper and young NRI Mr. Rajpal Singh Rathore as new OFBJP President Ireland along with Ankur Shah as Vice President, Secretaries namely Dharmendra Oza, Ms. Raima Iyer, Hemen26 india empire | July 2014
World Famous Widow's welfare crusader Lord Raj Loomba of UK at Ireland OFBJP launch program in Dublin
dra Dwivedi, Jignesh Ghai and Kamal Gupta as Treasurer. BJP saffron lotus scarf were presented by Mr. Jolly along with the “White lotus” BJP election symbol to all the office bearers. Other prominent Irish leaders present on the occasion were Hon’ble Deputy Mayor Dublin City Council Mr. Larry O’ Toole, Cllr Ruairi Mcginley, Cllr Kieran Dennison and Cllr Ms. Deirdre of South Dublin County. World famous widow’s welfare crusader Lord Raj Loomba specially flew from London to attend the program. While delivering the keynote address Lord Loomba specially praised BJP Leader Mr. Jolly for his untiring efforts to identify, engage, unite and motivate NRIs and PIOs. Lord Loomba hoped that PM Mr. Narendra Modi shall entrust an important task to Senior BJP Leader Vijay Jolly for the welfare of 2.5 million NRIs all over the globe. Lord Loomba in his address stated that in PMs electoral constituency Varanasi in India, Loomba Foundation proposed to empower 5,000 Indian widows for their livelihood. Lord Loomba stated that for this purpose he was willing to donate Rs. 1 crore provided GOI comes forward with a matching grant of Rs. 1 crore for the welfare of widows in India. This was greeted with a loud applause by the audience. OFBJP leader Mr. Jolly in his short yet forceful speech termed Prime Minister Modi as a “Yug Purush” who has firmly fashioned the absolute victory of BJP and decimation of Congress, Samajwadi and Bahujan parties in India. Despite massive victory of BJP, Mr. Modi has accommodated all partners in NDA by forming an alliance Government in India. This showed the true accommodative and democratic mindset of Mr. Modi. The contribution of Mr A.B. Vajpayee, Mr L.K. Advani and Late Mr K.B. Thakre was also fondly remembered by Mr Jolly in his address. Indian Ambassador in Ireland Ms. Radhika Lokesh hosted a dinner in honor of visiting OFBJP leader Mr. Jolly at the Ananda Restaurant on Sandy Ford Road, in Down Town Centre, Dublin. BJP leader Mr. Jolly travelled 200 km to Belfast in Northern Ireland. There he was hosted by Hindu Temple leader Ashok Sharma and Archana Sharma. He visited Hindu temple in Belfast, visited Lord Diljit Rana at Ramada Plaza hotel and a courtesy call to Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Hospital’s famous consultant anesthetist Dr. Satyavir Singhal. A meeting with Rajasthani Samaj in Ireland was organized by President of the Irish Indian Rajasthani Society Mr. Devi Singh Bidhawat of Rajasthan. A visit to Sanskrit speaking Irish Hindu Swami Purna Nanda at his “Eire Vedanta Society” ashram in Dublin, visit to Eurasia Indian ethnic supermarket and meeting with intellectual Sikh leaders namely Dr. Jasbir Singh Puri, Sardar Gurbir Singh Chadha, Sardar Bikram Jit Singh and Sardar Gursharan Singh culminated along with a dinner reception by OFBJP leader Dharmendra Oza at his Dublin ❐ residence.
Ireland Dublin Mayor Mr Christy Burke, OFBJP Leader Vijay Jolly flanked by Indian Ambassador Smt. Radhika L. Lokesh
Dublin Councilor Kieran Dennison in a warm friendly handshake with OFBJP Convenor Vijay Jolly in front of Indian Yug Purush Narendra Modi picture at Ireland
Ireland OFBJP launch Public Over View
July 2014 | india empire 27
dIaSPora In IndIan oCean
Reunion Island Memorial The Mayor of Saint Denis, the capital of Reunion Island, a French department in the Indian Ocean, has allocated 9 square metres for setting up of a monument dedicated to the indentured workers who labored to build the island’s economy in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The indentured workers were taken by French from their colonies in India such as Pondicherry, Mahe, Karaikal and Chandanagore under a system of indentureship. The proposal for the monument was approved by the local Town Hall on December 16, 2013. On June 28, 2014, land was allocated at a site in Saint Denis to a steering committee in Reunion to build the memorial. A 10-member steering committee with representatives of all major Indian cultural associations was established to study the monument proposal. The steering committee is chaired by GOPIO Reunion’s First Vice President and dental surgeon Dr Lena Armoudom. Other members of the steering committee include Acama Latimy, Acama Mohane, Armoudom Charles, Badat Rabia, Balamourougame Zlarame, Camalon Narassinguin, Chanemougame Selvam, Latchoumy Carmen, Narsy Ashok, Valeama Augustin, Minienpoulle Daniel, Ramsamy Jean Regis, Goulamhoussen Mourtzaaly. The steering committee submitted its recommendations to the Consulate General of India on February 7, 2014. The recommendations included: ❖
The monument be named "Memorial Committed to
28 india empire | July 2014
❖ ❖ ❖
Indians." The project be monitored by GOPIO Reunion. The structure should be a "Steel Pyramid" The structure should be approved by the Architect of Buildings of France. Local basalt may be used for construction. Celebrations to instal the memorial may last three days in Saint Denis and include a conference and cultural events. The cultural events should be managed by a professional for quality presentations. The total cost is estimated to be Euro 100,000. A public offering for financial assistance may be carried out to receive contributions. done receive contributions. The GOPIO has opened a GOPIO Memorial Account to receive financial support.
