E newspaper 10062017

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Friday, October 06, 2017 • Vol. 36, No. 39

Indo American News READ US ONLINE at www.indoamerican-news.com | Published weekly from Houston, Texas. USA 7457 Harwin Dr, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036 • PH: 713 789 6397 • Fax: 713 789 6399 • indoamericannews@yahoo.com

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October 06, 2017


Friday, October 06, 2017 | Vol. 36, No. 39


Indo American erican News

www.indoamerican-news.com Published weekly from Houston, TX

7457 Harwin Dr, Suite 262, Houston, TX 77036 713.789.NEWS (6397) • Fax: 713.789.6399 • indoamericannews@yahoo.com

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18th Annual IACCGH Gala Durga Puja by VSGH


Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston held its 18th Annual Gala on Saturday, September 30, at Hilton Americas Downtown. From left: Sanjay Ramabhadran Jagdip Ahluwalia, Bob Patel, Bal Sareen, Dr. Marie Goradia, Swapnil Agarwal, India’s Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, and Allen Richards.

1000 Lights for Peace Karva HAPPY

Mahatma Gandhi Library presented the spectacular 1000 Lights for Peace on Sunday, October 1, at Miller Outdoor Theater. The finale of the evening included the candle lighting by all present as a pledge to practice peace in their lives.


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1000 Lights for Peace, A Celebration of the 148th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi HOUSTON: Mahatma Gandhi Library presented the spectacular 1000 Lights for Peace, a celebration of the 148th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, on Sunday, October 1, at Miller Outdoor Theater. The spirit of Houstonians attending the program was truly visible during this auspicious celebration. The gorgeous day started with 5K Walk for Peace, coordinated by Sesh Bala. The participants walked around Hermann Park voting for peace with their feet, many proudly displaying signs depicting peace. They visited the life size statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Houston Garden Center to pay homage to the apostle of peace. The Grand Marshalls were Kristen Lee Ohanyan, of Vegan Society for PEACE, Bob Fleming of Compassionate Houston and Ramesh Shah of Ekal Vidyalaya. The walk was led by Vinod Arora dressed as Mahatma Gandhi for the first time. The walk culminated on stage at Miller Outdoor Theater to kick off the 1000 Lights for Peace program. The 1000 lights for Peace program started at 6pm with an invocation by Dr. Kavita Vachaknavee of Arya Samaj of Houston with Vedic prayer. This was followed by Rev Siedo Francavilla of the St. Nichiren Temple with the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, translated Devotion-MysticLaw-Cause & Effect-Sound. Neha Srivastava and Akash Gupta, the MCs, kept the evening flowing with historical perspectives on not only Mahatma Gandhi, but also social reformers including Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, and Desmond Tutu. The Gandhi Darshan Exhibit portraying the chronologically lifetime of Gandhiji with actual photographs from that era was also on display as were booths for arts and crafts, balloons, and henna paint-

The finale of the evening celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s 148th birthday as 1000 Lights For Peace at the Miller Outdoor Theatre was candle lighting by all present, as pledge to practice peace in their lives. It was initiated by Consul General of India, Dr. Anupam Ray.

Opening ceremony of Walk For Peace. In picture, Vinod Arora as Mahatma Gandhi, Sesh Bala, the coordinator of Walk For Peace and Grand Marshalls, Kristen Lee Ohanyan, Bob Flemming of Compassionate Houston, and Ramesh Shah of Ekal Vidyalaya.

St Catherin’s children performing at 1000 Lights For Peace.

ing, which the children lined up for. Annesa Patel, a 10th grader, had a display of her paintings for silent auction. The Vegan Society for Peace and the Indo-American Senior citizens club were active participants throughout the day. Youth volunteer from Arya Samaj led by Sanjay Ahuja helped out from start to finish. Kudos to all the adult volunteers, too many to name, make this yet another great celebration. The evening started with a melodious rendition of Ganesh Vandana by choir directed by Smriti Srivastava. Khushi Kawedia, winner of the younger speech contest, inspired the crowd by reciting her winning speech “Love never claims, it ever gives.” Next was a fabulous performance by the adorable children from Houston’s St. Catherine Montes-

sori Catholic Choir directed by Tim and Mindy Snow. They brilliantly sang “Kumbaya.” Next was a high-energy, dynamic performance by the Folklorico International from Mexico, directed by Nelly Fraga. The students of Anjali Center of Performing Arts, directed by Dr. Rathna Kumar, performed a classical Indian dance called Mahaganapathim. Tony Jha then treated the crowd to his brilliant winning speech in the older category discussing Peace is the goal, non-violence is the way.”. The Ismaili Dance Ensemble presented an elegant performance featuring Turkish and Syrian folk dances directed by Fareeda Chagani The Consul General of India Dr. Anupam Ray addressed the audience on his idea of peace and non-violence and his inspiration

from the Father of modern India, Mahatma Gandhi. The Keynote Speaker for the evening Rev Michael Gott, Senior pastor of Unity Houston, spoke about how relevant the practice of Non-Violence was in today’s strife ridden world and that Gandhi’s message of “Be the change you want to see in the world” as his primary influence for entering public service. He said he was Christian with a Hindu soul. Dr. Anupam Ray and Rev Michael Gott presented the awards to the many winners of the city-wide contests held by Mahatma Gandhi Library. Dr. Manish Wani, member of the Board of trustees of Mahatma Gandhi Library, announced an unprecedented collaboration of MGL with Birla group in India to bring Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum to Houston. It is one the world’s first digital multimedia

museums preserving the historical events of Gandhiji’s life. A 3-acre parcel of land has been secured for the museum in South Houston near Beltway 8 and Hwy 59. The last international performance of the evening was a dynamic performance called Nsati by the KoumonKe’le’ African Dance & Drum Ensemble, directed by Christina Gerard. The spectacular evening concluded with the lighting of a candle by all as a symbolic pledge to observe peace in their own lives. The crowd reflected on how to emulate Mahatma Gandhi’s life listening to the soothing song “Imagine” by John Lennon. Please see the picture. To learn more about 1000 Lights for Peace, please visit gandhilibrary.org or contact Dr. Manish Wani at 713-829-6979.



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IACCGH Gala 2017: 600-Strong Celebrate with Theme “Partners in Progress” BY SWATHI VIKRAMAN


Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston held its 18th Annual Gala on Saturday, September 30, at Hilton Americas Downtown. The event coincided with the 4th Annual US-India Partnership day. The chamber has been recognizing this partnership since 1999, when India was yet to become the flavor of the future. The theme for this year’s Gala was “Partners in Progress”, which was coined before the havoc caused by Hurricane Harvey, yet very apt to depict how community partnerships have worked in the relief and recovery operations. The evening saw local business leaders and high ranking professionals networking at the Reception prior to the main event. Several elected officials were also present at the 600 strong gathering. At the Reception, Judge Ed Emmett presented plaques of appreciation to the major sponsors of the evening. The main event commenced with national anthems of both countries. Sanjay Ramabhadran, a chamber Board member was the Master of Ceremony. Chamber’s Executive Director, Jagdip Ahluwalia highlighted this year’s economic development through bilateral ties. This included India’s purchase of over $2 billion US Crude oil, within one month of PM Modi’s meeting with President Trump. IACCGH was present at the loading of the crude oil on the first ship that sailed out of Texas. Another win for Texas was the sale of Apache helicopters to India. The new board was introduced next, led by President-Elect Swapan Dhairyawan. A video depicting the history of the chamber helped the audience appreciate this amazing journey. They were encouraged to go through the Gala magazine to get a full picture of

From left: Allen Richards, Bob Patel, India’s Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, Port Houston Chairman Janiece Longoria, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, and Jagdip Ahluwalia. Photos: Bijay Dixit

A symbolic check from the Indian American Community “Marching Towards a Million” acknowledging and celebrating the contributions that have already been made was presented to Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner by Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, Sapphira Goradia, Jagdip Ahluwalia, Allen Richards, Amit Bhandari of BioUrja, Harish Shanbhag of Wipro and Mani Iyer of Mahindra USA.

the Chamber’s history, work and accomplishments over the 18 years. Chief guest of the evening, India’s Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray gave a wonderful speech, touching upon India’s ever-growing influence on the global stage. The Indian community has given

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time, talent and treasure towards relief efforts. Post Harvey, IACF (Indo-American Charity Foundation) set up a fund to support the Harvey relief efforts. This initiative endorsed by the Consul General and proposed by Sapphira Goradia, President of the Goradia Family Foundation, includes contributions from the Chambers individual members, businesses large & small and those from India that have a presence in Houston and the community at large.. The community responded positively with many chamber members like GAIL USA, Charles Foster, Dilip Bhargava and local places of worship sending in tens of thousands of dollars to the fund. Major Philanthropists like Dr.

