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January 2017




LASTING LEGACY .............................................. 12 The story of Mr Inder Singh, distinguished community leader

KEY MONGOLIAN INTERVIEW ......................... Interview with H.E. Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia


FOUR YOUNG MPS ............................................. 23 Conversation across party lines

INVESTMENT FEATURE ..................................... Opportunities in Afghanistan


OFFICIAL VOICE ................................................. 08 Interview with Secretary, OIA, Mr Dnyaneshwar M Mulay

NRI REALTY ........................................................ 41 The rise of Muppa Venkaiah Chowdary




CONNECT: +91.9811627971 / +91.9953824095 / +91.11.29231515 / 29233647 EMAIL: / /


Mr Narendra Modi

Ujjwala Target Achieved The mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of providing clean cooking fuel to poor households has received a shot in the arm. The 2016 – 17 financial year target of 1.5 LPG crore connections has been met in a span of only eight months by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas led by Minister Dharmendra Pradhan 6

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Picture Š siPra das

Mr Dharmendra Pradhan


arget of 1.5 crore LPG connections fixed for the current financial year for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has been achieved within a span of less than 8 months and the scheme is being implemented now across 35 States/UTs. Vision of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to provide clean cooking fuel to poor households in the country has been taken forward through implementation of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). An adult woman member of BPL family identified through Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data is given a deposit free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs.1600/- per connection by Government of India. The announcement of releasing 5 crore LPG connections to BPL families over a period of three years was made with allocation of Rs 8,000 crore in the Union

Budget on February 29, 2016. Prime Minister Modi launched PMUY on May 1, 2016 from Balia, Uttar Pradesh. Fourteen States/UTs having LPG coverage less than the national average, hilly states of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and all North-East States are identified as priority states for implementing the scheme. The top five States with maximum connections are UP (46 lakh), West Bengal (19 lakh), Bihar (19 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (17 lakh) and Rajasthan (14 lakh). These States constitute nearly 75% of the total connections released. The households belonging to SC/ST constitute large chunk of beneficiaries with 35% of the connections being released to them. It is also noteworthy that with the implementation of PMUY, the national LPG coverage has increased from 61% as on January 1, 2016 to 70% as on December 1, 2016. â?? january 2017 | india empire




“We are engaging with diaspora throughtout the year, on an ongoing basis” Just days before the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention in Bengaluru in January 2017, Mr Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Secretary (OIA and CPV), Ministry of External Affairs, speaks to Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty on a range of issues regarding India’s engagement with the diaspora

We understand that the Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) department of the Ministry of External Affairs has been holding meetings with prominent PIOs and NRIs from all over the world on an ongoing basis. What is outcome of these meetings, and how have they helped in strengthening the process of engagement with the Indian diaspora? We call them monthly PBD sessions. These sessions are an outcome of the guidance that has been provided to us by Hon’ble External Affairs Minister (EAM) in order to revamp and reformat the PBD engagement. The idea is not only to have once-a-year or once-in-two-years events, but have an engagement on an ongoing basis. Since February 2016, we’ve had 10 monthly sessions. The sessions have been chaired by EAM and were built around a theme, and brainstorming took place around that for three to four hours. For each session between 25 and 30 domain experts were invited, they included experts from overseas as well as from within India. The themes covered a gamut of diaspora issues and activities. They included subjects like diaspora contribution to philanthropic activities, policies for overseas Indians in GCC and ECR countries, policies for overseas Indians in girmitiya countries, diaspora contributions, Indian students overseas, PIO and NRI students in India, holistic health, tourism, education and innovation. Following each monthly session, we sent out recommendations to concerned ministries, and we have received inputs from them. So eventually whatever has been accepted will become part of Government’s policies on overseas Indians. Overall, this is a well thought out process set in motion by 8

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EAM, and what we are implementing is novel and new. We have had participation from North and South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South and South East Asia, and Africa. We have touched every part of the globe where the diaspora is present. It is now known that the Government of India will hold the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on a biennial basis. Does the OIA department have a plan for holding Regional PBDs in between the PBDs? If so, in which countries are we likely to see such engagements? Right after the January PBD convention we will have to chalk out a programme in order to determine what we need to do between now and the next PBD which is two years away. Currently we are brainstorming on that. Mini PBD will be on the agenda. At the same time we will be looking at how we can energize and invigorate more diaspora philanthropic activity, economic engagement, tourism, yoga, holistic health, education. At present we are chalking out a very balanced and rational system that can engaged diaspora in different parts of the world. Please let us know what facilities and opportunities are available at the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra for overseas Indians… The Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra is a unique facility, intended to bring diaspora in one place. It will provide space for intellectual, cultural, educational activities. Besides, it will be able to showcase exhibitions and galleries. Smaller conventions and meetings can take place

Mr Dnyaneshwar Mulay Secretary (Overseas Indian Affairs and CPV), Ministry of External Affairs, India

there. There is a small residential facility for visiting members of diaspora which will be available on a firstcome-first-serve basis. We are currently formulating guidelines on how best to put it to use. Under the Narendra Modi Government we have seen a marked shift in the nature of engagement with the diaspora. The Prime Minister has himself addressed large gatherings of overseas Indians all over the world. What are your thoughts on this? What he does is unique for any Prime Minister in the world. A person of his stature takes time out to engage in a comprehensive manner with our diaspora, whether it is diaspora in the U.K., U.S.A., Japan, Singapore, South Africa, UAE, Mauritius, Australia, Germany and wherever else he has gone. During these visits he has taken the opportunity to tell the diaspora about India’s development goals, and appeals to them for participation in the India growth story. He emphasizes on the importance of engaging with India. In Madison Square Garden, for instance, he said that the diaspora in the USA should have one foot in India, and another in the USA. The diaspora has gained enormous

confidence since he talks directly to them. The diaspora’s desire to connect with India has grown. Diaspora is very enthusiastic. It believes that India has entered a new era, and there is a paradigm shift in the way India now engages with the diaspora. They are now willing to play their part. Already on the remittances front, the Indian diaspora has been topping the world list. We are expecting more investments from the diaspora, and greater sharing of knowledge that will enable India to jump into the elite group of nations. At the Ministry of External Affairs, our job is to create a conducive environment, give confidence to the diaspora that its investments are safe. The Government of India has started the process of liberalization, caps have been raised in any number of sectors. Diaspora can invest 100 per cent in sectors across the spectrum. Most profits can be repatriated. We are proactively seeking engagement with diaspora. The newer immigrants (like to North America, Europe and Asia Pacific) and the older diaspora (from Caribbean, Fiji, East Africa, Mauritius and Reunion Islands, Malaysia, South Africa) need separate january 2017 | india empire



Secretary Mulay at his office in Akbar Bhavan, New Delhi

engagement models. What are your views on this? There is the overall umbrella within which you have diaspora components like in the Gulf, the girmitiyas, the ones in developed countries like in UK, USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South East Asia. Then there is a diaspora of tourists, NRIs, students and business community. Their numbers are significant. The composition of this particular diaspora is constantly changing and we have to device methods to engage with them. There are nearly half a million Indian students studying overseas, and many of them are future Overseas Citizens of India. We are engaging with the diaspora youth substantially. Similarly our engagement with other diaspora including girmitiyas is very strong. There is a common agenda of connectivity. At the same time there are sensitivities and special needs which we are looking at. How is the Ministry planning to deepen engagement insofar as diaspora philanthropy in India is concerned, and are more overseas Indians coming forward in this direction? We have at the Government of India level established the India Development Foundation for Overseas Indians. 10 india empire | january 2017

Even though it was established about nine years ago, its progress was far from satisfactory. We went into the reasons why it had not met expectations, and it led to revamping schemes. We realized that overseas Indians need more assurance, more transparency, in certain cases they needed more tax benefits. They wish to have a sense of ownership of the projects they get involved with. All these issues were examined. Now the scheme is hundred per cent transparent. Acknowledgements are given out on Twitter and Facebook. If the amount they contribute is significant, then there is a photo-op with the EAM. We hold their hands throughout the process and on successful launching of the project there is a signage—they will be invited for the inaugural ceremony. They are welcome to add value in any manner they wish to, by way of intellectual inputs, and even by sharing their thoughts. We now have 100 projects registered after consultation with state Governments, so these states are ready to work with us. We have the FCRA and there are no tax hassles in India. I do not think any other NGO or trust in India will give so much assurance to the diaspora in terms of transparency, hand-holding and assurance. â??


LAsTiNG If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader —John Quincy Adams

Inder Singh with President George Bush 1991, Los Angeles

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar of Trinidad and Inder Singh, Port of Spain

uincy Adams, the sixth President of the USA, was right on the money. Real leaders across the world inspire people to go the extra mile to become more of who they are. They actually make them dream more, and, of course, do more. Inder Singh of Tarzana, a suburban city of Los Angeles, California, does know a thing or three about leadership. A tireless community worker above everything else for over four decades, his leadership skills have taken him across the great oceans to build, well, new leaders! He didn’t have to open up a transcontinental leadership academy to motivate— his highly effective communication skills whether in person, whether on the dais, or over phone, and his artful persuasiveness, were enough to do the job. If today several men and women of substance across the Americas, Caribbean, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania, have stood up to be counted as champions of the Indian diaspora, then you could thank Inder Singh who for over a decade remained President, and then Chairman of the GOPIO International. Currently he serves as Executive Trustee of the GOPIO Foundation. Over the years, Inder Singh has been a regular to India’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) events. In 2013, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released a Gadar stamp celebrating the centennial of the freedom movement that was inspired mainly by Indian youth based mostly out of California.

Because of Inder Singh’s sustained campaigns, Gadar was officially recognized as a part of India’s freedom struggle. Today, the consulate general in San Francisco maintains the Gadar Hall in memory of those freedom fighters. Inder Singh also went on to write a book on Gadar Heroics in 2013 that was widely distributed at events in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and other places.


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LOBBYING FOR INDIA India’s equation with the USA may have changed for the better in recent times, particularly after Prime Minister Modi and President Obama chose to work closely on security issues, and increasing foreign direct investment from the USA to India. But things were not quite as hunky dory back in the 1980s and early 1990s—times when bashing and pillorying India in the USA had become a norm, and when Pakistan that has consistently waged a low-intensity war against India ever since partition, was America’s great ally in the sub-continent. Mr Singh rose to the occasion and was at the forefront of a nationwide campaign across the United States to stop the proposed supply of highly sophisticated military hardware, including AWACS, to Pakistan. He recalls having hotfooted his way in the corridors and halls of the US Congress in 1987 to convince many US lawmakers about the potential danger of AWACS at the hand of an unstable Pakistan, a country with a chequered history of military coups and dictatorial rule by war-


By Sayantan Chakravarty

Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand and Inder Singh, Auckland

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Inder Singh, New Delhi

mongering generals. The shrill campaign didn’t fail to make its mark, and Pakistan failed to secure the airborne warning and control systems that would have posed a dire threat to India. Equally laudably, in the mid 1980s, he led another highpitched campaign against the proposed drastic reduction of Asian immigrant quota by Senator Edward Kennedy. Inder Singh was then president of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), the umbrella body for Indian organizations in the USA. Joining hands with other outfits, he mobilized the Indian American community against the proposed cut in the immigration quota. His perseverance paid off. After a long and hard struggle spanning over five years, the new Immigration Act retained the original quota of the Family Reunification provisions of the US Immigration laws. His qualities of persuasion also came to the fore. Apart from leading the community to raise pertinent issues of concern, Mr. Singh participated in the election process of US Presidents and California Governors in the capacities of chair and co-chair. A well-respected TV network in the US showcased his community leadership and services in an hour-long programme titled Journey. It was broadcast locally, regionally, and nationally.

coast of the USA in November 2015. The decision to hold the PBD in California may not have been happenstance— after all Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the Silicon Valley barely a month before, and addressed 18,000 Indians at San Jose, about 340 miles north of Los Angeles. The importance of the regional PBD was, therefore, not lost on the Indian Government and, quickly, the Consulate General of India at San Francisco had an organizing team with Inder Singh at the helm. The team was tasked to bring in people to the event in a short span of time, and overall help in organizing. It did, and with plenty of aplomb. When you consider that the west coast of the USA has among the brightest and the best among Indian immigrants anywhere in the world, the honour to lead the organizing committee is a tribute and testimony to Inder Singh’s enduring credibility, respectful standing, incredible goodwill, and outstanding stature in the Indian community. At the end of the RPBD which went off smoothly at the Westin Bonaventure, there were happy faces among the organizers everywhere. The class of people that attended was noteworthy, and the quality of presentations made was engaging. Everyone who was part of the organizing committee felt elated, and hugely satisfied. It showed Inder Singh, who was chairman of the GOPIO International at the time, had done his job. As the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu says, “a leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his

REGIONAL PBD—LOS ANGELES 2015 Mr Singh was the chairman of the organizing committee when India decided to hold its first regional PBD in the west

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Prime Minister Inder Gujral and Inder Singh, New Delhi

Inder Singh and Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo, Georgetown, Guyana

work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” Indeed, Inder Singh brings smiles to people’s faces when they succeed, and that gives him his moments of greatest joy.