The Town Hall of Saint Denis has agreed to undertake regular maintenance of the Memorial. The Mayor has agreed to transfer the site to the committee after the inauguration. According to GOPIO Reunion president and celebrated journalist Jean Regis Ramsamy, “the site for the memorial is historically important. Our ancestors came to this land to toil with their blood, sweat and tears to build the sugarcane economy of this island. Today we are here because of them. This memorial is a dedication to their courage, their aspirations and ❐ their dreams.”
IndIan youth In Canada
Stand Up and Say no to drUgS
oday, I had the opportunity to meet a renowned journalist, Baltej Pannu, a fearless man who has been raising awareness on the issue of drug abuse for the last twenty years. In the last five years, Pannu has successfully created two intense documentaries regarding drug abuse and positioned it first hand in the province of Punjab. He is a bold man who intends to change the world by preventing the spread of drugs to the beautiful province of Punjab. Pannu is a Canadian journalist that is bringing awareness to the struggle that families are going through in Punjab. Drugs have caused a large number of boys and girls to die in these homes as a result of addiction. No one raises the voice to locate where the supplier is and what his intentions are. Life goes on with families that are miserable and are tired of hearing their children plead for money to buy drugs. However, Pannu has put his foot down to stop this endless struggle of our people. He is following the Guru Nanak mission where his size doesn’t matter but his ambitions are great and will change the face of Punjab. Pannu boldly states that if something is not done to stop the drug abuse, there will not be a next generation. The meaning behind this statement is that the health of the youth of Punjab has declined so much that the next generation cannot be born. This is extremely sad but the truth hurts and Pannu wants to save the rest of the world from this awful fate. Statistics in Punjab state that some 73.5 per cent of the state’s youth between 16 and 35 years are confirmed drug addicts. These addicts use a variety of drugs, which include raw opium, smack, heroin, and synthetic drugs like morphine, pethidine, and codeine and psychotropic substances like diazepam. As a Canadian, Pannu resides in Punjab most of his time by exploring routes to put an end to this drug link into Punjab. On the borders of Punjab, authori-
ties do not inspect what is being brought in or out of the country resulting in the fatal spread of illicit drugs. Pannu’s mission is to put a stop to this living horror in our homeland and wishes to stop the spread of it to youth residing in Canada as well. In Vancouver, the Punjabi community has grown and unfortunately some of them are a part of gangs and drug trades. Recently, a father of two children and a husband to a wife was shot in his car for not complying with gang members regarding drug matters. It’s absurd to see that nothing is being done to stop and Pannu has suggested that these terrible things are being seen right here in Brampton as well. He claims that the influence of drugs has gone so far that youth of the Punjabi community are supplying it to their friends. Drug abuse is not a joke and never has been and let’s put a stop to this living horror through the Guru Nanak Mission and with Pannu’s expertise. Please visit Mr. Pannu’s facebook and twitter page to support his mission on the end to stop the widespread of drug abuse among the youth of Punjab and ❐ the youth of this world!