Durga Agrawal donated through India House. IACF President Dr. Vanitha Pothuri donated $25000 bring IACF’s total up to $100,000. Sapphira Goradia matched this first $100,000 donated. WIPRO donated $250,000 to the governor’s fund, BioUrja donated $250,000 to the Mayors fund and Mahindra Americas donated a total of $1.5 Million in cash and kind to the relief efforts. IACCGH Past Presidents Ashok Garg and Sanjay Ramabhadran and President Allen Richards felt that the IACCGH Gala would be a great venue to showcase the community effort in giving back. A symbolic check from the Indian American Community “Marching Towards a

Million” acknowledging and celebrating the contributions that have already been made to these funds was presented to Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner by Consul General Dr. Ray, Sapphira Goradia, Jagdip Ahluwalia, Allen Richards, Amit Bhandari of BioUrja, Harish Shanbhag of Wipro and Mani Iyer of Mahindra USA. Mention was also made of the volunteer hours made by SEWA International, The Hindus of Greater Houston, the Bohra Community, the Sikh National Center, several other Indo American Churches, temples and mosques. Judge Emmett and Mayor Turner congratulated the chamber on the efforts to support the Hosuton community. IACCGH current President Allen Richards described the 18th year of the Chamber as the start of “a new direction”. He highlighted the collaboration with other ethnically diverse organizations and the “NexGen” initiative, providing opportunities to the younger demographic. The Gala also had amazing entertainment provided by singers Skylar Beamon, Sparsh Shah and a flash mob. Bob Patel, CEO and Chairman of LyondellBasell delivered the keynote. His keynote started off with his inspirational life story. He appreciated the work the Chamber is doing in creating connections, bringing the two countries closer together and advancing knowledge to create opportunity. IACCGH also recognized the professional and public service achievements of members of the Indo American community. Port Houston Chairman Janiece Longoria received the award for the tremendous impact on the economy, Dr Marie Goradia received “Impact on Humanity” award for her efforts through Pratham USA; Bal Sareen, CEO of Brask Inc. received the “Entreprenuer of the Year” award and Swapnil Agarwal of Karya Management received the “Young Entreprenuer of the Year” award. The event coordinators were also felicitated. President Elect, Swapan Dhairyawan, delivered the vote of thanks and outlined his plans for the coming year. The event concluded with declaring the winner of the prestigious Rolex Raffle and a wonderful Indian dinner by Dawat Catering (Madras Pavilion).

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Durga Puja Illuminates with Kusum Sharma as Goddess Durga in the Mahishasur Mardini Show BY KAMLESH NARWANI

HOUSTON: Durga Pooja is an

ancient Hindu festival symbolizing good triumphing over evil and women power. According to Hindu tradition, Goddess Durga was created in form by the Hindu deities to incarnate Shakti (Cosmic Energy) to rid the world from the atrocities of the evil Mahishasura, who was a combination of both an and a Mahisha (water buffalo) intending to annihilate all the Devas as they were the archenemies of Asuras. Kusum Sharma, the executive director of Kalakriti Performing Arts (a Houston 501(c) (3) organization) has conceived, directed, and lead performed this show on Sep 30th to honor Goddess Durga during the festive celebration of Durga Puja, which was organized by Puja Samithi of Greater Houston at Shri Radha Krishna Temple from Sep 29th to Oct 1st 2017. This 45 min show was an inspiring amalgamation of dance, thrilling action and dialogues in Hindi, and left the audience in awe and mesmerized. Some of the highlight performances of the show were the illustrative intense battle scene between Durga’s lion with Mahishasur Asur, which brought the kids, and adults to the edge of the seat. The finale of the show was the immaculate scene where

Durga kills Mahishasura (played by Hari Sriram) by crushing him with her foot and piercing him with her trident. It was visually memorable to see Goddess Durga on stage with all her 8 arms with mighty weapons, whilst the dancers danced to the empowering “Mahishasura Mardini Stotram”. Kamlesh Narwani (the produc-

tion lead) concluded the show by introducing the entire production crew of 35 volunteers, whilst the entire hall stood up to give a loud applause. The audience remained highly energized post the shown end, rushing to congratulate Kusum Sharma and all the performers. Sishir Datta, an audience memeber said, “This was

the single most amazing item that I was so fortunate to attend and witness. ALL in the packed audience - whether little kids or young or old, just were spellbound - with Colors, Choreography, Performance, Scripts and everything (almost like a Jatraa in Satyajit Ray’s rural Bengal depiction or I’d say - like an opera in country side Italy) Just so beautiful. This is the type of music + content + quality + REAL fun that is so deservingly needed today. Thank you Kusum ji. Kudos to the Organizers! From Ravana Samhaar to Mahishasur Vadh - your presentation was wholesome and beautiful.” Throughout the past 13 years,

Kusum Sharma and Kalakiriti Performing Arts has pioneered in presenting such inspirational cultural and heritage shows to the Greater Houston Community. Some of the past shows include but not limited to Ramleela, Life of Tulsidas, Ganesh Leela, Shiv Leela, Meera, Krishna & Rukmini, Krishna Leela. Kalakriti is now taking their signature event Ramleela to Austin this year on October 14. For more details or volunteer for the non-profit please visit www.KalakritiUsa.org. Kalakriti thanks Puja Samithi, Satish & Kamlesh Agarwal for the opportunity to perform at the Durga puja celebration.


10 October 06, 2017



Record Crowds Attend first Durga Puja of the Season Organized by VSGH

Photos: Jiten Patel



In the aftermath of the havoc created by hurricane Harvey, Houstonians were looking up to God for help and relent. What better way than to pray to Mother Durga for forgiveness, for all the abuse and atrocities that we are inflicting on Mother Nature relentlessly on a daily basis! As is the norm every year, Durga Puja was celebrated with immense piety, dedication and sincerity by the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston on September 23. The weather was nice compared to the once in 800 year disastrous weather that Houston experienced 4 weeks back. Nabapatrika and the idol of Mother Durga were carried

to the nicely decorated pandal outdoors to the beat of the Dhak and the blowing of the shankh early in the morning, creating a divine atmosphere. We were honored to have Swami Kripamayananda, head of the Toronto Vedanta Society preside over the event, his 6th year in a row. What made the puja more special was the presence of our resident Swami Vedaswarupananda who was the Tantradharak and Dr. Amrit Achari, who did the Chandipath. Buddhadeb who traveled from Toronto with Swami Kripamayanada assisted him in the puja performance. The melodious devotional songs sung by the VSGH choir and Durga Bhajans sung by Pandit Suman


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Ghosh, his family and students made the environment reverberate with spiritual essence. The puja ended with the beautiful arati performed by the two Swamis in unison with the chandelier lamps, and pushpanjali, the offering of flowers, by devotees. A record crowd of almost 550 people attended the VSGH Durga Puja this year. Fruit & lunch prasad were served in the adjacent tent to all attendees. Some devotees commented on the great quality of the food catered by Maharajah restaurant. What was very inspiring to note was the increase in the number of devotees this year compared to last year probably signifying the increased seeking of blessings from Mother Durga for protection from natural disasters of the magnitude of Harvey. Dr. Malay Das, who has penned a book, “Swami Swahananda, a Profile in Greatness” was present at the occasion to oblige devotees by participating in a book signing ceremony. Other dignitaries in attendance were the Consul General of India Dr. Anupam Ray and author, poet Chitra Divakaruni. They both commented that this is one event throughout the year that they would never miss. VSGH has made arrangements that part of the donations received during Durga Puja this year will go towards the Harvey Relief fund. Due to increased space demands, VSGH has undertaken the project to extend the side patio of the temple building to create a classroom/ dining hall for the devotees. Appeals were made to donate generously to make the project come to fruition. VSGH will celebrate Kali Puja at 7:30 p.m. on October 19, 2017. Worship will be performed by Swami Vedaswarupananda. All are invited. Please visit www.houstonvedanta.org for information on all VSGH activities.