P.N. Kaul and Indian cabinet minister N.D. Tiwari. It was the first gathering of its kind in the West Coast of the USA. In 1989, Mr. Singh as NFIA president oversaw the organization of the first Global Convention of People of Indian Origin. The seven-day convention attracted 3,000 people and delegates from 22 countries, including many community and political stalwarts of Indian origin from various parts of the globe. At the end of the convention, GOPIO was formed to help network the overseas Indian community. In the year 2000 he started the India Association of Los Angeles (IALA)—San Fernando Valley and also supported the formation of India Association of Inland Empire. Indian ambassadors Mira Shankar, Nirupama Rao and Arun Kumar Singh were the chief guests at the IALA programmes in the years 2010, 2013 and 2015 respectively. He’s personally spearheaded the Indian American Heritage Foundation where he is chairman and founding president. For 30 years now, Mr Singh and his team has been giving scholarships to the community’s best and brightest students graduating from high schools in southern California. The foundation wants second and third generation Indian students to get a sense of their origin, and, therefore, conducts a test of their knowledge about India and also the Indian American community. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship money have been raised over the years, and an impressive 24 scholarships go out every year. He writes frequently about the global Indian diaspora, in particular about Indians in America. His in-depth and insightful articles have been a regular feature in Indian newspapers across the USA, and in magazines in India. He is invited on a regular basis to conferences in universities and other events on various aspects of global Indian diaspora. He has been interviewed for a series of TV episodes on the history of Indians in the US. As a goodwill gesture for the community, he has distributed the electronic and print version of his booklet, Indians in America, their struggles, successes and contributions to India and America, in thousands, free of cost. Little wonder then that encomiums, accolades, awards and recognitions have come his way generously over the years for the many hats he’s worn. He’s inspired others to dream more, learn more and become more. Quincy Adam’s words sit well on Inder Singh, a community leader par ex❐ cellence, and organizational man to the core.

EVERGREEN COMMUNITY CHAMPION Inder Singh remains quite likely the only Indian American who has chaired reception committees to officially host serving presidents—one for President Giani Zail Singh of India in 1984, and another two for President George Bush Sr. in 1989 and 1991. He also facilitated another reception held for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by the Mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, in 1982. Those apart, he’s been at the forefront organizing numerous events involving high ranking officials, including California governors, US Congressmen and senators, Indian ambassadors and consul generals, ministers, and locally elected functionaries. He served the GOPIO International as chairman between 2009 and 2016, and president and CEO between 2004 and 2009. GOPIO is an international body that serves the interests of the global Indian diaspora. When Inder Singh took over as president in 2004, the GOPIO had only four chapters, not a high figure considering that it was in existence since 1989 and had been served by different presidents before. By the time he ended his term in 2009, the GOPIO had more than 50 chapters across global cities, more than 12 times what Inder Singh had inherited in 2004. More significantly, his stewardship created scores of more leaders who could take forward diaspora concerns whenever the opportunity presented itself. ORGANISER PAR EXCELLENCE Leadership and community organization came naturally to Inder Singh who had immigrated to the USA along with his wife in 1968. In 1981, he founded the Federation of Indian American Associations of Southern California to celebrate Indian Independence Day and Indian Republic Day on a large scale. The celebration of these two events has become an annual tradition in the greater Los Angeles area. In 1986, Inder Singh was the convenor of the 4th National Biennial Convention of the NFIA that was attended by 2,000 Indian Americans. Several dignitaries were present, among them US presidential candidate Senator Garry Hart, US Ambassador to India John Dean, Indian Ambassador to the US 14 india empire | january 2017


H.E. Mr Khurelsukh Ukhnaa became Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia in September 2016

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“india is our major partner in the region” H.E. Mr Khurelsukh Ukhnaa became the Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia in September 2016. He was elected to the Parliament of Mongolia in 2000, 2004 and 2012. He has served as Minister for Emergency Situation from 2004 to 2006, and Minister for Professional Inspection between 2006 and 2008. He was the Secretary General of the Mongolian People’s Party between 2008 and 2012. He responds to questions from Editor Sayantan Chakravarty

Your Excellency, you are visiting India at the time when the relation between Mongolia and India is developing very actively, and we would like to ask you to share your opinion on the status of our bilateral relations. One of the priority areas of the foreign policy of Mongolia is to develop and broaden relations and cooperation with Asian and Pacific countries, and for us the Republic of India with whom we share more than thousand years of historic and cultural relations is one of the major partners in the region. The friendly relations with our spiritual neighbor – India have been expanding in the last years, and we genuinely value the importance of high level visits of our leaders results of which are translated into the deepening and intensification of our cooperation. In particular, I would like to point out the significance of the first state visit of His Excellency Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India paid to our country in the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between our two countries which has leveraged our bilateral relations to the status of strategic partnership and re-affirmed the traditionally friendly bond between our two nations. Your Excellency, could you tell us about the areas of cooperation happening between our countries?

What are, in your view, the potentials and demands for expanding our cooperation? Mongolia and India have a longstanding history of bilateral relations, especially our cultural ties can be counted for more than two thousand years when Mongolia adopted Buddhist culture originated from India. Since then, Buddhism has been influential in the morality, culture, arts and religion of our nation, and we have been following peaceful philosophy of Buddhism since then. In the modern history of our bilateral relations, foundation of which was laid in 1955 when our two countries established diplomatic relations, we have developed our cooperation in the socio-economic spheres. The Mongolian-Indian joint declaration of 1973, the Agreement on friendly relations and cooperation of 1994, the Agreement on Comprehensive partnership of 2008, and, the recent Agreement on Strategic partnership have provided strong incentive for our nations to develop friendly relations and cooperation in various sectors. The credit line of USD 1 billion by the Government of India, which was announced during the state visit of H.E. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, will certainly play a vital role in intensifying the economic relations between our countries, and I would like to emphasize with the appreciation that this credit line will be of the significant value in improving the economic situation of our country at january 2017 | india empire 17


H.E. Mr Khurelsukh Ukhnaa served as Secretary General of the Mongolian People’s Party between 2008 and 2012

the present times of economic hardship. We are fully intended to develop mutually beneficial and sustainable trade and economic relations between our countries. As of 2015, the trade volume between our countries had reached USD19,8 million which is considerably lower of the potentials both our countries have in increasing our economic relations. In the last 60 years, we have successfully deepened our cooperation in the fields of politics, defense, culture, education, economic relations and humanitarian assistance, and we have mutually supported each other in the international and regional arena. I am confident that our two nations have great future, and our bilateral relations will expand and enrich with more possibilities. You have rich political experience, and you have served as Minister and Cabinet member several times. What had led you to politics in the first place? In 1994, the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, which is now called the Mongolian People’s Party, had undergone serious reforms in its policies and activities, and young party members had established the Council of party supporters. Starting from that time, the Mongolian People’s Party had adopted the principles of Socialist democracy, and in 1997, we founded the Mongolian Young Social Democratic Union, which has become the independent 18 india empire | january 2017

institution of young party members under the auspices of the Mongolian People’s Party. Soon after, we established branches in all 21 provinces of Mongolia, in counties and districts, thus building up the nationwide organization of young party members. I had a privilege to serve as the first President of this Union, and at the present moment, our Union has more than 70,000 members, and its weight in the social and political life of our country is highly valued. As continuation of my engagements, in 2006 I have founded and serve as Chairman of a non-government organization called “Mongolian Left Force Union”, which is envisioned to contribute to the enforcement of the Constitution of Mongolia and to the socio-economic development of our country. Our Union also has branches in all 21 provinces, and we have 12 thousand members becoming one of the largest voluntary organizations in the country. Now I serve as Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia, a position which I am honored to serve for the second time since my first term in 2014-2015. Previously I had served as Minister for Emergencies and Minister for Professional Inspection, and I had been elected to the Parliament of Mongolia three times. In all my political duties and appointments, I have always strived to serve my country and to make my contribution to building a humane and prosperous society for all our people. ❐


Message From President of Afghanistan investment support Agency Afghanistan is experiencing a remarkable growth in key economic sectors due to sustained investments in infrastructure, sound legal framework and an increasingly educated and healthier Afghan population during the last decade. The GDP of the country has grown from 2.2 Billion USD in 2002 to 22.2 Billion USD in 2015. In addition, private sector has contributed to economic development of the country by investing more than 10.4 Billion USD as initial capital (whereas the actual investment could reach to 25-30 Billion USD) and creating millions of jobs in all 5 sectors of the economy; Services, Construction, Manufacturing, Mining and Agriculture. Mohammad Qurban Haqjo

With continuous endeavors of the government and international community, Afghanistan is fast becoming a highly business-friendly environment regionally and globally. According to the DBI report by The World Bank, Afghanistan is ranked 1st in starting a business and 3rd in Getting Credit and Paying Taxes in South Asia. Considering the significant geographical position of the country, connecting South Asia and Central Asia, and being the center of many large scale connectivity and transit projects across Asia, Afghanistan can become a potential hub for investment in the region. In addition, what make Afghanistan a significant market for investment are flexible tax and duty regime; preferential trade and transit agreements with India, China, Europe and America; availability of skillful labor; increasing local demand; bankable investment opportunities; full membership of WTO; and improving infrastructure. Furthermore, in pursuit of establishing a sound investment legal framework, Afghanistan has developed many investment friendly laws including; investment law, commercial arbitration law, law of commerce, law of tax on consumer goods, business trademarks law, contracts law, agencies law mining law, banking law, insurance law and other major laws associated with better conduct of business in the country. Afghanistan more than ever before is ready to host large scale investments in all sectors of its economy. And, to ensure that your investments have significant returns, the government has already taken remarkable initiatives to establish a sound investment climate while transforming the country into the most competitive market in the region and beyond. And, we promise that you will have an unforgettable experience during all phases of your investment in the country. Mohammad Qurban Haqjo

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Why invest in Afghanistan? Location Strategic Geographical Position Connecting Central Asia to South Asia, and Leading to Europe Trade & Economy ● Free market economy led by private sector initiatives ● Unprecedented economic growth (GDP growth from USD 2.2 billion in 2002 to USD 21.8 billion in 2014) ● Utilization of Preferential Trade Agreements and Systems (with India, China, Europe, USA, and etc.) ● Availability of skilled labor ● Increased market demand Tax & Duties ● Flexible tax and duty regime ● 20% corporate tax ● 0% Duty on import of machineries ● 1% Duty on import of raw materials ● Carry forward of losses (An accounting technique that applies the current year’s net operating losses to future years’ profits in order to reduce tax liability). Government Commitment Strong Government Commitment for Investment Climate Reforms. Infrastructure ● Airfields 08 ● Trade Ports 09 ● Roads 12371 km