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Another-report-says-73-5-Punjab-youth-drug-addicts/articleshow/16802538.cms July 2014 | india empire 29
overSeaS IndIan InveStMentS
CONFERENCE Mr Uday Dholakia
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and the Confederation of Indian Industries through their joint platform, the Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC), organised a two-day high profile conference in July to show case the investment potential northern Indian states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi. The event was attended by high powered officers from all the states along with leading investors and professionals around the world. Mr Amit Kant Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Mr Prem Narain, Secretary at the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs spoke at the conference. Overseas presence included senior representatives from South Africa, Korea, Hong Kong, Canada, the USA, Bangladesh
30 india empire | July 2014
and the UK. Mr Uday Dholakia, Chairman of the Indo British Trade Council, a long standing partner of the OIFC, spoke on further enhancing bilateral trade and investment based on legacy-based support. “The new Government in India” said Mr Dholakia, “has fuelled a degree of optimism in the UK for further enhance bilateral trade and investment with India.” The Modi bounce lay in the architecture of the Vibrant Gujarat showcasing to the world the potential of Gujarat. The northern states coming together to show case their potential has to be saluted and encouraged. The commitment of the UK government to underpin British exports and investment with India to the tune of £1 Billion announced by the Chancellor George Osborne during his recent visit to Delhi highlights this special relationship. According to Mr Dholakia, “the challenge for the Modi administration is to create an amicable FDI environment and further enhance sound corporate governance. The UK’s challenge remains how to practically strengthen British companies with legacy-based trade support and most importantly to galvanize the considerable reach of the British Asian communities”. IBTC, based out of LABA’s International Trade Hub in Leicester, is long standing partner of OIFC and CII and has extended support to all the northern states in India to promote bilateral trade, investment, research and tourism links. ❐
INDIA India today is the land of immense opportunities. Under the new Government, everyone expects that a culture of investment will be enforced and a climate of growth will prevail. For wealth to flow in, our states need to become friendly towards investors. While investment has trickled into India in the past, now is the time for the large flows to come in. Hundreds of investors are already lining up from all over the world, and knocking on the doors. We bring to you investment opportunities in two southern statesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Tamil Nadu and Karnataka by talking to their investment heads. We plan to continue this series with other states. Feedbacks can be sent to us at email@example.com
July 2014 | india empire 31
K IN a V R E N S a T T IN a K a
BuSIneSS In KarnataKa
WAITING TO BE
Mr M Manjunath Gouda, Resident Director, Karnataka Udyog Mitra (KUM), Government of Karnataka is based in New Delhi and is tasked with bringing in investments into Karnataka. Constituted under the aegis of the Department of Commerce and Industries, Karnataka, the KUM is an initiative to promote and facilitate investments, and assist investors. As such KUM is a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Single Contact Pointâ&#x20AC;? for all investors who are looking at setting up businesses in Karnataka. Mr Gouda spoke to Assistant Editor Misha Singh
32 india empire | July 2014
Mr M Manjunath Gouda Resident Director, Karnataka Udyog Mitra
Which are the major projects taken up the Karnataka Government to attract investments in the state? Karnataka, with the slogan - â&#x20AC;&#x153;One State with many opportunitiesâ&#x20AC;? is in the forefront of attracting investment across various verticals. To enhance the ease of doing business in state we have identified more than 1 lakh acre of land for industrial purpose out of which notification issued for 80,000 acres. The power scenario is better than many neighbouring states. Total installed capacity is 13,933 mega watts. Presently the generation of power is about 6498 mega watts. There is high potential of wind energy and the State is bringing out new solar policy to facilitate more non conventional, clean energy production in the state. Major initiatives undertaken by the state are: a) ITIR (Information Technology Investment Region): It is spread over 10,500 Acres, at a distance of 44 kms from Bengaluru and 14 kms from Bengaluru international airport. It would consist of all IT based companies, production units, logistics and environmental protection mechanisms including residential areas. b) The State has been awarded 4 NIMZâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (National Investment and Manufacturing Zones), each in an area of 5000 Hactares. Two of them are adjacent to Bengaluru that is Tumkur district and Kolar district and the other two are in the North Karnataka region (Gulbarga and Bidar).
July 2014 | india empire 33
BuSIneSS In KarnataKa
A dedicated freight corridor between Chennai Bengaluru, Chitradurga is coming up. JICA is assisting the state in its implementation.
Which core sectors are attracting maximum investment in the state? The thrust sectors that attract more investments to Karnataka are aerospace and automobiles, biotechnology and information technology, chemicals and petroleum, energy, infrastructure, textiles and tourism. Which are the potential sectors In Karnataka that need to be focused upon? The State is focusing on the investment in aerospace and automobile sector, manufacturing sector, IT and BT sector and nonconventional energy for investments. Which sectors in Karnataka are most favourable for investment by NRI’s? All the sectors mentioned above, including education, health care sectors are conducive for investments in the state. The 250-acre Aequs SEZ is India’s first precision engineering special economic zone hosting three major projects like Aerospace Processing India, SQuAD Forging India and Aerostructures Assemblies India. What are the future prospects for investments in this sector? Quest global is the SEZ in the precision engineering sector. The State welcomes NRIs who wish to invest in precision engineering sector to invest in this SEZ. We also have 40 notified SEZ
34 india empire | July 2014
in various sectors readily available for setting up business by NRI. The state’s main focus has been on Infrastructure and transport sectors. What are the opportunities for NRI investors in these sectors? The opportunities in infrastructure is to the tune of Rs. 87500 crore, out of which transport infrastructure alone is worth Rs 36,237 crore, industrial infrastructure Rs 41,230 crore. The complete details of PPP data base can be seen from the web site: www.iddkarnataka.gov.in Bangalore is the IT capital of the country and has the 4th largest technology cluster in the world. What can the investors expect from investment in the IT sector in the state? As mentioned earlier Bengaluru is known as Silicon Valley of Asia. The State has notified separate IT investment region (ITIR) near Bengaluru exclusively for IT sector, which would facilitate investments in the sector. The NRIs who wish to set up their business in ITIR can expect excellent infrastructure facilities and the incentives as mentioned in the IT policy of the State. Encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the investors to set up their business in Karnataka during the earlier versions of Global Investors’ Meet (GIM) in 2010 and 2012, Government of Karnataka is holding third edition of Global Investors Meet (GIM-2015) in the month of January 2015, which would show case “Advantage Karnataka”. For any further information you may visit our website: - www.kumBengaluru.com,www.ad❐ vantagekarnataka.com.