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14 October 06, 2017


Legal and Technical Seminars Organized by ASIE

Certificate of Appreciation presented to Dr. Daniel Wong (center) by ASIE VP Chetan Vyas on left and Naresh Kolli past president of ASIE on right.

Mahesh Wadhwa accepting a certificate of appreciation from ASIE VP Chetan Vyas and ASIE Board Member Tej Kour.


HOUSTON: American Society

of Indian Engineers and Architects (ASIE), a Houston based organization for engineers, architects, designers, and engineering technicians, held their two monthly seminars in the month of September at Bhojan Restaurant in Houston. The seminar was offered complementary by ASIE for all its members. In the full house capacity of the room, almost seventy professional members attended both seminars just a week apart. Due to absence of ASIE President Dinesh Shah, the current Vice President Chetan Vyas coordinated both meetings very efficiently with the help of other Board Members. The Legal seminar was presented by Dr. Daniel Wong, a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas. . He earned his Ph. D. degree in 1988. He currently serves as President and CEO of TolunayWong Engineers, Inc. in Houston. Dr. Wong serves as a Board member of the University of Houston Civil Engineering Department Advisory Board and is a member of its Academy. He also served on the Board of Houston Council of

Engineering Companies (formerly ACME) and as President of Asian American Engineers/Architects. Dr. Wong was elected and served as an At-Large City Councilman in the City of Sugar Land from 2002-2008. Dr. Wong was recognized as the Young Engineer of the Year by the Sam Houston Chapter of Texas Society of Professional Engineers in 1993. He was named as the Distinguished Young Engineering Alumnus in 1998 and the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus in 2009 by the UH Engineering Alumni Association. In 2006, Dr. Wong was selected by the Texas Governor as a TBPE Board member and since in 2013 he has been serving as Board Chair. For the Legal aspects of the seminar, he presented the “Update of Texas Board of Professional Engineers on Rules and Laws.” He talked by giving examples mainly focusing on the rules and issues of the Professional Engineers. He also discussed about the use of engineering seal, professional procurement act, and conflict of interest. This seminar was well received and concluded with interesting Q & A session. As a part of the Continuing Education requirements for the license, the one PDH

certificate was issued to all and a Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Dr. Daniel Wong as a speaker and sponsor for the seminar. On September 21, the second seminar was organized for the technical topic. It was presented by Mahesh Wadhwa, Architect, AIA. He is the President of Wadhwa & Associates, Inc., an Architecture and Design firm based in Houston. Wadhwa has over 45 years of experience in various Architectural/Engineering projects. His strength lies in design formulation, proper administration of project contracts, and containment of costs. His designs are based on energy conservation, environmental studies, code conformance, and intellect. He has designed and developed many office buildings, health facilities, multifamily housing, and industrial, commercial and institutional projects. The firm also provides complete architecture services for Hotel/Motel development including Planning, Conceptual and Detailed Designs, Architectural Designs, Project and Construction Administration. He is a Registered Architect and also Registered Accessibility Specialist in the State of Texas. He is also certified by the International Conference of Building Officials as a Building Code Accessibility/Usability Specialist. With his qualification, Wadhwa talked in detail about the Texas Accessibility Standards. He covered the scoping and technical design standard requirements for accessibility to buildings and facilities by individuals with disabilities under the Disabilities (ADA) Act. It was helpful to engineers and architects. Texas requires plans for all new business construction or alterations over $50,000 to be submitted to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for review and inspection. He added that this information can be helpful for business owners and property owners to understand and get the details they need to comply with the ADA and Texas Accessibility Standards. This technical seminar was found interesting and informative by the professionals, as added the knowledge of accessibility standards for the project design requirements. Everyone enjoyed the delicious buffet dinner served by Bhojan Restaurant. One of the sponsor of this seminar was Dan Khatri of TDK Construction, specialized in commercial construction for the since 1994. Another sponsor was Sudhir Mathuria, a principal of Mathuria & Associates. They provide services for complete health related insurance direct from business to consumer. As a part of the Continuing Education requirements for the license, the one PDH certificate was issued to all and a Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Mahesh Wadhwa as a speaker.



October 06, 2017

Fun Day Shopping at the A&M Diwali Bazaar 2017

SIMA’s Humanitarian Efforts for Harvey Victims

SIMA President Hasu Patel with Mayor Sylvester Turner.

STAFFORD: With only weeks

to go before Diwali, A&M Designs had set up a Diwali Bazaar at Stafford Center on Sunday, October 1 for all the festival shopping needs. The items were spread across the spectrum of apparel, jewelry, home decor and handicrafts. Designer brands like Treasure Trunk, Premier Elegance Jewelry, Burhani gems, A&M Designs, Silhouettes by Payal and lot more showcased their collection of clothes, accessories, handicrafts, bags, shoes and kids clothing. There were food stalls from The Curry House and Chowpatty Express to relax and have some chaat while shopping. The uniqueness about this Diwali Bazaar was that they just didn’t provide 40 different vendors from all over Houston but they had food stalls and Raffles every hour so

people were excited about winning some good gift cards donated by Deep foods, The Curry House and lots of designer clothing donated by various vendors from the Bazaar. Another good thing about this Bazaar was their Silent Auction corner where they had items donated from vendors and businesses from our community and 100% proceeds from this went towards making Diwali Baskets for our

Hindu Families affected by Harvey. A&M decided that during this difficult time they want to give Diwali Baskets to these families and have one less worry for them. The organizers will be delivering Diwali Baskets to these families starting from next week. Overall the event was a huge success. Anyone effected by hurricane Harvey and is in need of Diwali baskets, please contact A&M design studio on Facebook.


SIMA volunteers helping the Harvey victims.

HOUSTON: Due to the dev-

astation of Hurricane Harvey, many residents of Houston and surrounding areas suffered irreparable damages to their lives including losing their homes, vehicles, and belongings. Many of these displaced victims were forced to seek refuge at citywide facilities and locations temporarily set up as shelters, includ-

ing the George R. Brown Convention Center and the NRG Center. Several members of the Small Independent Motel Association of Houston (SIMA), during the days of the hurricane, welcomed these displaced victims into their lodging facilities and

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COMMUNITY SIMA’s Humanitarian Efforts for Harvey Victims CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 provided their guest rooms, at no cost, along with breakfast, refreshments, and other amenities, all while dealing with damages they suffered themselves. Continuing in their humanitarian efforts, President of SIMA Hasu Patel took lead in coordinating SIMA’s volunteer efforts including going to the NRG Center on Tuesday, September 19 with other SIMA and AAHOA members, including AAHOA leaders Vikas Desai, Piyush Patel, and Samir Patel as well as AAHOA Ambassadors Sawan Patel and Saajan Patel, to volunteer their time to assist and help the thousands of Hurricane Harvey evacuees who were still stationed there. Members arrived that early afternoon, quickly learned the shelter’s computer and administrative procedures, and began intake processes for incoming and outgoing evacuees. In addition, members assisted NRG Center volunteers in directing guests to their designated shelter areas, loading and unloading evacuee luggage, and with providing information to incoming evacuees. SIMA is working with AAHOA and other local organizations including Leuva-Patidar and Bhakta organizations to raise funds and is preparing to make a sizable donation to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. SIMA is working with the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association (THLA) and the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston (HLAGH) to continue to provide support to the City and to the Mayor’s office in their ongoing relief efforts. Mayor Turner has been a strong advocate of the work SIMA does and of their humanitarian efforts during difficult times like these.