● ●

Railways 3429 km Industrial Parks 10 constructed and 17 planned

Dispute Resolution ● Dispute Resolution Center ● Business Integrity Initiative (BIN) Liberal Investment Law ● Investment Law ● Commercial Arbitration Law ● Law of Commerce ● Law of Tax on Consumer Goods ● Business Trademarks Law ● Contracts Law ● Agencies Law ● Mining Law ● Banking Law ● Insurance Law Ownership & Profit ● 100% foreign ownership ● Foreigners can lease real estate, for periods up to 90 years for arable land or longer for non-arable land Agreements & Memberships ● Bi-Lateral and Multi-Lateral Trade Agreements (APTTA, ECOTA, SAFTA) ● Membership of International Road Transport TIR ● Soon to get WTO membership —Source:

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“in March 2017, we are organizing a global convention in Trinidad and Tobago” Please tell us about the India Diaspora Council. The Indian Diaspora Council (IDC) is a global non-profit organization established in 1997 with the objective to embrace, engage and enhance the shared heritage, aspirations and interests of persons of Indian origin with optimum inclusivity. It shall be secular and non-political with a centrally located secretariat and global country-wise network of country coordinators and affiliates, and collaborating with governments, institutions, organizations and agencies to achieve its objectives. What are the engagements that you have planned over the next two years? We are organizing a Global Convention in Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) between 18th and 20th March, 2017. It will include conferences, panel sessions, workshops, resolutions, action items team, cultural presentations and receptions. Several heads of state in neighbouring Caribbean countries are invited for special discussions. Also, March 20, 2017 marks the centennial of the official abolition of Indian Indentureship, an era spanning the years 1834-1917. The history and consequences of Indian Indentureship are deeply embedded with tremendous significance, importance, meaningful history and reflections to millions of descendants living in many countries which were the recipients of Indian Indentured labourers seeking better livelihoods. These countries included: Mauritius, Fiji, Malaysia, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname, Jamaica and others, as well as former French colonies of Reunion Island, Seychelles, Guadeloupe and Martinique. The Indian Diaspora Council, in collaboration with many prominent and well established organizations and institutions in various countries, is coordinating a series of high-profile global events to mark the centennial of abolition of Indian Indentureship befitting this historic occasion. We are releasing a publication on March 17, 2017 titled “Centennial of Abolition of Indian Indenturedship: End of an Era of Indian Migration, New Frontiers and Achievements”. Through 2017 and 2018 we will have Regional Summits, Forums and Conferences on a series of topics: economic empowerment; youth and next gen; gender equality; children and infants; health and wellness; peaceful co-existence in multi-ethnic societies; preservation of “Indian-ness” in 21st century; philanthropy; governance and rights; role of science and technology in the Diaspora. Insofar as the event in Trinidad and Tobago is concerned, who are you major partners, and what kind of 22 india empire | january 2017

(L-R) US Congresswoman Grace Meng releasing a copy of a book on Global Indian Diaspora by India Empire Publications in the presence of Mr D. Mulay, then Consul General of India, New York (now Secretary, OIA and CPV, MEA), Mr Ramsaran and Mr Mridul Pathak, Co-Chairman, IAGCC, New York and Member, Global Advisory Board, India Empire Magazine—File Picture

participation do you expect? For the Global Convention we have coordinators in 16 countries, plus affiliates, organizations and institutions; media; business enterprises; academic institutions; and others are being added. Delegates are expected from all major countries where NRIs and PIOs reside, including India. What will be the thrust of the Trinidad and Tobago conference? Global Convention Theme The Global Convention is about celebration of 100th Anniversary of Abolition of Indian Indentureship - Shared heritage, aspirations and interests. The theme is “Global Indian Diaspora Convention – Charting New Frontiers.” Topics of discussion include: Historical perspectives, identity, challenges and achievements; Youth, Next Gen and leadership roles in societies; Contemporary Issues/Challenges Facing Diaspora Indians and Technology and Entrepreneurship as Pathways for Advancement; The Global Indian Diasporic Community in the 21stcentury and Roadmaps for Tomorrow; resolutions and charting a roadmap for tomorrow. What is the current level of engagement that you have with the Overseas Affairs Department of the Ministry of External Affairs in India? The engagement is mainly in the form of collaboration, ❐ advice, outreach and support.

inside PARLiAMenT India Empire’s Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty speaks with younger Members of Parliament across party lines Photos: Sipra Das



“We’ll restore the past glory of Telangana” K Kavitha is the first woman Parliamentarian from Telangana, India’s newest state. She represents the Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency. Her father Mr K Chandrashekar Rao is the Chief Minister of Telangana. She speaks with India Empire’s Editor Sayantan Chakravarty

As a young MP from Telangana what is your vision for the state which is the most recent one in India? Indeed, it is India’s youngest state. The state was created to provide more jobs for the youth of Telangana. Our Government is ensuring that the revenues generated in Telangana are distributed within the state, earlier it was mostly taken away by Andhra Pradesh, and this region was thoroughly neglected. In fact, the revenue part was one of the main reasons why we fought for Telangana. Another major reason, of course, concerned the sharing of irrigated water meant for farmers. We have Krishna and Godavari, two large rivers flowing through the state, but the water was mainly used by A.P. As a result of long term neglect of this issue, farmers fell into deep debt, many took their own lives. We are there to reverse those unfortunate situations of the past, and restore the past glory of this region we call Telangana.

You also have Mission Bhagiratha… Yes, this is the other major project for the state. Our slogan during the state elections was “water, jobs, finances.” We want piped water for the entire state. Earlier, only Hyderabad had piped water. My father is a committed man and is known to keep his word. He has promised the electorate that if his Government is not able to give piped water to every household in Telangana at the end of his five year term, as a party, the TRS will not run for re-elections. Through Mission Bhagiratha we are providing safe and clean water. My father also said that he does not want women to walk a mile to fetch water. This way they can save one or two hours, and that time can be dedicated to the family.

Telangana is a state of many lakes. Do you have plans of reviving them, as the majority has dried up? Yes, very much so. My father, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Telangana, Mr K Chandrashekar Rao, had this vision for a long time about Telangana. We are focused on Mission Kakatiya, our flagship project named after the kings who ruled this region a thousand years ago and also developed a large number of irrigation tanks. We have hundreds of lakes and ponds, and this is a unique feature of our geography. The Government has identified 45,000 plus tanks and lakes and has plans to restore all of them. We plan to spend Rs 40,000 crore annually on this project. Once all the tanks are restored, as much as 250-270 TMC of water will be available for agriculture, irrigation, drinking purposes and livestock. By rejuvenating these water bodies, we will rejuvenate the economy of the state. Even the Mayor of California evinced

You must have witnessed the Telangana agitation from its inception when your father Mr K Chandrasekhar Rao launched the TRS party in April 2001? In 1969, three hundred and sixty nine students were gunned down when they agitated for a separate state of Telangana. Since then no one dared raise a voice. When my father started talking about it around the year 2000, it was a tricky subject. We had to bring in the issue of separating from A.P. without sounding anti-national at any point. My father managed to win over the intellectuals, lawyers, students, professionals with the way he explained why Telangana was need. He has great oratory skills. He connected with them in the Telangana dialect, and showed them a future that would make their lives better, and prosperous. It was tough, but he’s seen the state through. Now we’ll take ❐ things to the next level.

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interest in this mega project, and how the de-silting of aquifers will benefit the region.

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Ms K Kavitha january 2017 | india empire 25



“1600 unauthorized colonies have not been regularized, they need immediate attention” Parvesh Sahib Singh is Member of Parliament from the West Delhi constituency. His father, Late Shri Sahib Singh Verma was a chief minister of Delhi, as well as an MP. Parvesh Sahib Singh is finding it extremely hard to get any work done in his constituency due to non-cooperation from different civic departments of the Delhi Government. He speaks to Editor Sayantan Chakravarty

What are the key areas of focus in West Delhi from where you are MP? In my constituency basic amenities are missing. We have many unauthorized colonies and villages. There is no water supply to unauthorized colonies, sewage lines are not laid, roads are not built. There is no move by the Delhi Government that is run by the Aam Aadmi Party to regularize these colonies, and, therefore, people living in the 1,600 unauthorized colonies continue to suffer. An estimated Rs 150 crore has been sanctioned by the Delhi Government for work on civic amenities, but nothing has been done since 2014 when BJP swept all the Parliamentary seats in Delhi. One of the secretary-level officers who worked with my father---Late Shri Sahib Singh Verma--when he was chief minister of Delhi told me that there are strict instructions to all officers in Delhi Government not to entertain any instructions from the BJP Member of Parliaments. Now the departments that need to do the work are PWD, Flood, Irrigation, Delhi Jal Board. Even the area DM and SDM have to get involved to work for the betterment of people. But they are under the charge of the Delhi Government. But if they do the work, their own MLAs can take credit. So why are they not doing it? You will be surprised to know that in my Lok Sabha constituency of West Delhi there are 10 assembly seats, and all of them have AAP MLAs. These MLAs meet me regularly, at odd hours. They ask me to somehow get the work done, as the common people of West Delhi are suffering. They are unable to get the work done from their own departments. The situation is bizarre. 26 india empire | january 2017

Why are the plans for authorized colonies not being passed by the Delhi Government? This is a mystery. After all when AAP was campaigning against Sheila Dikshit, one of the points that he made was that if elected, the first thing he would do is alleviate the suffering of those living in unauthorized colonies by regularizing them. Not only has AAP not done it, it has failed in its promise of free water. If there are no pipelines in these colonies, where is the free water going to come from. Next, private water tankers are charging very high prices to deliver water to these colonies. Government tankers with Delhi Jal Board have been done away with. The drivers sit at home, or work part-time elsewhere. They take their salaries on time. You have often spoken about a West Delhi campus for the Delhi University… That is right. We have identified 20 acres of land in Roshanpura village. I speak to the Vice Chancellor on a regular basis, a project estimate for four colleges is being made. This will be a great boon for students who have to travel great distances to reach the north campus. Even the Union HRD Minister is very positive about this project. How do you use your MPLADS funds? We get Rs 5 crore per year. If I build one road, the entire money will go. Roads can be built by departments, if they want. I have spent Rs 6-7 crore on building open gymnasiums for the public. About 80 have been made, another 90 are in the pipeline. These gyms will help people keep fit, and give them a sense of well-being. Besides, I have spent around Rs 70 lakh on a community centre in Matiala. ❐

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Mr Parvesh Sahib Singh

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“The state of law and order in UP is deplorable” Ms Anju Bala is Member of Parliament from Misrikh, one of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Five assembly segments are covered by Misrikh Parliamentary constitutency. She spoke to Editor Sayantan Chakravarty

What is your assessment about your party in the UP elections that will be held next year? I have no doubt that the lotus will bloom in Uttar Pradesh, the largest single state in any country in the world. People are fed up with corruption, nepotism, and highhandedness. The rule of law has been completely abandoned. You were injured in a rally recently. What exactly happened? In August, we were trying to move towards the Vidhan Sabha in Lucknow when the police force was unleashed upon us. We were protesting the rapidly deteriorating law and order in the state when the uniformed men swooped down on us. I was struck on the head, I still don’t know with what, and I remained unconscious for well over an hour. My family broke into a sweat. Even after I regained consciousness, I wasn’t fully stable, there were lots of scans and tests that were done. Had I been struck somewhere else, it may have been worse. Some of my co-workers had close to 20 stitches. This is how people who want to demonstrate peacefully are dealt with. But there is a history of unleashing violence associated with the current rulers in the UP Government, we are very much aware of it. Gutter was used for cannoning us. You cannot stoop lower than that. We found it difficult to breathe when tear-gassed. My family is in Jammu. They were very worried, in fact some people started spreading rumours that I had passed away. When my mother heard my voice eventually, she was crying because she thought it was my younger sister speaking. It was only when my sister put the speaker phone on and said “speak to 28 india empire | january 2017

didi” that she was convinced that I had survived. All five of us sisters have grown up in a protected environment in Jammu, so me getting lathi-charged and being injured badly was a difficult thing for my parents to accept. You started your political career during your student days in Jammu… Yes. We had gheraoed the assembly. Right from my early days as a student I was always willing to stick my neck out if women were being harassed or intimidated and bullied. There were uncharitable things written about you on websites. How did you come to terms with that? On the Wikipedia, some objectionable editing was done by some miscreants claiming I had two husbands. The fact is that when I was married, my husband’s name was Satish Verma, he was an MLA. He later changed his name to Krishan Kumar. It is the same person who has changed his name, but some miscreants made it out differently. I raised the issue in Parliament. I said that if a woman MP is not safe, what about other women of this country. What do you think of demonetization? Yes, there is a little suffering initially. But everything will be alright in the next two to three months. Prime Minister has asked us to go to the people and tell them about how our country will benefit. Common people are happy, and they have asked me to convey the same to PM. We all know that the ones that are pained the most are the ones whose black money is now gone. ❐