BuSIneSS In taMIl nadu
T IN a V m E Il S N T a IN d u
OPPORTUNITY Tamil Nadu, the eleventh largest state in India by area auto giants like Hyundai, Ford, BMW, Caterpillar and Mitoffers a very bright picture of a progressive economy. The subishi as well as domestic heavyweights like MRF, Ashok Leyland, TI cycles of India, Mahindra economy of Tamil Nadu is one of the and Mahindra, Royal Enfield, TVS and most dependable, consistent and develThe Chennai area is TAFE Tractors have their manufacturoping of our country. The state is well ing units around Chennai. equipped with all the required infraknown as the Detroit structural support to boost the ecoTo rehabilitate the slum inhabitants, of Asia with global nomic growth and enhance industrial the state has recently announced that auto giants Hyundai, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National development of the state. Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Currently, Tamil Nadu is one of the Ford, BMW and Mit44,870 tenements would be constructed most industrialised states in India. The subishi, machineryat a cost of Rs 2,434.67 crore as â&#x20AC;&#x153;intestate has the highest number of business maker Caterpillar grated townshipsâ&#x20AC;? in mega cities, namely enterprises that is about 10.56 per cent Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore. The and is second in total employment in located there Government has also declared the forIndia that is around 9.97 per cent. Many mulation of a new satellite township in heavy engineering and manufacturingbased industries are located in and around Chennai which is 311.05 acres and construct about 12,000 residential flats at why the area is also called "The Detroit of Asia". Global a cost of Rs 2, 160 crores at Thirumazhisai.
July 2014 | india empire 35
BuSIneSS In taMIl nadu
OVERVIEW OF THE INVESTMENT SCENARIO IN TAMIL NADU Major Projects taken up by Tamil Nadu Government The government has taken two major initiatives. First, the government has introduced new set of policies which are the New Industrial Policy 2014 and Sectoral Policies that includes Automobile Industry Policy and Bio-Technology Policy. These policy initiatives have been taken up by the state government to attract investment in the manufacturing sector. As far as the infrastructure is concerned is working towards the identification of the projects in the sector where the investment is required to check up the growth rate. A consultation study has been conducted to identify the steps that should be taken by state government should to increase the growth rate to somewhere around 11 per cent which would place Tamil Nadu above some middle income countries in terms of per capita income. After the study, a report with the name of Document 2023 has been released to check the investment growth. The document two volumes - Volume 1 sets a goal about what needs to be done to check the growth rate and make state the most developed regions. While, the Volume 2 talks about specifically identified 217 infrastructure projects and many of these project are being given to Public Private Enterprises. The Government has also enacted an act called the Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Development Act 2012, it comes under a high level body called that Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Development board it looks forward to increase the participation on PPP basis. The state’s industrial policy is significantly different from other states because of the innovative features included in it. Tamil Nadu’s Growth Rate Tamil Nadu economy is different from other states. The reason is that the economy of the state is mainly dominated by the manufacturing sector with about 27 per cent while the agriculture is hardly about 10 per cent. The scenario of Tamil Nadu is significantly different from the all India pattern, the economy of the state is export oriented. The exports of the state in the year 2013-14 were about 2 lakh crores and 35-40 per cent of the total industrial output is also exported. The Industry primarily depends on the manufacturing sector which depends on exports. Looking at the growth pattern of the state, the economy of the state has gone down when there is a global recession because of its dependence of exports when the Tamil Nadu economy went gone down because our dependence on exports very high. When the market does well, the state’s economy economy grows much faster. So, if you look at the comparison between all India growth rate and Tamil Nadu growth rate, whenever India does well, Tamil Nadu does even better. Similarly, when the Indian economy has drops, the economy of Tamil Nadu also drops. Other industries like textiles, leather, IT, automobile industry also 36 india empire | July 2014
depend totally on exports. IT industry exports about USD 12 billion and the textile and leather are predominantly exported. More than 50 per cent of the electronic hardware is also exported from the state. According to the figures of last 9 years, Tamil Nadu’s average growth rate has been about 9.75 per cent while India’s growth rate was 7.96 per cent. The performance of Tamil Nadu has been consistent and higher than all India growth rate. The investor’s can definitely expect great returns from investment in Tamil Nadu. Investment opportunities in upcoming Industrial Parks and Corridors There are over a dozen of industrial parks coming up in the state and mostly in the Southern parts. Few other industrial parks in and around Chennai. The creation of more industrial parks is an ongoing exercise carried out by the Government. The state is currently in the process of developing two industrial corridors like Chennai Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC) along with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Madurai-Tuticorin Industrial Corridor which will link Tuticorin, the port city with Madurai which is the largest city. There is a lot of work going internally for the development of these two corridors. There are various land banks being created around them for the development of new industrial parks, logistics parks and SEZs. The idea of creating land banks is that there should have enough land to meet the requirement of the industry and investors. The state will be capable of offering land to the investors as soon as it is required by them for investment. Core Sectors Tamil Nadu has historically been attracting investments in textiles, leather, automobiles, autocar components, finance and IT. Renewable energy is another sector where the
NRI investors. Automotive parts sector, being the mother industry for manufacturing of vehicles is extremely attractive as the components can be bought from the vendors at very low prices. The investors also have a huge opportunity in the renewable energy sector, the government has recently introduced Tamil Nadu Solar Policy 2012 under which the state is currently promoting 3,000 MW of solar power projects all over the state. Besides these IT, textiles and pharmaceuticals continue to remain the major players of investment attraction. With Chennai being the second largest exporter of IT after Bangalore in India, the sector has fantastic investment. Of course food processing is one more area that the NRIs can look forward to invest in.