Writers are requested to limit their words to 500. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Tuesday of each week. For more information, Call 713-789- NEWS (6397) or email us at:




October 06, 2017


Soor Niragas Ho – A Musical Transcendence by Mahesh Kale BY DAN MAYUR & AMEY WAKDE

HOUSTON: Shri Mahesh Kale, a

Consummate musician of Hindustani Classical Music, performed a transcendental rendition at University of Houston on September 23rd 2017. The event was arranged by Houston Maharashtra Mandal (HMM) and Grace Entertainment. A disciple of the legendary Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki, today at 41, Mahesh Kale is undoubtedly the face of Indian classical music of the new generation. True to this reputation, last night Mahesh regaled Houstonians in a mesmerizing musical feast that will linger in our minds for many months to come. Mahesh is a vocalist renowned for his specialization in Hindustani Classical, Semi-Classical, Devotional music and that special genre dearest to the Maharashtrian heart, Natya Sangeet. Last night at his much-awaited concert, Sur Niragas Ho, Mahesh captivated his audience with his amazing rendition. He came through with flying colors holding the audience in a spell-binding performance that lasted for well over three divine hours. Remarkably, Mahesh is a NRI like most of us and is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Born and raised in a music-loving family in Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra, he began his music education early under the guidance of his mother

Meenal Kale. But Mahesh proved to be a born genius. He reportedly gave his first solo performance at the impossible age of 3 leaving an incredulous audience of over 5000 totally stunned by his rendition of a beautiful devotional song. As a teenager, Mahesh trained and blossomed under the tutelage of Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki in a gurukul-like setting. Mahesh has performed in over 1000 concerts all around the world at various places in India, USA, UAE, UK and Southeast Asia. And, of course, he has won many coveted awards the latest being the 63rd Indian National Film Award as the Best Playback Singer for his classical renditions in the popular film Katyar Kaljat Ghusli. As expected, the highlight of the evening was Mahesh’s tribute to his Guru Jitendra Abhisheki through his most popular songs of the play/movie

Katyar Kaljat Ghusali. Mahesh did this in his very unique, trade-mark style of getting the audience fully involved with him. He walked the audience adroitly in a few fun-filled steps of Sargam, got them singing and nodding and lo and behold the audience had constructed the all-time hit song “Gheyi Chhand Makarand”. The ecstatic crowd joined Mahesh in a chorus at appropriate moments for a most unusual experience at a classical concert of this caliber. As the delirious listeners reveled in this musical bonanza, Mahesh went into a transcendental trance of his powerful “alaaps and taanas”. This same scenario continued with his devotional songs Moriya Moriya, Vitthal Vitthal and the brilliant title song of the program Sur Niragas Ho. Mahesh has an amazingly captivating stage presence. His energy level,

depth, and maturity of his voice and its range and projection are truly out of the ordinary. HMM and Grace paid reverence to Mahesh by presenting him a portrait of his own Guru, Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki, drawn by Jyotsna Phadke. HMM and Grace paid respect to the stalwart accompanists who improvised to Mahesh’s own improvisation, a complex task to perform – Rajeev Tambe on Harmonium, Vibhav Khandolkar on Tabla, Vinayak Joshi on Pakhawaj, Suryakant Surve on side rhythms and Kedar Gulavani on Violin. The chorus was given by our own Houstonian music connoisseurs Anukool Damle, Rugved Damle, Veena Pol Watve, Sucheta Karandikar, and Trupti Gokhale Naag. Thanks to Rajan Choudhari for camera, Shreyas Bedekar for sound, and Mihir Kulkarni for managing lights.

Undoubtedly, Indian Classical Music is safe in the hands of its new leaders like Mahesh Kale where it is bound to thrive and blossom. People like him do a yeoman service in bringing the incomparable performing arts of India to global audiences. The bottom line, of course, is this – what we will remember for a long time is Mahesh Kale’s vocal dexterity and uncommon talent that made for a most thrilling musical experience. Thank you Mahesh, thank you Grace Entertainment and thank you Houston Maharashtra Mandal (HMM) for bringing this program to Houston. The next HMM event is the festival of lights, Diwali, to be held on November 12th 2017 at Student’s Center, University of Houston.


18 October 06, 2017


Random Wreckage

Mumbai’s Missed Opportunity


he world is suffering from an unprecedented wave of devastation, both natural and man-made. The seemingly random nature of the devastation defies analysis from the perspective of neither physical nor social sciences. Take Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, which left tremendous wreckage in their wakes. In the Houston area, Hurricane Harvey hovered over the region for three days, dumping an average of 40 inches of rain, leading to massive flooding. There is, of course, a scientific explanation of why hurricanes occur. The warming of the ocean in the North Atlantic is the genesis of hurricanes in our area. According to NASA, rotation of the hurricane is due to air from surrounding areas with higher air pressure pushing in to the low-pressure area. Then that “new” air becomes warm and moist and rises, too. As the warm air continues to rise, the surrounding air swirls in to take its place. The steering of the hurricane is due to the “pull and push” of low- and high-pressure fronts. Weather forecasters do a reasonably accurate job of tracking a hurricane and predicting its expected path. To the lay person, however, there is still randomness in how the hurricane shifts direction and devastate one area and not another. Flooding also has a scientific explanation in how water finds its way from higher to lower elevation. In the Houston area, we’re now accustomed to having the Meyerland subdivision flood successive times in recent years. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the unprecedented amounts of rain created flood zones for the first time in numerous other subdivisions. In West Houston, the flooding was aggravated along the Buffalo Bayou when the Army Corps of Engineers decided to release water both on the west side of Addicks and Barker dams as well as on the east side via Buffalo Bayou. Seemingly small differences in elevation did make a difference in which houses got flooded, but it all seems too random. The other natural disaster was the series of earthquakes, which shook Mexico City. The scientific explanation centers on the construction of the city over a soft lake bed. Which building collapses and which building is untouched depends on the quality of construction and the severity of the shockwave, but again, there seems to be a randomness to the destruction. What of the man-made devastation in Las Vegas? At this time, there does not seems to be a terroristic component to the killing spree. What went off in the lone shooter’s brain to trigger the genocide? Could the cause be genetic or social upbringing? For concertgoers below the Mandalay Bay resort, who was among the killed and injured and who escaped any harm seems all too random. At times such as this, one tends to put aside scientific explations and the mind veers toward thinking of pseudo-scientific explations such as destiny or the evil confluence of planetary orbits. -- Pramod Kulkarni



or all the success he achieved internationally, Charles Correa was unable to truly leave his imprint on the city he made his home. That is to Mumbai’s lasting detriment. It has paid a heavy price for the political apathy and corruption that scuttled the architect and urban planner’s work. The stampede at the Elphinstone Road railway bridge last week is a reminder of that price. Through the post-independence decades, Mumbai’s industrial strength had been built on the back of its textile mill heartland. This ended in 1982 with the year-long mill workers’ strike led by Datta Samant. Of the 58 mills in the city, 26 were deemed sick and taken over by the government. Unsurprisingly, what should be done with this vast swathe of centrally located high-value land proved to be a contentious question. In 1996, Maharashtra’s Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government set up a study group, headed by Correa, to come up with an integrated development plan. The group submitted the so-called Charles Correa committee report by the end of the year. It proposed a three-way split: one-third of the land to be used for public spaces that could accommodate gardens, schools and hospitals, one-third to be developed by the government for affordable housing, and one-third to be given to the erstwhile owners for residential or commercial purposes. The plan, incidentally, included the redevelopment of the Elphinstone Road station, with a broader overbridge allowing exit into a large plaza—measures that would have left it far better situated to deal with the rush of commuters that ended in tragedy last week. Nothing came of this. “Open land” was redefined so that the land reserved for public use shrank from 166 acres to 32 acres. The bulk of the land was used for private development without any semblance of planning. This resulted in the absence of, as Correa put it in his essay, The Tragedy Of Tulsi Pipe Road, “the enabling sub-structure of roads, of engineering services, of a rational decision-making system”.