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Ms Anju Bala

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“We’ve had a setback in Assam, but it not something we cannot overcome” Ms Sushmita Dev is a Member of Parliament from Silchar Lok Sabha constituency in Assam. She comes from an eminent political family in Assam—her father, Mr Santosh Mohan Dev, was Union Minister in the Congress Government as well as a 7-time MP from the same constituency. Her mother, Ms Bithika Dev, represented Silchar in the State Legislative Assembly between 2006 and 2011. Her grandfather, Mr Satindra Mohan Dev was a freedom fighter, and served as a Minister in the Assam State Government. She speaks to Editor Sayantan Chakravarty The Congress has lost political ground in what used to be its last bastion, the North East. What would you attribute this loss to? People wanted change. They wanted a paradigm shift. In an aspiring society, we need more than what we have. The Congress has ruled the state for long. It had become a predictable force. I suppose once predictability sets in, voters look for change. Now they will probably realize what the Congress did manage to do over all these years, or did not manage to do. They will get a chance to compare with what used to be, and what is the ground reality now. After all, everything is relative. Having said that, yes, it definitely is a setback for the Congress to lose power, especially after having dominated politics in Assam for so long. But it is not a setback that we cannot overcome, we will definitely overcome it. Your family has been in political limelight for over five decades, with a small break in between… Yes. We have been one of the prominent political families in Assam. My father, Mr Santosh Mohan Dev, was a national leader, a seven-term MP and a Union cabinet minister. He had the rare distinction of being elected from two different states, Assam and Tripura. My grandfather was a freedom fighter. Politically your family has nurtured the Silchar constituency very well, remaining very close to the electorate and with ears to the ground at all times… Yes. You cannot compare my constituency with those in urban areas like Delhi, Mumbai or Ahmedabad, for instance. In metropolitan constituencies voters do not expect that their MPs should know them. But the culture in smaller 30 india empire | january 2017

towns is different. What makes a difference is how you are connected to people. Everybody knows one another in Silchar. If you were to miss a wedding, everyone would want to know why you missed it. You are, therefore, not just an MP, but very much part of the social system. So we try to remain socially connected to people. That has been the strength of our family. You come from a sports-loving family… My father was a tennis player, soccer goalkeeper, golfer, cricketer. In fact he was a very good wicketkeeper. I myself did competitive swimming, went on to represent my school at the national games. Then I picked up golf. The floodlit multi-purpose stadium in Silchar is named after my grandfather, Mr Satindra Mohan Dev. It is used for football and cricket and has hosted Ranji Tropy and Duleep Trophy matches and a women’s one day international cricket match. My father did a lot to modernize the stadium when he was Union Steel Minister. Are you using your MPLADS funds towards improving sports infrastructure? You know in cities like Delhi, Mumbai or Ahmedabad we take stadium and good sports facilities for granted. Coming from a small town, I know how much sports infrastructure means in a place like Silchar. I’ve recently given them Rs 35 lakh to put world class grass. I want the youth to have the same experience that international sportspersons have while playing soccer and cricket. I have plans to give them a digital scoreboard. Also, you know aspirations of youth are the same everywhere. I am now releasing funds for all schools in my constituency to have their own web❐ sites. I pick 10-15 at a time.

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Ms Sushmita Dev

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reverberations of the past: towards a secure future for the Diaspora By Malay Mishra

Dear Reader, I extend to you all my cordial greetings on the occasion of this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) in Bengaluru, now a biennial event. During my 3-year long tenure with the then Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), I had the privilege to be directly associated with three successive PBDs, planning, promoting and executing them. It is over 8 years since I left MOIA while serving as the Head of the Diaspora Services Division, responsible for policy planning in respect of India’s approach towards the Diaspora, and implementing the essentials of the Diaspora policy despite its pitfalls and inadequacies. Those were teething problems and we were taking baby steps in a mammoth task which UPA-I was soon to realise but left the gauntlet to be picked up by the successive Government, until much later it was to be ably steered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I had then faced the challenge of being the only MEA officer assigned to MOIA at a senior level, but soon converted that to an opportunity, serving as the policy link between the two Ministries at a period when the ownership issue for the Diaspora was bedevilling both Ministries, with MEA weighing down the infant Ministry. My experience in having worked in some major Diaspora-specific countries helped. I could develop perspectives for the Diaspora at the Centre while keeping my ears to the ground regarding developments concerning the Indian overseas communities. In fact, it was a proud moment for me to go up the dais to present the first Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card to the then PM, Dr. Manmohan Singh who in turn gifted it to the first OCI of India, an Indian-American from Chicago. The unseemly feat played out during the 2006 PBD at Hyderabad under the untiring efforts of the then Secretary to which all officers of the MOIA and a few from MEA and MHA ably contributed. Yet another unforgettable moment for me was to see the only woman Prime Minister of the Indian Diapora world, Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessur, ride the stage to address the Jaipur PBD in 2010, even after I had taken a bow from the Ministry. Mrs. Bissessur is no longer in power but she would still recollect the wonderful moments she had spent during that trip in Jaipur, Kolkata (where she visited the Pravasi Memorial) and above all, in her native village in eastern Bihar, where it was hard for her to control her emotions! A lot of water has flown down the Ganga since then. 32 india empire | january 2017

MOIA has lost its Ministerial identity, acquired amidst much hue and cry in my parent Ministry, and gone back to MEA from where it had started as the NRI Division, moving out from the rickety corridors of Law Bhavan opposite the Supreme Court to the refurbished Akbar Bhavan. Much has happened on the policy front as well, thanks to the vision of PM Modi to harness the strengths of the Diaspora with the support of the very able External Affairs Minister and her team in the Ministry. The PM’s forays into the Diasporic world have reaped unprecedented goodwill and brought a lot of visibility for the fledgling MOIA, increasing participation at every successive PBD as well as Diaspora-related events held in several states such as Gujarat, Kerala, AP, Bihar, Rajasthan, UP, Haryana, Maharashtra and a few others. Even my own state, the least visible of the lot, has boasted of a recent, well-organised event, ‘Make in Odisha’, which officially saw several thousand footfalls and millions worth of Statements of Intent signed, bringing in a substantial presence of the Odia Diaspora. In this context, the efforts of the Delhi-based Odisha Forum in organising the first ever Odia Diaspora meet around the same time as the Bangaluru PBD are laudable. That would go to supplement the work done by the Pravasi Odia cell at the Odisha Nivas. Along with the long-awaited Pravasi Bhavan in Chanakyapuri - and I recall how arduous it had been to find a suitable plot of land for the building in the coveted quarters of Delhi - this would give further fillip to the Government’s efforts in reaching out to the Diaspora. Besides local bodies such as the Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad (ARSP), who have also been active in this field, could be further tapped. Major overseas Diaspora associations should also be periodically consulted and their views taken on board. This will go towards establishing a good rapport between the Government and the Diaspora. All this bodes well for India’s relation with her Diaspora. The merging of the OCI and PIO cards has been a good augury and has been well received by the overseas Indian community though its ramifications are still to be properly fleshed out through active advocacy. The role of the Indian Missions in executing the ongoing policies towards the Diaspora, which are sure to evolve over the coming days, are supremely important, as they are at the implementation end. With MOIA having merged into MEA as a Division, there should be no ambiguity any longer in policy planning and


Much has happened on the policy front as well, thanks to the vision of PM Modi to harness the strengths of the Diaspora with the support of the very able external Affairs Minister and her team in the Ministry


Ambassador Malay Mishra

execution. Constraints such as staff shortage are to be borne with, if the greater task of reaping advantages from India’s linkages with her Diaspora is to be evinced. The EAM’s particular use of the social media in keeping in close touch and providing succour to the needy, distressed, accident-victims and the like, has given comfort to the Diaspora when it needs most. While all extant activities under the overall direction of the PM would be carried out to fruition, it is imperative to have a regular review of the tasks carried out by the Government and the major achievements highlighted in an annual compendium both for archival as well as implementation purposes. This could be circulated among overseas Indian communities through our Missions, besides books and journals on India, to enable them build networks and ‘knowledge pools’ among the Diaspora world. Needless to say, the Diaspora does and shall play a vital role in India’s national development. The overseas remittances filtering into India’s economy, highest for several

years now, and the innumerable projects, big and small, where the Diaspora have given a helping hand, speak volumes of their collaboration with the mother country. Truth be told, if India becomes strong and a coveted nation in the world, the Diaspora will feel increasingly proud of her and be motivated to work in the very many cities and villages which beckon the developmental impetus, be it knowledge, innovation, technology or finance. It is left to the current decision-makers and stakeholders to work out the strategic advantages of such cooperation and actively work towards it. Wishing you a successful stay in India and a great year ahead! ❐ —The author retired as India’s Ambassador to Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in July 2015 and attained the rank of a Secretary. In 2003, he became the first Joint Secretary (NRI) in MEA, and later the first Joint Secretary (Diaspora Services) in the erstwhile MOIA. He can be contacted on january 2017 | india empire 33


LoNG AND shorT-TerM

Nri iNVesTMeNT On May 21, 2015, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for amending the definition of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy and to clarify that investments made by NRIs on non-repatriable basis shall be treated at par with domestic investments CLASSIFICATION AS NRI immovable property in India and thereBackground: From the perspective of after, applying for divorce. exchange control regulations governing FDI, the term NRI refers to a non-resiInvestment Options dent individual who is a citizen of India India has the largest population of or is a person of Indian origin (PIO). The people living abroad in the world. As per term PIO covers individuals who held an the UN report, 16 million people from Indian passport in the past or who are India were living outside India in 2015. children or grandchildren of an individual If you include the person of Indian oriwho was a citizen of India (after the Congin (PIO) this number would rise to 30 stitution of India came into force) or who Million. Investment options are: is a spouse of an Indian citizen or a PIO. In January 2015, the Citizenship Act, A Non-Resident Ordinary 1955 was amended replacing the concept (NRO) Account of registration as a PIO cardholder with It is advisable to convert your savings Mr K K Anand the concept of registration as an Overseas account to NRO account before going Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder. The category of indi- overseas. You can visit your bank with Visa and passport viduals entitled to apply for registration as a OCI cardholder and they will convert your existing Savings account to NRO are more or less similar compared to those who were enti- account. tled to apply for registration as a PIO cardholder, except to It can be used to deposit Indian earnings like rent, inthe extent that there are some additional conditions in case terest, dividends, etc. You can also deposit overseas earnof spouses. ings in NRO account. The account can be opened in the Proposed change: In line with the amendment to the form of Savings, Current or fixed deposit. Remittance from Citizenship Act, 1955, the definition of NRIs (from the per- NRE account or remittance received through proper bankspective of exchange control regulations governing FDI) is ing channel can be deposited in NRO account. Up to USD proposed to be modified to cover non-residents who are ei- 1 Million can be repatriated from NRO account per year. ther Indian citizens or OCI cardholders. Individuals who Interest on NRO account is taxable. There is a TDS of 30% have registered as a PIO cardholders under the erstwhile Is- from the interest paid. suance of PIO Card Scheme, 2002 are also deemed to be However, an individual residing outside India and qualOCI cardholders. ifying as a resident of another country can avail the benefit The proposed change would bring in consistency be- of a lower tax deduction on interest on NRO account under tween exchange control regulations and the Citizenship Act, a double tax avoidance agreement. Any individual intendthereby bridging disconnect currently existing between the ing to avail this option can intimate the bank and submit a two laws. The change in definition is expected to apply to a copy of tax residency certificate from the country where he broad range of transaction by NRIs, particularly, investment qualifies as a resident. in Indian companies, partnerships and proprietary concerns, It should primarily be used for depositing/managing lending to Indian companies in INR and acquisition of im- your earnings in India. movable property in India. Also, the amendment may curb the current practice of foreign citizens marrying Indian cit- B Non-Resident – External (NRE) Account izens and becoming PIOs, merely for being able to acquire This account is used to deposit money received from 34 india empire | january 2017

overseas. The account can be opened in the form of Savings, Current or fixed deposit. Interest on NRE deposit is tax free in India. You can fully and freely repatriate your money from NRE Account. Foreign Currency Non-Resident (FCNR) Account This account can be opened as term deposits only and is for the period of 1-5 years. You can have this account in any freely convertible currency like Dollar, Pound etc. The interest rates are decided by RBI and are linked to LIBOR rates. Interest income earned from deposits maintained in FCNR account is exempt from tax up to such period the NRI continues to be a non-resident or a resident but not ordinarily resident (RNOR) in India for income-tax purposes.

idends are tax free in your hands. But in the case of debt funds, the fund house deducts dividend distribution tax before releasing dividends. If your tax liability is less than these rates, an NRI can file the income tax return and claim the refund.