state attracts a substantial amount of investment; also the automobile sector continues to remain one of our most attractive segments for our investors. Over the years, various automobile companies have been signing agreements with the state government for setting up large projects. The core sectors of Tamil Nadu are: 1. Auto components 2. IT and ITES 3. Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals 4. Heavy Engineering 5. Infrastructure 6. Electronic Order manufactures 7. Renewable energy 8. Aerospace
Future investment prospects in Power Sector The state had made news because of the persisting power problem in Tamil Nadu but the scenario is different, the power problem has become a story of past. There has been a significant improvement in the power scenario and the power interruptions have become very few and the industries are getting continuous power supplies. The state has added about 3, 300 MW of capacity to its power supplies. However, another 3,000 MW is now under various stages of implementation and some of the projects are getting commissioned while some are in the process of completion. The state is also likely to add some more capacity of 1000-1200 MW by March 2015. The state is not only wiping out the problem of power but it will have surplus power supply. Tamil Nadu is the only state with such a huge capacity of about 19,000MW. Making it the largest power generator in India. There are various power projects that have been identified for Private Partner participation in State Vision-2023 document. So, investments in this sector will be highly beneficial in the short as well as long run.
Potential Sector The potential sectors being focused upon by the Government are the areospace, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, the state is also focusing on chemicals and petrochemicals. Tamil Nadu Government is very proactively promoting the Petrochemical Investment Reserve (PCIR) in Tamil Nadu.
NRI investment in Automobile Sector The state has a huge automobile sector, it is one of the top 10 automobile clusters in the world and the largest in India. The sector’s production capacity at present is about 1.4 million cars per year and 361 thousand commercial vehicles per year. Yamaha is also setting up one of the largest factories in Tamil Nadu. The state also has 450 Tier 1 manufacturers and a huge component base. Tamil Nadu also constitutes about 35 per cent of India’s components production industry. The Government envisages making Chennai the largest automobile cluster in the world, this is the goal set by our Honourable Chief. The NRIs can benefit a lot by investment in the auto components sector or can become vendors for the manufacturing firms. The sector has amazing and consistent returns. ❐
Sectors favourable for NRI investment All the above mentioned sectors are favorable for both foreign investors and NRI investors. Besides that the automobile industry continues to remain a wise choice for
—Inputs from Mr Thiru M. Velmurugan, I.E.S, Executive Vice-Chairman, Tamil Nadu Industrial Guidance and Export Promotion Bureau Compiled by Misha Singh
The textile industry of Tamil Nadu accounts for about 40 per cent of India’s spindle capacity. Since the sector is being expanded by the Government, there is immense opportunity of investments in the expansion projects. Tamil Nadu’s leather industry account for 40-45 per cent of India’s exports and hence has great investment prospects.