Mumbai stampede: At least 22 people were killed and 39 others injured at Elphinstone railway station’s foot over bridge

This was Correa’s second great disappointment. The first came decades earlier in the 1960s when his plan for the creation and development of New Bombay was implemented half-heartedly by the government. If venality was to be the cause of his mill land plan’s downfall, it was apathy that did the job this time. Instead of a well-connected sister city built around commercial districts, relieving the strain of Mumbai’s exploding population, New Bombay remained a dormitory town for decades. The suburban railway was extended to it only in the 1990s. None of this is likely to come as a revelation to anyone who resides in Mumbai—or indeed, in urban India. Delhi apart—its being the national capital affords it certain advantages in this respect—no metropolis in India has been well served by its administrators and state governments. Corruption is an easy answer to the question of why this is so. So is the failure to fulfil the directives of the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992, and adequately devolve authority and autonomy to urban local bodies—and with it, bring about more accountability. These are not wrong answers. But they are incomplete. At the heart of India’s urban planning failure is a failure to understand what urban planning truly is. Correa held that “market forces do not make a city, they destroy them”. He was wrong in this. While regulation and planning are necessary, the inhabitants of a city will naturally organize themselves in a manner that allows them to best participate in economic activity. This dictates the urban space around them.

At the other end of the spectrum, Jane Jacobs, who deconstructed urban planning in 1961 with The Death And Life Of Great American Cities, believed that urban growth should be organic and central planning, broadly, was an evil. She was vastly overstating the case as well. But where both schools of thought converged was in their concern for the inhabitants of a city—the belief that cities should be organized in a manner that enhances the well-being and economic participation of all strata of urban society. Indian urban planners have rarely observed this, defaulting instead to a largely mechanistic vision focused more on infrastructure than the interaction of citizens and infrastructure. Inevitably, this has resulted in static, non-participative master plans that are outdated even as they are made, or just plain don’t work. Witness the endless attempts to redevelop slum land in Mumbai and resettle its inhabitants. Or the crores of public funds poured into cleaning Mumbai’s Mithi river—a Sisyphean task when the slums and shanties along stretches of the river and its numerous feeder drains don’t have access to sewage or garbage disposal systems. Or the fact that it took until the Metro rail policy released last month to recognize the need for nodal transportation bodies that coordinate the development of discrete public transportation systems in a city. Last year, Prakash Javadekar, then minister of state for environment, forest and climate change, said the greatest failure “after independence is in our urban and town and country planning”. Recognizing the problem is only the first step. -- Live Mint.


CHICAGO: NAND KAPOOR INDIA: ASEEM KULKARNI ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 4 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-6397 email: indoamericannews@yahoo.com, website: www.indoamerican-news.com


October 06, 2017

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20 October 06, 2017


Historic Announcement of Aksara-Purusottama Darsana by HH Mahant Swami Maharaj ROBBINSVILLE, NJ: The land

of the free and the home of the brave proudly hails once more its twilight’s gleam. With lady liberty’s guiding torch welcoming all to its shores, America has always been a land that has embraced diversity of cultural expression. September 17, 2017 was witness to such a demonstration. On this historic day, an assembly on the holy grounds of the Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, NJ to celebrate the inauguration of a traditionally composed Sanskrit text. The proceedings were an example of diversity in its purest form. The assembly was a celebration of three momentous events: • The inauguration of the Svaminarayana-siddhanta-sudha • The Sri Kasi Vidvat Parisad recognizing Sri Svaminarayana’s Vedanta as the Akshara-Purushottama Darsana, as Vedic and distinct from the other Vedanta darsanas • The official announcement of Svaminarayana’s teachings as the Akshara-Purushottama Darsana The Inauguration of the Svamina-

His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj inaugurates the Svaminarayaṇa-siddhanta-sudha – a historic philosophical work by Mahamahopadyaya Pujya Bhadreshdas Swami and announces Parabrahman Svaminarayaṇa’s Darsana as the Aksara-Purusottama Darsana

rayana-siddhanta-sudha The evening assembly was marked with the inauguration of the Svaminarayana-siddhanta-sudha by HH Mahant Swami Maharaj. Authored by Pujya Bhadreshdas Swami, the text is traditionally categorized as

a vadagrantha – a formal exposition, justification, and defense of the philosophical and theological positions of a darsana. It is composed on the Akshara-Purushottama Darsana as it was revealed by Parabrahman Purushottama Svaminarayana. Divided into nine chapters identified as dharas, the text presents a sophisticated treatment of the philosophical principles of Bhagavan Svaminarayana. Among other things, it grounds these principles on expositions found within the Prasthanatrayi – a collective designation for the Upanishads, Srimadbhagavadgita, and the Brahmasutras. It also presents a unique epistemological system that is characteristic of the darsana. Its comprehensive, critical, yet reverent treatment of alternative darsanas and their disagreements not only reflects the traditional methods of a vadagrantha, but also emphasizes the robustness of the text. In admiration for the text’s intellectual appeal, several dignitaries and renowned academics in the assembly expressed their thoughts and praise for the text. Both the text and its author were honored by invited guests including Professor George Cardona – a renowned professor emeritus of linguistics and South Asian studies at the University of Pennsylvania; Professor Sthaneshwar Timalsina – a distinguished professor at San Diego State University; Professor Graham Schweig – the director of studies in religion at Christopher Newport University; Professor Deven Patel – a professor of South-Asian Studies at University of Pennsylvania; Professor Jyotindra Dave – the director of BAPS Research Institute at Akshardham; New Delhi; and Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami – the chief editor at Hinduism Today. Professor Deven Patel offered reverence to Swamiji for his outstanding work as the author of both the comprehensive commentary of the sacred texts of the Prasthanatrayi and the Svaminarayana-siddhanta-sudha – an accomplishment never performed before by a single author. Sri Kasi Vidvat Parishad’s Recognition of the Svaminarayanasiddhanta-sudha. The assembly thereafter continued by recalling the

Distinguished scholars present at the event. From left: Professor Sthaneshwar Timalsina, Professor Graham Schweig, Professor Cardona, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcahrandas Swami, Pujya Anandswarupdas Swami, Mahamahopadyaya Pujya Bhadreshdas Swami, Paramacharya Sadasivanatha Palaniswami from Hinduism Today, and Professor Deven Patel.

admiration, commendation, and recognition expressed by the Sri Kasi Vidvat Parishad for Sadhu Bhadreshdas’ creation of the Svaminarayanasiddhanta-sudha. Established in Varanasi, the Kasi Vidvat Parishad is an authoritative, honorable council which serves a decisive role in matters concerning Vedic principles and its research. In recognition of the outstanding composition of the text, the novelty of the Akshara-Purushottama Darsana, and its characteristic Akshara-Purushottama Siddhanta (doctrine), the council presented a letter of endorsement and a copperplated letter of declaration to Mahamahopadyaya Sadhu Bhadreshdas Swami. Notably, the two documents express the following: • “The Prasthanatrayi-Svaminarayana-bhasya and the Svaminarayana-siddhanta-sudha are sacred texts on Parabrahman Svaminarayana’s revealed Akshara-Purushottama Darsana. These sacred texts are in every manner the protectors of the eternal Vedic religious tradition.” • “Acclaimed by all scholars, respected Mahamahopadyaya Sadhu Bhadreshdas is an acharya and a contemporary commentator in the lineage of commentators on the Prasthanatrayi.” • “Within philosophy, just as Sri Sankara’s Vedanta is identified as the Advaita Darsana, Sri Ramanuja’s Vedanta is identified as the Visistadvaita Darsana, Sri Madhva’s Vedanta is identified as the Dvaita Darsana, Sri Vallabha’s Vedanta is identified as the Suddhadvaita Darsana, and others are respectively known; it is in every way appropriate to identify Sri Svaminarayana’s Vedanta by the title: Akshara-Purushottama Darsana.” • “We (members of the Kasi Vidvat Parishad) all collectively endorse that this Akshara-Purushottama Siddhanta that has been revealed by Parabrahman Svaminarayana is a Vedic siddhanta that is distinct from Advaita, Visistadvaita, and all other doctrines.” Both the letter of endorsement and the copper-plated letter of declaration were offered by Sadhu Bhadreshdas Swami to guru Mahant Swami