Direct Equity – Shares NRIs can invest in Indian shares through Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Each transaction through the PIS account is reported to the RBI. Long term capital gains made on the sale of shares after 1 year from the date of purchase are tax-free Short term capital gains, profits on sale within one year of date of purchase, are subject to a TDS of 15%.

D Mutual Funds H Real Estate You can invest in mutual funds without any restrictions Investing in real estate is easy for NRIs under the ambit (except for US & Canada based of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). An NRI or a Person of InNRIs*). As a first step, you should upin January 2015, dian Origin (PIO) can invest in both date your KYC as an NRI investor. If you are already an investor, you have to residential and commercial properties the citizenship Act, change your KYC with NRI status. If in India. But they are not allowed to in1955 was amended you are new to mutual funds, you can vest in agricultural land, plantation replacing the concept submit the following documents at the property and farm house. They can office of any fund house or registrars own such properties only if it is gifted of registration as a to them or inherited. like CAMS or Karvy for KYC. They Pio cardholder will verify your documents and do the with the concept of I Public Provident Fund (PPF) in person Verification (IPV). You can PPF is a 15 year scheme of the govdo this during your visit to India or beregistration as an ernment with an option to extend it fore leaving India. As an NRI, you can overseas citizen of after 15 years in blocks of 5 years. It alinvest in mutual funds on non-repatriindia (oci) lows tax benefits under Section 80C able basis or on repatriable basis. If it is and the maturity amount is also tax non-repatriable basis, you can invest cardholder free. This is a good option for debt infrom NRO account. Otherwise you vesting and can be used as a retirement have to use NRE account. AMCs like PPFAS, UTI and a few others now allow US tool to ensure tax free withdrawal. NRIs can’t open a PPF account. But those who opened and Canada based NRIs to invest in mutual funds. Tax treatment on mutual fund redemption amount and dividends for a PPF account before they actually got NRI status can conNRIs. The taxation of mutual fund for NRIs is similar to tinue the account until it matures. But they cannot extend it resident Indians. But there are TDS for NRIs. after 15 years. On maturity, either, they can close the account or can keep it there and enjoy tax free interest till they E Equity Funds close the account. It is recommended that you open a PPF If you sell equity funds after holding it for 1 year, the account before becoming an NRI. gains are treated as long-term capital gain and it is tax-free. But, if you sell it within 1 year, the gains are treated as short J National Pension System (NPS) term and it is taxed at 15%. For NRIs, there is TDS of 15% NPS is an easily accessible, low cost, tax-efficient and flexible retirement savings account. Under the NPS, the individin this case. ual contributes to his retirement account. NPS is designed on F Non-Equity Funds defined contribution basis wherein the subscriber contributes If you sell non-equity funds within 3 years of holding, to his own account. The benefit subscribers ultimately receive the gains will be treated as short-term capital gains and will depends on the amount of contributions, the returns made ❐ be taxed as per your tax slab. But, if you are selling such on the contributions and the period of contributions. funds after 3 years, the gains are long term and it will be —The author is Founding and Managing Partner of taxed at 20% after indexation. Anand Law Practice. He can be reached at In this case, for NRIs, the TDS is at 30% for short term, capital gain while it is 20% for long-term capital gain. Divjanuary 2017 | india empire 35





Dr Surinder Pal Singh Oberoi is the Chairman of the Apex group of Companies with offices in Burj Khalif and in Dubai. He is also Managing Trustee of Sarbat Da Bhala Charitable Trust in Patiala. The Apex Group was established in 1993 under the patronage of Dr Oberoi. One of the group entities—Apex Emirates General Trading Co LLC—provides full support to various professional engineering services. It has an ever-growing specialized product range of all kind of pumps, engines, piling and anchoring equipment, and accessories. The firm has been successful in offering the latest technology-based equipment and accessories for piling, anchoring and dewatering fields. Its mission is to make positive and active contribution for best and accessible service to its SDBCT aCTiviTieS new and existing customers. The group aims to introduce more state-of-the-art material, Dr sPs oberoi has opened machiners and equipments to cater to cusmore than 80 free computer tomer requirements. centers, 105 free stitching Dr Singh has been conferred with the world’s first Honorary Causa Grand Ph.D in centers, 82 Dialysis Units, ro Philanthropy by the International University units with water cooler in of Fundamental Studies (IUFS) in recognition schools, colleges, jails and of his contribution to dedicated socio-ecopublic places, more than 200 nomic transformation. He is the first Indian to be appointed as Consul General of Seborga, eye camps for free check ups an European nation, in India. He has been hoand cataracts removal surgery noured with over 700 awards by many social and lens implementation and education organizations of national as well as international repute. He has been appointed member of Ararat International Academy of Sciences in recognition of his servies for advancement of Science and Culture. Through his Trust, he remains a leader in philanthrophy. He came forward to help a group that had been sentenced to death in Sharjah. The group members had been involved in fighting. He was moved by the pleas of the mothers of these wards and from his own personal savings he paid USD 2.2 million to save the lives of these sentenced group members. Even though it was at the cost of his business, he says that he could do so because of the Grace of WaheGuru. He then granted them a regular financial assistance to the tune of Rs 10,000 per month (per family) and adopted the children for free education. He subsequently set up Modi Khanas in Dubai and Sharjah where people, irrespective of nationality, can get free ration for 15 days. His Trust has worked all over India and overseas, and sponsored brilliant children for higher education, offered pension to old women, widows and monthly support to NGOs and ❐ infrastructural support to educational institutions and jails. Dr S P Singh Oberoi —Yogesh Sood 36 india empire | january 2017









1. Honoured by Hon’ble Justice Mr A K Sikri, Supreme Court Chief Justice Hon’ble Shivax Jal Vazifdar 2. Grand Prix Humanitarian Gold Medal Award in France 3. MOU for sponsoring 100 underpriviliged students 4. Prof. S P Singh Oberoi awarded with Shan-E-Hind Award Honoured by Hon’ble CM of Himachal Pradesh 5. Member of Senate of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Faridkot 6. Sikh of the year award 2013 7. State award by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab in Amritsar on August 15, 2011 8. Dr S P Singh Oberoi honoured as a Member Correspondent Hon. of Ararat International Academy of Science january 2017 | india empire 37


SMC Investments & Advisors: Committed to Enriching Lives & Enhancing Wealth By Yogesh sood


he ‘India Shining’ story is a fascinating tale where the people of the country finally begin to rise up & move forward to realize its true worth and delivering on the umpteen promises held. The tale can be best summarized with one glance at the election campaigns through the course of its history. We have come a long way from the ‘Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan’ tag line adopted by the imperial Indira Gandhi to ‘Digital India’ & ‘Achhe Din’ shout out by the dynamic Narendra Modi. We no more appeal for survival but inspire and invigorate to barge forward. The Wealth Management Industry is a prime example of the success of a free market economy a la when the Indian market opened its doors to FDI in 1991. The much talked and discussed economic liberalization heralded a generation of Industrialists with new money. The economic outburst resulted in a large pool of wealthy people with a scarce idea of how to manage the minted money and where to reinvest it. Today in 2016, with a GDP moving at 7.5 percent, well ahead of its peers India Inc is witness to a steady outflux of High NetWorth Individuals (HNIs) and an innumerable companies running on the profit-making treadmill. Amidst this burgeoning spirit of breaking away from the shackles, D K Aggarwal saw an opportunity to tap into the chaotic situation, a wild golden goose would cause! As they say, every Pen industry needs a thriving Paper industry to prosper, the mismanagement of the assets by the newly rich lead to the creation of many Wealth management upstarts, and also to the dawn of SMC Investment & Advisors.

most professionals will be hard pressed to actually define the term with any degree of precision, SMC Investments & Advisors is one of the few who dared to venture into this unknown territory and succeed in mastering it. D. K. Aggarwal, Chairman & Managing Director (CMD), SMC Investments established the wealth management company in 2007-2008 with a firm vision to help its clients realize their dreams. He says, “We believe that if you have a dream, you must give it a chance to happen. We set our vision to help you follow your dreams, treasure your trust and nurture your investments for a better tomorrow.” A company founded on the premise of realizing somebody else’s ambition, had a humble beginnings of its own. SMC Investments & Advisors was established at the peak of recession in 2008, but the larger SMC Group was started in a modest 400 sq ft office space with a miniscule staff of five people. The village from where D K Aggarwal hails has a population (~3000) equivalent to the people employed by SMC Investments today, illustrating the kind of stupendous rise the company has seen over the years. Along this treacherous path the firm had to confront the insecurity of potential clients regarding a 3rd party service provider handling their wealth and the traditional fallacy of Indians inclination towards investing in Real Estate and Gold, which are frankly speaking an unproductive way of asset allocation. However, the global financial crisis prevailing at the time of its inception turned out to be blessing in disguise as SMC Investments foresaw an opportunity to welcome numerous talented staff on board, laid off by their peers due to the market condition at hand, an aspect of the firm which would prove crucial moving further into the domain.