July 2014 | india empire 37
Nearly uS$800 million invested in Indian realty in Q1 2014 Corporate land sales dominate real estate investment scenario By Anshuman Magazine For the quarter ended March 2014, nearly US$800 million was invested into India’s real estate sector. This translates to almost Rs.4,800 crore having been injected into the sector through the private equity route over the past few months. This couldn’t have happened at a more opportune time for a sector faced with a liquidity crunch, high land acquisition costs, and stringent due diligence from the banking sector—which continues to perceive real estate as a high-risk domain in India. It is this selective attitude towards lending to particular assets and markets, which has also provided opportunities to non-bank lenders such as pension funds and insurance companies to begin to consider funding India’s realty industry. One of the first foreign pension funds to directly invest in an Indian company happened to be the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ) in partnership with Oman's State General Reserve Fund (SGRF). The entity invested ~Rs.2,000 crore (approximately Rs.1,000 crore in phase I, and the remaining amount to be funded within a period of 12–18 months)in Larsen & Toubro's (L&T) infrastructure development arm, L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Limited (L&T IDPL), during the first quarter of 2014. Other key investment trends observed during the quarter were land transactions, investments in built-up commercial assets, and the sale of non-core assets by business entities. More than 60% of the realty investments observed during the quarter under review were seen to be the sale of land parcels by corporate entities seeking to maximize returns, primarily in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), to realty developers for housing development projects. Some of the most significant cases in this category involved the sale of a 25-acre land parcel owned by Tata Steel on Dattapada Road, Borivali (East), Mumbai, to the Oberoi Group for approximately US$ 187 million for a luxury residential project. Other similar land sales in the MMR included the town planning agency, City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited (CIDCO), selling off three of its land parcels in Navi Mumbai to local developers for residential as well as commercial development. While the CIDCO plot at Sec-
38 india empire | July 2014
tor 23, Khargar, was bought by the Bhagwati Group for about US$24 million to be developed as a housing property, two more plots at Ulwe’s Sector 19 were sold to Shagun Enterprises and Varun Enterprises for nearly US$7 million and US$6 million, respectively. Yet another land deal saw Ardent Properties Pvt. Ltd., a 100% subsidiary of realty firm, Tata Housing Development Company Limited, buying a 7-acre plot at Thane for nearly US$36 million from KEC International for the development of a premium housing project. Other such land sales were also observed in Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, and the Delhi National Capital Region during Q1 2014. It is interesting to note that these are all corporate deals, which goes to show that an increasing number of firms are now open to monetizing their defunct real estate assets for the right valuation. Industrial assets (such as IT SEZs) remained sought after due to comparatively better yields over residential assets, stable returns and strong occupier demand. The first quarter of 2014 saw quite a few investments in built-up commercial assets. The most significant was that of US-based industrial engine maker, Cummins, buying its 700,000 sq. ft. India office campus at Balewadi, Pune, from Panchshil Realty for nearly US$125 million. The quarter also witnessed developers seeking equity investment partners with several Indian developers generating cash by disposing off their non-core assets and/or forming joint venture partnerships with investors to develop realty projects. A case in point being realty major, DLF Ltd., divesting off nearly 25– 26 of its hospitality property portfolio—under its Amanbagh brand—to the Adrian Zecha and Peak Hotels joint venture. In conclusion, more platform deals and equity stake acquisitions are expected to be seen in the forthcoming quarters. Although India is not yet a significant player in the regional real estate investment market, going forward, we expect the entry of real estate investment trusts (REITs) to provide alternative funding channels to the sector, and trigger strong growth in its investment volumes. A forward looking legislation on REITs will be a key enabler for capital markets in the country, and shall be the single-most consequential reform witnessed in the ❐ sector in recent times. —The author is CMD, CBRE South Asia Pvt. Ltd.
InveStInG In IndIa
For the investor, stability and an enabling environment are key decision-making factors. From indications already coming in, several investors are poised to engage vigorously with new state Governments and the central Government in terms of investments across sectors. In the coming pages find excerpts from the India Attractiveness Survey, prepared by Ernst and Young and shared with Invest India and FICCI. In January 2014, India Empire had partnered Invest India and FICCI to put together a day long investment summit known as the Global Indian Business Conference
40 india empire | July 2014
July 2014 | india empire 41
THE ROAd AHEAd By Kamal Mahawar
e have a new Prime Minister and above all we have a new Health Minister, who is a doctor himself. Dr. Harsh Vardhan must be flooded with advice and suggestions from all and sundry about how to run our health system. Not all of them will be good and he will have a tough task separating the proverbial wheat from the chaff. And he will have ideas of his own. It will hence seem right to focus on the root causes of the disease rather than get stuck with superficial symptoms. Any observer of Indian health system very quickly comes up with two con-
42 india empire | July 2014