Maharaj. Speaking on this occasion, Sadhu Bhadreshdas Swami humbly credited his scholarly works to the inspiration he had received from Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the blessings of guru Mahant Swami Maharaj. He added: “The AksharaPurushottama Darsana is not only confined to such texts, but is also practiced as a way of life by thousands of devotees of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.” Svaminarayana’s Teachings as the Akshara-Purushottama Darsana The assembly concluded with HH Mahant Swami Maharaj’s appreciation of the Svaminarayana-siddhanta-sudha and Sadhu Bhadreshdas Swami’s humility. Mahant Swami Maharaj, thereafter, read aloud a proclamation letter that he composed. Within this proclamation he illuminated the Vedic roots of Parabrahman Swaminarayan’s reveled teachings. He recalled that the first joined use of ‘Akshara’ and ‘Purushottama’ was gifted by Shastriji Maharaj, the third spiritual successor of Bhagwan Svaminarayana and the founder of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. He then officially announced that Parabrahman Svaminarayana’s teachings would henceforth be recognized as the Akshara-Purushottama Siddhanta and that the darsanic title would be identified as the AksharaPurushottama Darsana. He concluded by instructing that all publications, philosophical discussions, assemblies, seminars, and activities of the darsana be conducted according to the teachings of Bhagavan Svaminarayana as they are expressed in the Svaminarayana-siddhanta-sudha. In celebration of these this historic events, all of those present at the assembly expressed their deep admiration. Proud to have witnessed such proceedings, all experienced the significance of both the inaugurated text and the proclamations announced. For further details contact BAPS North American Headquarters at media@na.baps.org or call 732-777-1414, ext 140



October 06, 2017


Baylor Expert Trains Oral History Students at HCC

Ravi Brahmbhatt (left), Director of Student Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Adjunct Faculty in HCC; Adrienne Cain, Assistant Director of the Institute for Oral History and Secretary-Treasurer of Texas Oral History Association with Baylor University in Waco, holding a momento presented by Krishna Vavilala, FIS Founder-Chairman. Ravi Brahmbhatt (front) takes a selfie with Adrienne Cain (center), Krishna Vavilala (right) and HCC oral history trainees.

HOUSTON: Adrienne Cain, a Baylor Uni-

versity expert in oral history, recently held a training session at Houston Community College’s Central campus. Some of the trained HCC students will be mentored by Foundation for India Studies (FIS) with practical training in production of its oral history interviews. The training session was organized by Ravi Brahmbhatt, who is also the Project Chair for FIS Indo-American Oral History Project. FIS has standing MOUs, with Baylor University in Waco, Houston Community College System (HCCS) and Houston Public Library (HPL), who all have pledged to support the Indo-American Oral History project which is a community driven not-for profit project. The training project represents a shining example of cooperation between Baylor University, HCCS, SAADA and FIS. At the national level, South Asian American Digital Archives (SAADA) will provide national exposure by posting all the FIS interviews on their website: www.saada.org. Fifty two first-generation immigrants from India have already participated in the project and have recorded their experiences as immigrants in America. To find out more about the oral history project and schedule an appointment for an oral history interview, please call Krishna Vavilala 713-795-5169 or Ravi Brahmbhatt 832-413-3416.

WRITERS ... TAKE NOTICE Writers are requested to limit their words to 500. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Tuesday of each week. For more information: Call 713-789- 6397 or email us at: indoamericannews@yahoo.com


22 October 06, 2017 Dhamaal Trump Meets Narendra Modi @ the Houston Diwali Mela


UGAR LAND: Dhamaal Trump once again returns to Diwali with a comedic repertoire with the winner of the Narendra Modi look-a-like contest. Masala Radio, Texans Energy and Star

Plus present Houston Diwali Mela an entertaining Festival of Lights at the Skeeters Stadium on Saturday, October 7, 5PM – 11PM. Xfinity presents a high-energy concert by Neeraj Shridhar featuring

Filmi hits like “Aahun Aahun”, “Bhoolbhulaiyan,” “Love Mera Hit Hit” and Bombay Vikings hits “Woh Chali” and “Hawa Mein Udata Jaye.” A stadium filled with Rangolis from the $1001 Ramji Law Group Rangoli Competition, Bollywood Dances, Alings Magical Fire Extravaganza, HGH Maha Arti, Brittania Dazzling Bazaar, Kohinoor Fireworks, Keemat Bhaarat Darshan, Karya Kids Rides, and Travel Guzs $25,000 giveaways! Enjoy mouth-watering onsite prepared all vegetarian Indian Street Foods from Biryani N Grill, Chowpatty Express, Niramz Food Boutique, Madhuram Mirch Masala, Rice & Spice, Vishala Restaurant, Flying Idlis, Bombay Pizza Express, and Gyaratri Bhavan. It will be a wonderful cultural program with performances by over 300 students from various Houston dance schools. The weather gods have relented and provided beautiful weekend weather. Parts of the proceeds ($1 from online ticket sales) will go towards hurricane relief work. Tickets are selling out fast and previously sold out online tickets have been replenished, so please buy your tickets at the stores or online in advance and don’t miss one of the largest celebrations of good over evil in Houston.


Jaz Creationz to Present “Hallow-Scream” Fashion Show and Dance Extravaganza


ationz will present “JAZ BOND 007”, an Elite Spootakular HallowScream Fashion and Dance extravaganza on Friday, October 27 at Placio Maria in Katy, Texas. Chief guests for the evening will be Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Pena. Jasmeeta Singh, founder of Jaz Creations, says the evening will include a Sikh awareness fashion show with the presentation of an award to Sandeep Dhaliwal and his team for doing an exceptional job during Hurricane Harvey. She says Sikhs can wear their turbans as a show of support. Fashion show will feature six designers and 40 models featuring gowns, dresses, and Anarkali and lehnga outfits. The six designers are Envy Couture by Anil, Robert Powell Designs, Danny Nguyen Couture, Alexandria Lee Designs, Aks Trends designs and Jewelry House. A highlight of the show will be a fashion walk of cancer survivors, who will be walking the ramp wearing designer fashion as a way of uplifting their spirits and boost their confidence.

The fashion and dance extravaganza will raise funds for non-profit organizations through the building of bridges within the diverse IndoAmerican communities through fashion and culture. Among the benefitting organizations are HBBCC ( Houston Broad Based Community Center, www.punch123.org) for troubled youth, and Jamie’s Hope Charity Organization for Cancer Survivors, #BaldIsBeautiful (www. jamieshope. org/baldisbeautiful). The Punch123 program at HBBCC is for minority and disadvantaged youth and troubled adults of all races




October 06, 2017


Accountants Scrutinize Trump’s 2005 Federal Income Taxes


HOUSTON: The past few weeks

have been very trying ones for our great nation. Our hearts go out to all the people of the Gulf Coast who weathered Harvey with tremendous courage; to those along the Atlantic Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and then to those who have to rebuild their lives after the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. Now, there is this horrific massacre in Las Vegas leaving 57 dead and 519 injured. In Houston, virtually all citizens were directly impacted by the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey – the flooding we witnessed did not discriminate by class, creed, socio-economic status or structure. Entire neighborhoods were ravaged as homes, places of worship, schools, social gathering spots and workplaces were lost to the devastation. In the days since Harvey, we have been incredibly fortunate and grateful to have the full support of our nation behind us as we help rebuild our great city. During those same weeks, most CPAs across the United States were preoccupied with a different kind of hurricane – the annual September 15th and the upcoming October 15th tax filing deadlines. At our firm, the deadlines this year were especially challenging because we were busy gathering data, completing returns while simultaneously bracing for Harvey for the entire week of August 28th. The IRS extended the filing and payment deadlines for federal returns and taxes only after Harvey left the Greater Houston area. Unable to drive to our office, we were forced to take a break from preparing and reviewing our clients’ returns. Instead, this allowed us to