“sMc adopts an open architecture approach where the client has the full freedom to avail any product/service from its competitors and an end to end financial and investment plan”

Humble Beginnings Wealth management is a term loosely thrown around the boardrooms of private client firms, in trade and mainstream articles and client pitches by financial advisors. Still 38 india empire | january 2017

Providing Solutions Rather than Selling Products The New Delhi based firm strives to offer invest-

Mr D. K. Aggarwal CMD, SMC Investments

Mr D. K. Aggarwal was awarded “DISTINGUISHED ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARD” by PHD Chamber of Commerce for the year 2015-16

ment and wealth management solutions customized to meet the clients’ personal financial aspirations. The firm adopts an open architecture approach where the client has the full freedom to avail any product/service from its competitors and an end to end financial and investment plan. While maintaining a client centric approach, SMC Investments with its traditional values of honesty, diligence and superior ethical behavior is focused on solution-orientedness. SMC works excessively to build an optimal portfolio through research-intensive bottom-up approach, suitably compensated by the macro-economic databased top-down decision-making process. The fir m’s robust investment platfor m equipped with the specialized skills, capabilities and systems helps to develop and provide an extended range of investment solutions. The Investment Advisory approach embraced by the firm headed by D K Aggarwal is summed up by 5 easy steps: 1. Initial interaction with the client to understand their needs & desires 2. Collating data on financial goals and risk/return expectations 3. Client approval and Plan implementation 4. Recommended strategic asset allocation 5. Regularly planned health check-ups & revamping The firm places great attention to detail and concentrated growth at a reasonable price range, encapsulating an optimal combination of value, growth and quality investing to enhance and preserve the client’s wealth and

provide a vantage point for the future. “To achieve something rare and precious we have to give a little more and work a little harder, this is the philosophy with which we treat wealth preservation and enhancement for our precious clients by ensuring customized solution based wealth management” elaborates D K Aggarwal. SMC Investments creates personalized and a comprehensively exclusive investment solution built around a suite of products and services. The Investment, Advisory & Research team ensure that SMC offers a balanced, innovative and relevant options. Their Portfolio Management Services include Equity PMS, Conceptual PMS, The matic PMS, Portfolio Revamping Process, Mutual Fund PMS, Debt MMIS and the most unique of the lot, Quant based PMS where the portfolio is designed based on fundamental and statistical tools to maximize return with minimum risk. Additionally under Wealth Management Services, the firm provides Wealth Builder Processes (Financial planning & Investment planning) and Alternate Investments like Structured products, Private equity and Real estate solutions. A country enveloping an array of subset of distinct variety needs a Wealth Management partner of the highest caliber, and SMC Investments is royalty amongst the ordinary. A commitment to create wealth, provide tailormade plans for every client, empowerment of people, burning desire to perform in the International financial arena and a larger commitment to Excellence in every step they take forward is what makes SMC Investments special. For SMC Investments, ‘Excellence is not just a skill, it is an attitude’. ❐ january 2017 | india empire 39

cOlUMn: yOGI AsHwInI

MInd And bOdy


Yogi ashwini

NeW yeAr By Yogi Ashwini


appy New Year…What is new? The same temperature, the same climate, the same environment and the same thoughts. If you want to know about the new year, look up a Vedic calendar. In 1835, Lord Macaulay had said in the British Parliament, that the only way conquer India was to “break the backbone of the nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage”. He proposed to replace the ancient education system, “for if the Indians think that all that is foreign is good and greater than their own…they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.” Macaulay was right. India has been subjected to countless invasions for centuries together – Persians, Greeks, Turks, Arabs, Afghans, Iranians, Mongols, Mughals…none could break the spirit of India, they all came and blended into our rich and diverse culture. It was with the coming of British rule, and subsequent misrepresentation of our culture and history to the English educated youth that the destruction of culture, of ethics and values began and with it began the downfall of our nation. Our texts were destroyed, their phenomenal knowledge used for development of foreign lands. The sciences of energy were replaced by culture of aping the colonial rulers. It is the children who were raised in such a backdrop, who were told that ours is a backward nation, who took to the ways of the colonial class, who are managing the country today. Macaulay’s plan is working…If you look around, you will notice that people in their 60s and 70s are among the first to wish their children ‘Happy New Year’ on the 1st of January. Vedic philosophers, marked the New Year as the first day of Shukla Paksha of the month of Chaitra. This day also coincides with 21st March of Gregorian calendar of 2015. It is said to be the day when Brahma began the process of creation and hence creative energies are at their peak, an auspicious day to make new beginnings. The day marks the change in season with the end of winters and the onset of spring, the temperatures are on a rise and energies realign themselves for a new state of balance. Traditionally fasts were observed in the following nine days (Chaitra navratras), to realign the body to the new energy patterns and prepare oneself for a new year. I hope you have awakened to the New Year now. Happy New Year. ❐ —For questions to Yogiji write to

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GoLDeN ToUch The rise of Muppa Venkaiah Chowdary, Chairman of Muppa Group By Yogesh Sood


ell known for his honesty, perseverance and committed efforts, Mr. Muppa Venkaiah Chowdary, 64, has a professional and business career of more than 35 years in varied positions in public and private sectors. He developed and promoted several real estate companies in Muppa Group. Muppa Homes was the first company started in the year 1995 along with his brother Mr Bhaskara Rao. They have successfully developed and delivered several real estate projects in and around Hyderabad. He is a member of Governing Council of NAREDCO and Vice President of Telangana Real Estate Developers Association. He hails from the village Vatti Cherukuru of Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh. He comes with a hardcore agricultural background. During his childhood days he had to walk 10 km to attend school, such was his perseverance and dedication to get education and do well in life. He did his graduation from Osmania University and went on to do his M.Com from the same university. He started his career in LIC of India in 1973. He acquired a Fellowship in Insurance and became a Development Officer. He was adjudged as the Best Development Officer for several consecutive years in the entire Hyderabad Division. He developed long and enduring relations with customers during his career with LIC. Backed with the experience gained in a professional and structured organization and his innate skills, he worked assiduously over the last decade to build Muppa Group, which is now poised to grow exponentially. He has developed a flair for identifying potential lands at best prices and eventually created a very good land bank with potential for premium housing business. He is well supported by his two sons, Ashok Vardhan and Vishnuvardhan. Mr Ashok Vardhan is an M.B.A in Finance and a CFA from Harvard University. He plays a pivotal role in coordination and integration of group operations. His proven expertise helps the company in resource pooling, project funding and corporate management. He is heading Muppa Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. Dr. Vishnu Vardhan, is a medical doctor by profession. He has chosen the field of real estate because of pure passion. Known to be a straightforward, honest and transparent person, his contributions to the marketing and sales functions of company are immense. Muppas as a group have been in realty business for more than 15 years. The company “MUPPA PROJECTS INDIA 42 india empire | january 2017

Mr Muppa Venkaiah Chowdary

PVT. LTD� is established in 2012 and today is identified as a fast emerging real estate company of Hyderabad. This company is promoted by Sri Muppa Venkaiah Chowdary and Dr M. Vishnu Vardhan. Through the years, the company has established a strong customer base, built a loyal supplier community, developed a committed work force and a strong management team to deliver projects to match the expectations of customers and compete with top Real Estate companies of Hyderabad. The company follows a strict financial discipline, maintains strict escrow accounting mechanism for every project. The company has earned a very good ranking and enjoys support of banks like SBI, BOI, HDFC, Axis and others. The company has a strong brand recall in Hyderabad because of its product design, timely delivery and post-sale service. In the last three years , the company has completed and delivered two projects before time and getting ready to make a Hat-Trick by delivering the third project before time in January 2017. No wonder, today it is being recognized as one of the best emerging Real Estate Companies of Hyderabad known for its reliability, commitment, and trustworthiness. As Chairman and Director, Mr Chowdary guides the

Mr Muppa Venkaiah Chowdary with sons Dr Muppa Vishnu Vardhan (left) and Mr Muppa Ashok Vardhan (right)

company and Dr Vishnu Vardhan Muppa, M.D. is the driving force behind Muppa Projects and Vishnu Ventures. He believes in delivering the best and believes in offering “great value for money” projects to the customers. Besides taking care of land procurement & business development, Dr. Vishnu developed a flair for sales and marketing operations. He endeavors to run the business professionally with project offerings in best location at best prices. The C.E.O. Mr GSV Rao is an Engineer with PGDM from AIMA, has a successful track record of building and coaching teams to achieve and excel. He started his career as Management Trainee with SAIL in 1980 and worked in senior positions with eminent organizations of national and international repute .He has the credit of executing several large scale housing, infrastructural and industrial projects across India. The G.M (Projects), Mr K Rajashekar, is a technocrat by qualification and has worked in senior positions with L & T, GG Properties and Maytas Infra. He is well versed with project monitoring, quality control systems, latest technology, and latest construction methodology and is an expert on materials and material sourcing.

Backed by potential Land bank holding in Growth corridors of Hyderabad, the company has a strong portfolio of projects across luxury and mid-size segment. The company has recently launched a premium gated community high-rise project at Narsingi near Gachibowli of Hyderabad. The company is launching another Gated Community Premium Villa Project of 300 Villas in 36 Acres of land in the ITIR zone near Financial District of Hyderabad. Muppa’s Indraprastha is a premium luxury Life Style community with 300 exquisitely designed 4 BHK Villas in the best and the most virgin part of the sprawling 36 acres of land that has been reserved for the unique facilities that integrate seamlessly with the natural environment. Indraprastha, created exclusively for the discerning few to recreate this magic. Most of the cherished moments enjoyed by the Gods and Goddesses were fashioned in their promenades and courting in enchanted gardens, surrounded by flora, tranquil lakes and the chirping of birds. At Indraprastha each villa represents a way of life that is absolutely divine in every aspect with the dancing light and pure breeze through the large windows, unhindered view january 2017 | india empire 43


MUPPA’S INDRAPRASTHA Muppa’s Indraprastha is a premium luxury Life Style community with 300 exquisitely designed 4 BHK Villas in the best and the most virgin part of the sprawling 36 acres of land that has been reserved for the unique facilities that integrate seamlessly with the natural environment. Most of the cherished moments enjoyed by the Gods and Goddesses were fashioned in their promenades and courting in enchanted gardens, surrounded by flora, tranquil lakes and the chirping of birds. Indraprastha, created exclusively for the discerning few to recreate this magic. The project is coming up in the most serene part of fast developing ITIR region which is fully connected to amenities of fast life. Indraprastha offers you the best of both worlds – Located in the prime ITIR region in a world of its own, it is well connected to the city’s hub. The project is located to appreciate and in the present market conditions it is perceived as an ideal investment option too. The project is coming up in Tellapur–Osman nagar–Gachibowli belt with greater traction for villa communities. This zone is destined to be the new Tech-hub of Hyderabad. The location is in close proximity to Outer Ring Road and is best connected to Gachibowli and International Airport. The location offers ease of access to best hospitals, educational institutions, restaurants, shopping and entertainment hubs.

Mr M.Venkaiah Chowdary receiving award from Mr Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India

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Muppas Club House

Muppas Villas

through glazed balconies, shining floors, best-in-class fixtures & reliable fittings, cozy king-size bed rooms, convenient living rooms, well defined comfort zones with spectacular views. Indraprastha integrates the two important elements - the luxury of open spaces and the convenience of contemporary living. At Muppa’s Indraprastha the Clubhouse is designed to grant exclusivity in an impressive built-up areas of 36,000 square feet with best user experience. It is equipped with a roof top solar facility which supplements its energy needs. Equipped with the best amenities which include a spa, swimming pool, restaurants, best-in-class recreational avenues, leisure and indoor sporting events. The project is coming up in the most serene part of fast developing ITIR region which is fully connected to amenities of fast life. Indraprastha offers you the best of both worlds – Located in the prime ITIR region in a world of its own, it is well connected to the city’s hub. The project is located to appreciate and in the present market conditions it is perceived as an ideal investment option too. ❐


GoPio ProFiLes Dr Thomas Abraham Founder President and presently Chairman, GOPIO An estimated 30 million people of Indian origin live outside India, although estimations vary greatly. For most “Indians” living abroad, for more than 3-4 centuries, many have never been there, or if they have, it has been as ordinary tourists, without particularly making any effort to visit the region where their ancestor came from – whose very name they may no longer recall. Uniting them, bringing these people of Indian origin now, spread around the globe, in as many nations as they exist today, and reminding them of their ancestry, and reuniting them with their motherland, is no doubt, a huge uphill challenge. Dr. Thomas Abraham dreamt of uniting them all under one umbrella, connecting them with their sisters and brothers living in as many as 200 nations. A scientist by profession, Dr. Thomas Abraham can be given great credit for the NRI/PIO movement in the last three decades. He is the one who coined the term People of Indian Origin (PIO) in 1989 when he put together the First Convention of People of Indian Origin in New York. His greatest achievement is initiating and building several NRI/PIO community institutions in the last 35 years, the largest being the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of NY-NJ-CT - 1977; National Federation of Indian-American Associations (NFIA) - 1980; and Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) - 1989. Currently, Dr. Abraham serves as the Chairman of GOPIO International, which is spread in 35 counties. An award recipient of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2008, he is also the driving force behind the starting of Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center - 1993; Jagdish Bhagwati Chair for Indian Political Economy at Columbia University ($4.0 million endowment) - 1992-2000; National Indian American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) - 1998; South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) 2000; and The Indus Nanotechnology Association (TINA) 2007. Through these organizations, Dr. Abraham has helped to build a solid base for Indian American community as well as the global Indian diaspora. As a community leader, he has taken up several issues of the diaspora for the last 35 years. A follower of Gandhian principles of peace and non-violence, he also took up initiatives for community harmony in the New York area since the 1970s and became the Founder President of The Organization for Universal Communal Har-

mony (1990). Dr. Abraham’s public and Indian community involvement started in 1974 at Columbia University where he mobilized the Indian student group under India Club. In 1976, he became Chairman of the Joint Committee of India Organizations, which he transformed as the FIA of New York. ❐ january 2017 | india empire 45