clusions and I will attempt to delineate them here. Lack of Rural Infrastructure and Urban Overcrowding Many of the ills of our healthcare can be traced to a complete lack of infrastructure in rural areas and an overconcentration of services in urban areas. Unless, we think about strengthening our rural infrastructure in a massive way, no lasting solution will ever be found to India’s health problems. Yes, we need more doctors and nurses, but with our current facilities, we are not able to retain the ones we produce. We have to understand that doctors and nurses need jobs in adequate facilities when they come out of medical and nursing colleges. If we can’t give them jobs that will pay them decent wages and provide adequate training, they will either be forced to indulge in corrupt practices or migrate abroad. The state of rural India is such that even the students coming from rural parts don’t want to go back and work there and that then leads to an over-concentration in urban areas where doctors, specialists, and hospitals are competing for the attention of a very small number of patients. This then promotes unhealthy competition where they are indulging in all kinds of corrupt practices to attract a flow of “self-paying” patients. The urban public healthcare systems, on the other hand, are dealing with an ever-increasing pool of patients with scarce resources at their disposal. The only lasting solution of this problem is not easy and likely to entail a massive public private partnership. However it is not beyond the third largest economy in the world and a government that has people’s mandate. I think we need to set up “Health Townships”, in each rural parliamentary constituency of India, which can boast of not only state of the art hospital facilities for the patients but also accommodation, water, and electricity for the staff who work there, quality schools for their children, and shopping
malls and entertainment facilities for their families. Such townships will be the only way to attract our healthcare forces into rural India. We have to realize that doctors and nurses are normal human beings with needs not dissimilar to others in the society. If we pay them well and provide them with adequate housing, education, and work place facilities, they will not need to go to cities or abroad. Such townships will have multiple benefits for our society. It will help promote rural development in general and curtain massive urban migration that we are seeing. Needless to say, it will need a sustained effort by all stakeholders that will include central government and its various departments, state governments, and private sector. An Effective Regulator The second big problem with our system seems to be that related to the role of Medical Council of India as a regulator. MCI needs to be strengthened and equipped with resources to rebuild reputation as an effective, fair, and robust regulator of the medical profession in the country. A breakdown of trust in the regulator is neither good for the profession nor the patients. We need a regulator, which is trusted and respected by all. It must protect patients above all and support professionals in their duty. In absence of a regulator, more and more patients will be forced to go down the legal path for their grievances. And bringing law into health is not something either patients or doctors would like to see more of. Currently, Medical Council of India has been entrusted with regulating millions of doctors but has neither been empowered to function adequately nor funded. We will have to examine ways of ensuring ways to make Medical Council of India an organization that we can all be ❐ truly proud of. —The author is Chairman, Webmed Limited, Durham, UK
July 2014 | india empire 43
POWER OF NINE Nine, Vengeance of the Warrior Publisher: Penguin Metro Reads, Penguin Group Author: Shobha Nihalani Pages: 344 Price: INR 250/Anita Bharatpuri, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh Anita had spent half a day at the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratishthan library. After going through the rows of dusty tomes, she asked to meet with a senior professor. Acharya V.K. Shastri was a tiny man, bespectacled and bald. He had about him an aura of indignation and looked at her suspiciously when she thanked him for taking time out to see her. He led her to an office in the corner, which was more like a makeshift storage area with a desk and two chairs crammed into the available space. Dusty piles of books and boxes were stacked on the floor. A metal cabinet crowded one corner, blocking access to his desk. The Acharya had had to slide sideways to get to his chair. He indicated the well-worn seat across from his wooden table. Fingertips together, he waited for her to speak. ‘Acharyaji, I am a journalist.’ He harrumphed in response. Anita ignored it and continued, ‘I have come to Ujjain to research this city’s connection with King Ashoka in the fourth century BC. Ujjain was the capital of the Avanti kingdom of King Vikramaditya. I’m trying to establish the link between King Ashoka and the secret knowledge he gained while he lived here.’ Then her voice dropped down a notch, ‘He is believed to have created the secret society of the Nine unknown men.’ The Acharya immediately flared up. He threw aside his spectacles and looked at her. His dusky complexion turned an angry red. ‘That is the most bizarre story I’ve heard in my life! Is that why you came here? To talk about some hearsay and disturb my peace? Then he stood up and, pushing back his chair, pointed to door. ‘Go research your pulp fiction nonsense elsewhere … Secret society, huh? Things which have no basis are being researched for truth just because you need some sensationalism in your life!’ He smirked, shaking his head. ‘Journalists these days!’ Anita didn’t move. She stared at him stoically. ‘Acharyaji, with all due respect, there is a mention in history texts that Ashoka lived in Ujjain before he became king, when he was the viceroy of the western provinces of the Mauryan Empire. And after he became king and went to war with the Kalingan army, he was overcome with remorse and turned to Buddhism. He created the secret society to protect mankind from the ancient knowledge derived from the Vedic scriptures. The kind of knowledge that could anni-