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22 in need of educational, social, mental and spiritual guidance. The Bald is Beautiful program at Jamie’s Hope is designed to empower those who are struggling with the reality of dealing with hair loss as a result of chemotherapy. The event will be kicked off with an exclusive VIP reception Mocktail, followed by High-Couture Shopping Extravaganza, Dance Marvel and High-End designer Fashion Show with 50-plus models from the Paul Michelle School.

focus our attention to analyze President Donald Trump’s recently leaked 2005 Federal Income Tax Return. Independent of political beliefs, as tax professional and taxpayers, we found the joint return of Donald J. Trump and Melania Knavs very disappointing, interesting and troubling. Disappointing: Upon close scrutiny of the President’s tax return, we were disappointed to discover that Jain and Jain, P.C. could not have prepared this return because our tax software cannot accommodate numbers greater than $99 Million. The President had a write-off and use of Net Operating loss of $103 million in that year. Interesting and Troubling. After accounting for write-offs and losses, President Trump’s joint 2005 return reported total taxable income of $31.5 million. There is no question that the President and First Lady are in the top 1% wealth bracket of Americans. What is deeply troubling about their return is that their tax bill of $38.5 million is greater than the reported taxable income. This

is because they paid $5.3 million in regular taxes, $31.3 million in Alternative Minimum Tax (commonly known as AMT) and $1.9 million in self-employment taxes. Their tax breakdown was: While there is not much that we (including the President) can do about the tax laws, we certainly ought to be planning for the numerous taxes that we may incur. Businesses ought to be plan around not only Regular Income Tax, but also AMT, Self-employment tax, and Obama Medicare tax. Businesses should also look at taking advantage of R&D Credits, IC-Disc, deductions for domestic manufacturers and producers as well as a host of other potential deductions and opportunities. Jain of the Jain & Jain, P.C. is a professional accounting firm which provides Audit, Tax, and Consulting services to medium and large-size businesses and also offers tax diagnostic services to help businesses seek and realize potentially uncaptured tax savings.


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Jaz Creationz to Present “Hallow-Scream” Fashion Show and Dance Extravaganza “Jaz Creationz, Fashion and Dance production company, was driven by genuine passion, which provides therapy through movement,” explained Jasmeeta Singh. “This passion propelled me towards my very own unique forms of creative expression. What inspires me more than anything is inspiring others, especially empowering women and the next generation to make them

realize that passion is not only about commitment, it’s about meaning and, just as important, it’s about fun. It is what drives me daily and I want to inspire others to feel, connect , create, to believe in themselves, and to grow.” Tickets are available online at eventbrite.com. According to Jasmeeta Singh, 100% of the proceeds will go to the supported charities.

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24 October 06, 2017


Karwa Chauth Origin and Significance

The fast of Karwa Chauth is of particular importance to all Hindu married women in India. They believe that the festival ensures prosperity, longevity and well-being of their husbands. The origin of this festival was based on a very sweet and noble idea. Though this idea has lost its true sense as today the whole outlook of this festival has changed.In the ancient time, girls used to get married at a very early stage, and had to go and live with their in-laws in other villages. After marriage, if she faces any problem with her in-laws or her husband, she would have no one to talk to or seek support from. There used to be no telephones, buses and trains long ago. Her own parents and relatives would be quite far and unreachable. Thus the custom started that, at the time of marriage, when bride would reach her in-laws, she would befriend another woman there who would

be her friend or sister for life. It would be like godfriendsorgodsisters. Their friendship would be sanctified through a small Hindu ceremony right during the marriage. The Ritual Karwa Chauth is considered one of the most important Fasts observed by the married Hindu women. On this day the women pray for the welfare and long life of their husbands. The festival is followed mainly in the northern parts of the country. Married women eat food early in the morning, before sunrise. They are not supposed to eat or even drink water during the day. In the evening the ladies listen to the Karwa Chauth Katha (the legend). The fast is over after the moonrise.

October 06, 2017

The Puja Process The pooja preparations start a day in advance. Married women buy the shringar or the traditional adornments and the other Pooja items like the karwa, matthi, Heena etc. Early in the morning they prepare food and have it before sunrise. The morning passes by in other festive activities like decorating hand and feet with Heena, decorating the Pooja thali and meeting friends and relatives. In the late afternoon women gather at a common place like temple or a garden or someones’ place who has arranged the pooja. An elderly lady or the pujarin narrates the legend of Karwa Chouth. The essentials of this gathering and listening of the Karwa chauth story , a special mud pot, that is considered a symbol of lord Ganesha, a metal urn filled with water, flowers, idols

of Ambika Gaur Mata, Goddess Parwati and some fruits, mathi and food grains. A part of this is offered to the deities and the storyteller. Earlier an idol of Gaur Mata was made using earth and cowdung. Now just an idol of Goddess Parwati is kept. Every one lights an earthen lamp in their thalis while listening to the Karwa story. Sindoor, incense sticks and rice are also kept in the thali. At this time the women wear heavy saris or chunries in red , pink or other bridal colors, and adorn themselves with all other symbols of a married women like, nose pin, tika, bindi, chonp, bangles, earrings etc. Once the moon rises, the women see its reflection in a thali of water, or through a dupatta or a sieve. They offer water to the moon and seek bless-


ings. They pray for the safety, prosperity and long life of their husbands. This marks the end of the day long fast. -karwachauth.com


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28 October 06, 2017


Solve & Win 2 Free Tickets to Texas Renaissance Festival

Find 10 Words related to Delicious Desserts: • • • • • • • • • •

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October 06, 2017

Trump Has Started a Brain Drain Back to India

In 2005, two years after Sameer

Sahay arrived in the United States from India to pursue an MBA, he was thrilled when an Oregon health care company hired him and agreed to sponsor his green card. His life as an American, he thought, had begun. Twelve years later, Sahay, now 50, is still a data architect, still working for the same firm, and still waiting for that green card. It’s not clear when he’ll clear the government backlog. He does know that his provisional status stalled his career — changing jobs would have required the company to file a new petition. “Personally, I have sacrificed my career to help my family to have a better life,” Sahay says. “That has taken its toll. Had I gotten a green card, I could have moved on, moved up, done a lot more things. This held me where I was 10 years ago.” Tangled and contradictory immigration policies of this sort have frustrated Indian immigrants for years, but the United States was seen as a prize worth pursuing. Now, though, many Indians — long a vital pillar of U.S. hospitals, tech firms, and engineering efforts — are reconsidering their options. Despite a chummy Rose Garden meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June, the permanent legal status of many Indians in America has become far more uncertain since Trump’s election.

policies will trigger an Indian brain drain. Since Trump’s election, the number of Indian-born residents in the United States searching for jobs back in India has climbed more than tenfold, consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu found. Four out of 10 U.S. colleges say they’ve seen a sharp drop in international applicants for the fall term, especially among applicants from India and China, the top sources for international students.

Nearly 167,000 Indians studied at American colleges in the 2015-2016 school year. Some graduates from Indian colleges have considered setting out for Canada, which is wooing tech workers, or heading to Europe. The vet had angrily questioned the pair about their visa status. This year, the number of people applying for a high-skilled worker visa, the H-1B, dropped for the first time in four years — from 236,000 last year to 199,000, the government reported. Attorneys sensed that Trump’s travel


ban and vows to tighten vetting procedures have unnerved petitioners. The new wave of H-1B applicants began processing on Sep. 18 – with the numbers severely tightened. More applications are being challenged than ever before. Nearly 127,000 Indians were given H-1B visas to work in the United States in the 2016 fiscal year, far more than any other nationality. (The Chinese claimed 21,600 visas.) Most of the 85,000 documents awarded annually by lottery go to outsourcing companies. -foreignpolicy.com

Indian immigrants are a vital pillar of the U.S. economy, but they’re starting to reconsider their options.