GoPio ProFiLes Mr Niraj P. Baxi President, GOPIO International Niraj Baxi was elected as President of GOPIO International in March 2016. Niraj Baxi has been contributing to the founding and growth of many civic, community, political and business associations in the US, India and around the world. Baxi’s involvement with GOPIO started before even the organization was formed in 1989. As its first emissary, Baxi visited countries in the Far East to reach out to the Indian communities as early as 1984. When the National Federation of Indian Associations (NFIA) initiated the effort of a Global Indian Convention, Baxi travelled to several countries in 1987-’89 meeting with leadership of organizations and establishing preliminary contacts. Several participants from such contacts attended the first Convention in 1989 in New York. In view of the huge cost of holding the 1st Convention, Baxi met with India business leaders convincing them about NFIA (the sponsoring organization for the First GOPIO Convention) and getting the first $20,000.00 check from one corporate entity. Mr Ram Gadhavi Vice President GOPIO International Ram Gadhavi has been involved in various community activities for the last 40 years, starting with India Cultural Society of New Jersey and serving as its Chairman and helped to build Gandhi Mandir (Wayne, NJ); Secretary/President of the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of Tri-State (CT, NJ and NY) where he conceived, planned and organized the 1st India Day Parade (FIA India Day Parad3e is the largest outside India which attracts over quarter million people); Worked as Treasurer / Secretary for the National Federations of Indian Associations; Secretary of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan of New York for 15 years. He helped The Bhavan move from its headquarters in Queens to their new home in Manhattan. In 1989, Ram served as the Co-Convener of the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin held in New York City from August 27th to Sept. 3rd, where GOPIO was formed. Before the convention, Ram toured all over Europe to reach out the Indian communities in different countries. 46 india empire | january 2017

Mr Noel Lal Executive Vice President GOPIO International Based in Sydney, Australia, Noel is the first Life Member of GOPIO from the Oceania Region, having attended GOPIO Convention in Zurich in 2000 at the height of Fiji turmoil and later joined as a Life Member and has been actively involved since then. GOPIO’s first chapters were initiated while Noel was serving as the International Coordinator of GOPIO. Later GOPIO chapters were initiated in other parts of Australia & New Zealand. Noel was later appointed Regional Vice President of the Oceania Region. Noel had attended several GOPIO Conventions in Geneva, Delhi, Sydney, Trinidad and New York. Born in Fiji and living in Australia since 1989, Noel is the Managing Director of South Pacific Engineering Pty Ltd. Noel is married with 3 children living in Sydney, Australia. Noel is a Justice of Peace in Australia. As a philanthropist he has helped numerous poor students, schools and organisation in Fiji and Australia. Noel is also a member of Board of Trustees of Foundation for Educating Needy Children in Fiji which is a Fiji Government initiative. Mr Sunny Kulathakal GOPIO’s Global Ambassador Publicist, author, publisher and community worker Sunny Kulathakal is a Post-Graduate in Economics. After a stint in the editorial department of a leading newspaper, he served as the Director of Development Department of a college in Bangalore for eight years. From 1977 onwards in the Middle East, Kulathakal did a series of research studies on Indians in the Gulf which were published as cover stories in the Illustrated Weekly of India, a Times of India publication. From 2004 onwards, Kulathakal is in Bahrain publishing The Gulf Who's Who Directory. After receiving the community service award from GOPIO in 2004, he has been serving GOPIO in various capacities. Kulathakal was elected GOPIO’s global Ambassador in June 2016 in New York.

GoPio ProFiLes Dr Rajeev Mehta GOPIO International Coordinator, North America Dr. Rajeev Mehta is the Founder President of GOPIO-Central Jersey (2008-2012), past Co-chair of the GOPIO Health Council (2010-2014), CoConvener of the 2011 GOPIO International Biennial Convention (New Jersey), and former Chair of GOPIO Health Council (2014-2016). He is a researcher, clinician and professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey.

Mr Jaswant B. Mody Joint Secretary GOPIO International Jaswant (Jay) B. Mody is a Joint Secretary of GOPIO International. He was born in Mumbai on May 20, 1938 and came to USA in 1960 for higher studies. He is a citizen of USA. Since 1974 he has been living in New Jersey with his wife Chandrika Mody. He has a Master Degree from NJIT of Newark, NJ. Both he and his wife are retired. The couple has two children, both are married. They have their families. He is actively serving various organisations since long time. He helped in organization of the first GOPIO International Conference at Sheraton Hotel, Manhattan, at the registration desk. In Piscataway, he served for more than 15 years as a Member of the Planning and Zoning Boards. He was employed by the City of New York for 30 years.

Dr Pradip Sewoke GOPIO International Coordinator, Europe He is Founder and former President of GOPIO Belfort, France and CoChairperson of GOPIO Health and Wellness Council. Currently he is Chairman of Young Cardiologist Association of FRANCHECOMTE, France, Co-Director of Department of Interventional Cardiology, Diaconat Clinic, Mulhouse, France, Member of French Society of Cardiologist and member of European Society of Interventional Cardiologist. His major accomplishments and achievements for GOPIO include being Co-Founder member of GOPIO Paris North Chapter- October 2014, Member of Organizing team for successful Centenary celebration for GADAR Movement - Paris France December 2014, helped in establishing GOPIO Francophone chapters in French Guyana 2015, France Nantes, Cameroun 2015.

Dr Sai Giridhar Secretary GOPIO International Dr. Sai was born on 10th June 1978 in Whitefield, Bangalore, India. His father, a retired Professor and mother, a devoted home maker have provided him with the education of life and culture that is universal and unique only to India. Dr. Sai began his career in the year 2001 as a Dental Surgeon in a charitable hospital in Whitefield, Bangalore, India; his home town. The exceptional hospital experience led him to practice at Sagar Apollo Hospital, an Apollo and Sagar Group Joint venture in Jayanagar, Bangalore. After 5 years of intense experience in practice as well as gaining hospital administration qualification and actively involving in the hospital management, he was referred to take up a new assignment to manage a multi-specialty hospital in Bahrain in 2007. Al Hilal Hospital group has grown in strength each year and has made a huge name as one of the best hospitals in Bahrain. The group runs a hospital and a medical center currently expanding with the third and fourth centers to be commissioned in 2016. january 2017 | india empire 47


GOPiO 2017–COMMUNiTY SeRviCe aWaRDS Abraham M. George New Jersey, USA and Tamil Nadu, India Abraham M. George is engaged in several social projects including Shanti Bhavan Residential School (www.shantibhavanonline. org) for children from socially and economically disadvantaged families; Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM –; Baldev Medical & Community Center to address the healthcare needs of over 15 villages in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Dr George Cherian, Bahrain After a 25 year career in Neonatology that spanned 3 continents, for the last 7 years Dr. Cherian has taken leadership of the American Mission Hospital in Bahrain. The hospital has been providing high quality care regardless of the ability to pay for the last 120 years. The Indian migrants who cannot afford insurance for healthcare have largely been the beneficiaries of hospital’s policy. A sustainable model of financing to provide this care has been created to enable it to grow. Ram Buxani, Dubai, UAE Dr. Ram Buxani is a 3time Forbes awardee. He is the Chairman of the ITLCosmos Group, a diversified global business entity. He is a visionary entrepreneur, endowed with unfailing business acumen. His autobiography “Taking the High Road”, is now in its second edition. He is often recognized as Mr. NRI in Gulf Region. Truly multifaceted, he is a community leader, spokesperson of NRIs, writer, theatre actor, cultural ambassador and social organizer. 48 india empire | january 2017

Chandu Patel California, USA and Gujarat, India Chandu Patel has set up the Sabarkantha Health and Research Foundation (SHRF) to augment the state’s healthcare system. He started Krishna General Hospital in Himatnagar and plans to upgrade it to a medical college. The SHRF has also set up Geeta Girls Hostel for 300 college students and C. K. Patel Mahila Arts College. Chandu has also contributed to projects for abandoned children, senior citizens and other marginalized sections of society.

Vinod Patel, Fiji Vinod Chandra Patel has served Town and District of Ba as a Councillor and Mayor and as an elected Member of Parliament of Fiji on two occasions. His contributions have been in the field of Education, Sports, Religion, Community Health, Local Government, and National Government and in Community and Philanthropy. He has provided outstanding service to business and commerce and in the field of sports especially in Soccer as the National Team Director and Vice President. Naliandra (Jay) Naidu Durban, South Africa Jay is currently employed as group head (home care) for Amka, a major toiletry and household company in South Africa. He has been with Amka for 28 years. He studied marketing and sales at various business institutions in South Africa. He has been involved in various community and charity drives within South Africa. He is very passionate about the plight of women and has worked on training women and placing them in employment.


StrAight From the heArt Wherever you go, go with all your heart. —Confucius


rom a young age, Harvinder Sahota was destined to go places, and cut out for bigger things. His father Sardar Lachman Singh was an Indian Railways official who would get posted at different stations in Punjab. Sahota was born in Firozpur, but spent his formative years in Garhdiwala, and later in Jalandhar and Pathankot among other places in this northern Indian state. His early exposure to different cities made him inquisitive of the world at large. During his teens he would read up The Tribune, a popular English newspaper in the Punjab, quite voraciously. Intimately abreast of happenings around the globe and updated on all current affairs, he made up his mind early that he would travel the world to see places for himself. He has travelled the world ever since he left India on an Air India flight in 1967. He was only 26 then, and seeing new places was his greatest desire. He’s been away from India for nearly half a century. In all these years wherever he’s gone, he’s gone with all his heart, much like what Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, editor and politician says. And those who know him closely candidly confess that he is a nononsense man, one who says what he means, and means what he says—straight from the heart. Dr Sahota is a renowned heart doctor, inventor of the perfusion heart balloon, someone who in his prime held 30 patents. He performed India’s first angioplasty using the perfusion balloon at the prestigious PGIMER, Chandigarh in the late 1980s. He did pioneering invasive procedures in the erstwhile Soviet Union, Georgia, Ukraine and Mexico. Between 1967 and 1974 he was involved in medical training and post graduation courses in England. He arrived in the USA in 1974, worked as a Fellow for a couple of years at the University of Rochester, New York, then for nearly another year as a Chief Resident of Medicine in Saskatchewan, Canada, before moving

to and settling down in the West Coast of the USA where he has lived for over 40 years. Over the last 20 years he’s settled in Laguna Beach in Orange County, part of the Greater Los Angeles area. Although he’s reduced his work load considerably, he still practices at his clinic in Bellflower in the L.A. County with the energy and enthusiasm of someone starting out in life.