hilate an entire civilization,’ she said animatedly. ‘That is rubbish! You are creating fantasy stories and drawing the wrong conclusions!’ Acharyaji spat out angrily. Anita was afraid he would burst a blood vessel and fall flat on his face. And secretly hoped it would happen. She could not fathom why he was getting so worked up. ‘You shouldn’t have come here. This is a library. Please go. You have wasted your time and mine.’ Anita was thick-skinned enough to ignore his insults. She wasn’t going to let this old fart get to her. She held her ground and continued. ‘Sir, I don’t understand your irritation. I am working on a serious project and was hoping for some guidance from such an astute scholar as yourself—’ He was about to interrupt, when she raised her hand to stop him. He clenched his fists. ‘Here me out first. Ancient Vedic literature contains some highly developed scientific findings that are considered even more advanced than those in the modern world. For example, the twenty-three-foot-high Ashoka Pillar in Delhi, weighing over six tones, built during the Gupta era, is an enigma. Modern metallurgists are still pondering over the quality of the pillar which has shown no sign of corrosion of thousands of years. And it is widely believed that in ancient civilizations, wars were fought using nuclear weapons.’ ‘You are pulling nonsense out of thin air!’ he said, irritated. ‘Not nonsense, sir,’ Anita continued, not the least bit miffed by his attitude. ‘Archaeologists have recently discovered evidence of atomic blasts dating back thousands of years. Therefore, it is this kind of knowledge that Ashoka felt would lead to evil plans by certain individuals. After he converted to Buddhism and vowed never to hurt another, he created the secret society so that such ancient knowledge would be protected from mankind, in case it fell ❐ into the wrong hands.’ July 2014 | india empire 45
ColuMn: yoGI aShWInI
MInd and Body
THE SECRET OF Om By Yogi ashwini Yogi Ashwini
s creation began, time was created first and rest everything came after that. Whenever anything starts, first of all its time is determined. Think about it, all the pleasures that you take through the day - relationships, property, business, money - is there anything that is beyond time? There is only one thing that is not tied to time - reality. What is real, is not bound by time. So first, time was created. Next, came the primordial sound of ‘om’. Is om then bound by time? Om is both, tied and free from time. How? When om is chanted, it can be a short ‘om’ or a continuous ‘ooooooooom’. The om is tied to time butoooooom has no beginning or end, it is the brahmnaad, a continuous loop of countless short oms. It is the separated smaller oms that manifest as various aspects of creation. So first came time, next came om and from it emerged prakriti and purush, the two aspects of creation. So om becomes the doorway between this world and that or the key to enlightenment. Purush further manifested as brahma, vishnu and mahesh while prakriti gave rise to saraswati, lakshmi and adi-shakti. Thereafter the tridevas got tied to their respective karyakshetra in creation and the devis further divided to form the navdurgas which further split into more and more parts giving us the creation as it exists today. Each one of us is ‘om’, a poorn ansh of creation comprising of purush and prakriti. In that respect, each individual is tied to time and at the same time independent of it. Every individual is living in unreality and also in reality. How is this possible? Let us understand this with a practical example. When you go to watch a movie, you take yourself to be reality and what is happening in the movie as unreal and yet, you get so involved in that unreality that you laugh and weep as the movie progresses. A movie-seer has the option to sail out of the movie or remain engrossed in it. It has got both limited and unlimited aspect to it. The limited aspect is the movie (om) and the unlimited aspect (oooooom) is the seer. So is true of the movie called physical life. Every human being is tied to it and yet not tied to it. He just has to realize it. The om is one, every human being is that om but he has tied himself to the physical world which he mistakes as real. The irony is that the physical world is slipping way from his hand with every passing day – every new day brings with it an46 india empire | July 2014
other grey hair, another wrinkle on the skin, a new disease or problem, further weakening of the senses – and yet he does not want to leave the physical. The one who knows that what he is doing is foolish and does it because he knows that the physical has to be passed, karmas have to be carried out and that he has the choice to walk out of the movie hall anytime he wants - that person is called a realized soul, a Yogi. A fool is the one who continues sitting on the chair as he wants to enjoy a little longer. And what happens in that ‘little longer’ is that the time, which he could have utilized somewhere else, passes and as that time passes, he is left with nothing. His back bends, hair fall and senses dull. Finally his body becomes useless and is put to fire. Each one of you has a choice to exist in reality or continue fooling yourself in the unreal. Each one you is an oooom formed by the smaller oms, that are temporary and limited are the physical world, the unreal. You may live in the oms or access the unending oooom, which is the param satya. On specific nights of energy, such as tonight (Diwali), as you do dhyan on the form of Guru with the internal chant of ooom at the agyachakra, you will experience the reality, the limitless and the unreal will leave you automatically. All the secrets of creation are hidden in the om. But the chant should be correct. Otherwise you can go on watching movies…every new movie is more interesting and fun than the previous. There is no end to entertainment, but what is lost is –time. When time passes, you take another birth, another life with similar or aggravated pains and tensions, the same cycle yet again. You can keep going round and round in the unreal, and keep wasting time because it is very easy to live in a lie. You keep thinking, now this will happen, that will happen, but nothing happens. Whatever you are thinking, even if that happens, then also what will you do? For how long will that continue to happen? Whenever you are enjoying something, try to separate yourself from it and observe that who is it that is enjoying and for how long will it continue. Because whether you like it or not, everything in the physical is going to go as it is tied with time. It is only reality that is beyond time, rest everything is timebound. No matter what you get, the day you get it, it’s time to go away from you also gets fixed. —To be continued —The writer Yogi Ashwini Ji is the head of Dhyan Foundation, Delhi. For details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
An inspiring business autobiography of an award winning businessman
Dr. Rami Ranger MBE, FRSA Chairman, Sun Mark Ltd.
His life story is available online from