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dR HARvIndER sAHOTA EARLY LIFE Sahota was born in April 1941 into a Sikh family in the Ferozepur Cantonment area. When he was merely a week old, a bath he was given turned into a life-threatening situation. Somehow the fragile infant contracted double pneumonia. Now seventy years back when medical facilities were dismal in India, there was no cure for that kind of affliction, and antibiotics were yet to be invented. The infant turned cold, and frigid, and was declared dead. The distraught family was preparing for a burial, as that was how the last rites of infants, as per tradition, were required to be performed. When a doctor arrived it seemed too late, for Sahota had long stopped breathing. Somehow, miraculously, he took one short breath. His breathing had been sporadic right from birth, a condition that he later learnt in England was termed Cheyne-Stoke breathing, usually terminal in early life. During those moments when he hovered between life and death, Sahota held on with the help of his mother’s frenetic prayers, and the Grace of God. Tears rolled down the cheeks of Sardar Lachman Singh

LIFE OVERSEAS, MARRIAGE It was not just a black and white television set that he saw for the first time in his life after arriving in London. He would witness a new culture from close, a new way of living. Britain would alter Sahota’s way of life, groom him such that he’d become an international thinker, teach him the etiquettes of the west, and allow him to imbibe ethics in his profession. He believes that whatever he is professionally, the heights he’s scaled in cardiology, the numerous recognitions he has received, is because of his stint in the United Kingdom which altogether was to last seven years. He also believes that but for

who announced publicly that if his infant son were to survive the double pneumonia, he would leave no stone unturned in order to make him a doctor. Sahota survived the scary ordeal, attended school where he performed with distinction, but almost never became a doctor. An incorrigible film buff, he and childhood friend Daya Singh decided to try their luck in Bollywood. But Daya failed to turn up at the railway station where they were to board the train to Bombay. Abandoned at the last hour, Sahota didn’t want to go alone. His dreams of making it to the silver screen dashed unceremoniously, he decided to plunge wholeheartedly into the world of medicine, where he was to do exceedingly well in years to come. He joined the FSc Medical DAV College in Jalandhar for his pre-university degree. Two years later, in 1959, he joined the Medical College, Patiala, and remained there for five years, eventually emerging a medical doctor in 1964. It was a proud moment for the Sahota family, especially his father, whose dream he had fulfilled. Now, he was ready to serve the world. While at the Patiala Medical College, young Sahota made up

that stint he wouldn’t be half as accomplished as he is today, not by a fair distance. As an example, one day soon after he arrived in England he visited an instruments store on London’s Gower Street, looking to buy the famous Littman stethoscope. He chose one particular stethoscope, but the man at the counter asked him for a certain number of “quids” which Sahota couldn’t quite comprehend. So he delved into his pocket and flashed out a five pound note, alas it wasn’t quite enough to buy that valuable apparatus. He was short by about ten pounds. The counter man noticed his discomfiture, and stepped in to put him at ease. “You can take the stethoscope and send the money later. You need those five pounds more than me.” Sahota could not believe his ears. He started out at the Bromsgrove Hospital in England that would turn out to be nothing more than a pit stop during his seven years in England. Sahota had set out to see places, and he was not keen to stay put at any one place for too long. That was why he had flown out of India in the first place. He landed up in Wakefield near Leeds for training (as

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his mind that he would leave India when the opportunity presented itself. It wasn’t going to be about the money, it was going to be all about getting to know newer places, and discovering more of the world, with his heart, of course. Patiala would be the stepping stone to his onward journey into the world. He set his mind on England, a country to which he headed in July 1967.

Resident) and joined the Casualty (Emergency) Department of Clayton Hospital for a stint that was to last nearly four months and one that included a full-fledged residency in Medicine. In September 1968, he joined the Llangwyfan Hospital in Denbigh in North Wales as a registrar. During his four-year stay at North Wales he was able to take two sabbaticals, the first for a six-month post-graduation course in Tropical Medicine in 1970 at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Then in 1971 he went to the University of Cardiff to do a post-graduation in Chest Medicine (Pulmonary), the course once again lasting six months. Even though he was getting well entrenched in the world of medicine, the life of a bachelor was beginning to unsettle him. He was past 30, and the idea of marriage had started germinating in his mind. The shy young man who wouldn’t look girls in the eye at college was now contemplating spending the rest of his life with a woman. He wrote a brief letter to his father saying he was ready to tie the knot, and that his parents should find a girl for him. When he reached Garhdiwala, girl

That’s the kind of money no ordinary person would decline. Apart from the money Sahota would get perks and benefits. When an employer wants to pamper you, they throw in several other incentives. He would get an office, assured number of patients, and all the other expenses of staying in Rochester would be taken care of. The hospital management had made a calculated offer, quite certain that Sahota would not refuse. But Sahota’s conscience did not let him down. He politely turned down the offer from Rochester on the grounds that he had a commitment to fulfill in Canada. “If I was after the money, I would not have moved out of Punjab in the first place. And certainly not out of Rochester in the second,” he muses many years later, sitting at home in Laguna Beach, California. After declining the Rochester offer, he took up his assignment in Canada with a package that appeared peanuts in comparison. He agreed to join the Regina Hospital at about USD 800 a month. That worked out less than USD 10,000 per year, a tenth of what the New Yorkers had offered him. That

after girl was introduced to the vilayati munda, but he didn’t seem all too impressed, until, of course, he met Asha. She was a young captain in the Indian army and also a medical doctor posted in Delhi. A decision was made that Sahota would marry Asha in England. They married on December 16, 1972, a year after Sahota had to postpone his wedding plans due to the Indo-Pakistan war. The Sahotas moved to the USA in 1974, the same year their first child, Neil, was born in Rochester, New York. While in England he had written to a few places, including the Regina Hospital in Saskatchewan, Canada, and they had evinced considerable interest in him, just like the hospital at Rochester had. He took up the offer at the University of Rochester, but promised the Canadians that once he was done with his cardiology training, he’d come to them for about a year. Somewhere down the line, the University of Rochester threw up an offer that was hard to resist. Back in 1975, the hospital guaranteed him a minimum of USD 100,000 annually, if he continued to stay and work with them. Over some forty years ago, that figure was equal to about a million dollars today.

he could turn his back to so much money, of course, made him an infinitely happier man, and richer inside. He says that the fact that he could muster enough courage to refuse Rochester hospital’s offer was testimony to the family values and strong upbringing that he had in Garhdiwala. “I completely attribute that ability to look beyond money to my parents. I was blessed generously by them with a very wise value system,” he says, a hint of emotion running through his eyes. It is in the name of his mother, Bibi Dhan Kaur Sahota who had raised him with deep values, that Sahota has set up a USD 1.5-million Sikh Studies Chair at the University of California at Irvine. But for her fervent prayers, Sahota would not be where he is today. He is associated with many charities and funds, and is socially very active in California. He has declined offers from reputed institutions from different parts of the world to join them. True to his beliefs and convictions, the heart doctor has shown us that whatever he has done, ❐ wherever he has gone, it has been with all his heart. —More details will be available in Dr Sahota’s forthcoming biography

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GiANT sTriDes From a tin-shed in the late 1980s to a 1000-bed hospital, 250 doctors, a Cancer Research Institute, a medical college, an engineering college, a Rural Development Institute, thousands of students, and much more, the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (HIHT) has come a long way. The HIHT runs the Swami Rama Himalayan University (SRHU). Both are a result of the vision of H.H. Dr Swami Rama of the Himalayas. It was on the instructions of his master, Bengali Baba that Swami Rama set up the 200-acre campus near Dehradun’s Jolly Grant airport. Swami Rama attained Mahasamadhi in November 1996, but his disciples led by Tan Sri Datuk Dr Mohan Swami, Chancellor, SRHU, Dr Vijay Dhasmana, Vice Chancellor, SRHU, Dr V. Chauhan, Secretary, HIHT, Dr Sunil Saini, Head of the Cancer Research Centre, Dr Swami Rama Prakash Keshaviah, Financial Advisor to Vice Chancellor, SRHU, Ms B Maithili and others, abundantly blessed by their Master, have kept the ball rolling and created a vibrant campus. While SRHU held its first convocation in April 2016 where Indian President Pranab Mukherjee was chief guest, the Cancer Research Institute was officially inaugurated by Union Health Minister J P Nadda in the presence of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat in November 2016. Here is what two of his disciples say:

Himalayan Hospital

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Dr V chauhan After passing my post-graduation from room in the OPD”. I told him “Sir I have deMahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Scicided to join this mission; I have come; I will ences, Sewagram, with flying colours in 1987, put one chair besides you and start seeing paI was offered the post of lecturer which I tients here”. He couldn’t resist my enthusiasm gladly accepted. In 1988, I got married to Dr. and told me “Fine you may come once a week Neena. Neena belonged to Meerut and did to run the OPD, but your final coming would her graduation from Meerut Medical College. depend on Swami Rama. Only after he During my two-and-a-half year stay at Sewascreens you and accepts you, then only you gram after my post-graduation, I started feelcan join his mission”. ing the urge of doing private practice and Dr. Saini and I started coming regularly earning money. In 1990, I resigned my leconce a week. Every Tuesday, we used to leave turer-ship and came to Saharanpur to do priSaharanpur at 6 o’clock in the morning and Dr V Chauhan vate practice. Due to God’s grace, within 4 by 8 o’ clock we would reach the Institute’s years I had a thriving practice. I started earning money but campus. From 9 o ‘clock onwards we used to run the OPD began to feel that I need to do something that would give until the evening. My first meeting with Swami Rama took me internal peace. “Am I living only for earning money?” place six months later. Swami Ram was in USA. He arrived at Such thoughts use to come to my mind. Hence I started Jolly Grant in 1993, sometimes in the October-November doing free surgeries for poor and polio patients, but still, that time frame. Dr. Saini, Neena, my elder son Akshay, and I did not satisfy me. One fine day one of our family friend’s came from Saharanpur to meet Swami Rama. Around 10 brother who was also a doctor developed, cardiomyopathy o’clockSwami Rama reached the campus from Rishikesh. and very severe heart problems. When we were taking him to From a distance of around 50 meters he saw me, and said Escorts Hospital in Delhi a thought came to my mind: At a loudly, “Son you have come! You start the work.” That was young age of 28 he has demy screening test. I never Cancer Research Institute veloped cardiac problems; asked what salary I would get. my life is so stressful; I am What would be my future? operating from 5 o’clock in What would be my children’s the morning and working future? Such thoughts did not till 11 o’clock in the night; occur to me at that time. But am I also going to meet a the mind can be very devious. similar fate? Such thoughts After returning home, I came into my mind. started thinking, “I didn’t ask Dr. Sunil Saini (now Diwhat my remuneration nor rector, Cancer Research Cenwhat would be my future and tre) was also travelling with that of my children.” Such me. I conveyed my feelings to him. Dr. Sunil Saini had already distressing thoughts now started crowding my mind. met Swami Rama. He used to talk about him occasionally, and When I was struggling with these thoughts, I dreamt of indicated that in future he would be joining Swami Rama’s Swami Rama around 4 a.m. the next morning. In my dream, Hospital, which was coming up in Jolly Grant, Dehradun. See- he was addressing a gathering at a lecture-theater in the ing my successful practice and the investment I had made, he medical college, dressed in his maroon robe. I was also atdid not have the courage to tell me to also come and join tending his lecture. While leaving after delivering his talk he Swami Rama’s Mission. The incidence of my friend’s brother came up to me, put his hand on my shoulders and asked me developing Cardiomyopathy stirred me; I told Dr. Saini that I “Are you not coming?. I am constructing this hospital for want to see Swami Rama’s Hospital. Both of us planned a visit you people”. I immediately woke up and told my wife about to Jolly Grant. The moment I arrived at the campus at Jolly the dream, saying this is a call from him, we need to go. BeGrant, the aura of the campus made me feel that this is the lieve me, at a notice of just 3 days, we shut down our priplace where I need to devote my life. Dr. Saini introduced me vate practice and got ready to leave Saharanpur. People I to Dr. Anil Singhal, a neurologist who had renounced his prac- knew in Saharanpur started calling me mad. My parents tice in USA and joined Swami Rama’s mission. He was the were annoyed with me and went into state of shock. My Medical Director at that time. brother who was managing the affair of my nursing home The infrastructure of the hospital was not ready and the became jobless. I was at a cross-road and in a very confused campus too was not ready; there were few houses and guest state of mind. On one side I was being unfair to my parhouse building. The OPD’s were being run in tin shed. I told ents and other family members; on the other hand, there Dr. Anil Singhal (then Medical Director) about my intentions was the call of destiny and my intense desire to work for to join Swami Rama’s mission. He told me, “Dr. Chauhan, Swami Rama and his mission. ❐ there is no place here, where will you sit? We hardly have one On 19th April 1994, we shifted to Jolly Grant.

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