In the president’s short time in office, his promises and policies — from the “Muslim ban” to a directive that may alter who gets a work visa — have convinced many foreign nationals that they are not welcome. For many of the 2.4 million Indian nationals living in the United States, including roughly 1 million who are scientists and engineers, the fears are existential; although roughly 45 percent are naturalized citizens, hundreds of thousands still depend on impermanent visas that must be periodically renewed. Changes in the U.S. skilled visa scheme could trigger large economic and intellectual losses, especially in states with many South Asian residents such as California and New Jersey. Some foreign nationals there wonder if Trump’s


30 October 06, 2017


October 06, 2017



32 October 06, 2017


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Mama’s Punjabi Recipes

Dum Aloo (Infused Baby Potatoes in Curry)

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readers, below is a reprint of Mama’s Dum Aloo recipe. It is a dish that is often made due to its simplicity but also the amazing aroma and taste that it adds to otherwise common potatoes when other items are also served. It is reprinted with some additional information and directions. This is a traditional Kashmiri Pandit dish which has been brought down to the plains of North India where it has become a tasty comfort food which is easy to make, though not made too often. It can be eaten with naan, chapatti (flat bread) or rice or together with some dahi (yogurt) or dal (lentils). Dum means to cook under pressure or to infuse the potatoes with the ingredients in the curry. This dish can be made with a lot of curry, or just a little bit, as desired. There are several ways to make dum aloo and each region adds its own spices and variations, like the stuffed potatoes of the Kashmiri style, or the Amritsari style with mustard seed oil or the Bengali style. The origin of potatoes is believed to be in what is now southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia about 7,000 to 10,000 years ago. Although indigenous in the Andes, potatoes were introduced to Europe in the second half of the 16th century by the Spanish. There are now 5,000 different types of potatoes, but 99% of those now cultivated come from varieties that originated in southcentral Chile. As of 2014, China and India produce 37% of the world’s potatoes. Raw potatoes are 79% water, 17% carbohydrates (88% of which is starch) and 2% protein and are a rich source of vitamin B6 (23%) and vitamin C (24%). They are also high on the glycemic index which can vary considerably depending on type such as red, russet or white; origin, prepa-

ration methods (whether eaten hot or cold, mashed or cubed or consumed whole), and with what it is consumed (addition of various toppings). This recipe is the one my family has made for generations when we had our own farmlands in Lyallpur. It is a simple and inexpensive recipe that comes in handy when you want to come up with a tasty dish fast. The secret to my recipe is NOT to stir the ingredients while they are cooking so that the curry taste infuses properly into the potatoes. For best results use new baby white potatoes; avoid any variety that will crumble in the curry. Most importantly, use a pot that has a heavy pot (not a light one) so that the potatoes will not stick and burn. Ingredients: • 500gm chotte aloo (new small baby potatoes) • 1 cup saddi dahin(plain yogurt) • 2 medium pyaaz (onion) • 2 cloves of lassan (garlic) • 1 clump of adrak (ginger) • 1 tbsp olive oil (or vegetable oil) • Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), haldi (turmeric powder), garam masala

Directions: 1. Wash the baby potatoes and set them aside. Do not peel them. 2. Peel the onions and chop into small pieces. Peel and cut the ginger and garlic cloves into small pieces. 3. Heat the oil in a medium sized pot and place the onions, ginger and garlic in it and do NOT stir. 4. Place the whole baby potatoes in the pot and pour the yogurt over them. Sprinkle the turmeric, salt and pepper over the yogurt and cover the pot with a tight lid. There is no need to add any water as the potatoes must cook in their own steam. Do not open the lid often and do not stir with a ladle either. 5. After 10 minutes, reduce the flame to simmer. Open the lid and poke the potatoes with a knife to see if they are tender. 6. If the potatoes are tender, then you can stir gently with a ladle making sure not to break the potatoes. 7. Sprinkle with garam masala. Serve with rice or hot chapattis. Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the oldfashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur (since renamed Faisalabad), India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her late-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.



K FOR A FRESH SM LEAVE A HALF C ELLING FRIDGE, UT LEMON IN A C Most people have lef UP t overs that the

y place in the fridge sometimes also fo for another day – an rget d Usually all the differ them for days on end only to throw them away later! ent aromas mix tog ether and some even into others. This is infuse themselves es closed lids or if so pecially true if the leftovers are not meone has left cut covered in tightly onions, garlic or oth container. Sometim er spices in an open es the source of the aro vegetables in the crisper or even fruits and breads can be ma. Though many have learned to leave an get rid of these odor open box baking so s, there is a simpler, da in the fridge to less expensive way. halves and leave the Just cut a lemon in m in an open conta iner. The lemon wi and when it starts ll ab to dry up, simply thr ow the pieces away sorb the odors, with new ones. and replace them

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October 06, 2017



Judwaa 2: Varun’s Dussehra Special Raja(Varun)andPrem(Varun,

again) are conjoined twins, who have similar reflexes. They are separated at birth by a smuggler, Charles (Zakir Hussain), who kidnaps Raja. The geek Prem grows up in the lap of luxury in London with his parents, the Malhotras; loud Raja finds shelter in a Mumbai’s fisherman’s colony. Of course when the twins’ paths cross, there’s too much fun. When you enter the movie hall for this outing, remember to let your hair down and guffaw because from the opening scene itself you’re familiar with the tropes. David Dhawan who has made three dozen vacuous comedies, with an enviable success ratio. He was even crowned the

undisputed king of comedy once. Here, he gives you a rebooted version of his 1997 comic-caper of the same name. The earlier one had Salman Khan, this one has Varun. It helps that the leading man has a mammoth following with today’s kids. And, he is viewed by those clued into Hindi mainstream cinema as a combination of Govinda and Salman, both of who carried off their kitsch routine with a certain flair. Varun doesn’t let you down either. Whether he is playing a geek or a goon, he is absolutely endearing and delivers, exactly what his daddy orders him to. The script (if you can call it that) is a combination of familiar gags borrowed from Manmohan Desai films. The sidekick stammers,

the hero repeats dialogue from various masala movies, the villain develops amnesia when hit by a coconut, a football butt allows his memory to return, etc. There’s nothing intelligible here so please stop searching. It’s basically innocent fun meant to pander to the child in you. The only ‘wicked’ thing here are the heroines’ skimpy costumes (just kidding). The girls, Samara (Taapsee) and Alishka (Jacqueline) are brought out for chartbusters Chalti Hai Kya 9 Se 12 and Oonchi Hai Building. They sportingly kiss, cuddle and are happy horsing around doing precious little. Lame lyrics, loud gags and leggy lasses never really hurt anyone. Believe me, at one point, you’re

tempted to join Varun when he is doing those perfect pelvic thrusts. J u d waa 2 could beasubstitute for your Dussehra party. Consult Salman, even he sportingly shows

Kangana on her Directorial Debut TEJU: I’ll be Charging as an Actor, Director and Producer

Kangana Ranaut recently fea-

tured in anAIB video which among others things also highlighted the pay disparity between a male and female actor. The actor, however, is extremely clear about how she wants to get her remuneration when she turns director with her next film Teju. Kangana said that she will charge for acting, directing and even share profits as a producer for her directorial debut. “I will be sharing the profits. (Smiles) I’ll be charging as an actor, as a director

and will be sharing profits as the producer,” said the actor in an interview to Filmfare. Earlier in an interview with indianexpress.com, Kangana spoke about why Teju is the best project to make a debut as a director. She said, “It is a children’s film, and I have a lot of ideas and excitement for it. But it will be a difficult project to pull off, and I am looking forward to it. It will be a light-hearted film, I can’t call it comedy, but most definitely a nice film. This is what I wanted to do.”

The actor would be playing an 80-year-old grandmother in Teju and will be use prosthetics to undergo a makeover. Teju will be filmed in Kangana’s home state Himachal Pradesh. It will be jointly produced by her production house Manikarnika Films in association with Paramhans Films of Shailesh Singh and is expected to hit the theatres in 2018. -indianexpress.com

up in a cameo in the end. -timesofindia.com

Happy Birthday



October 10, 1954

Amitabh Bachchan October 11, 1942

34 October 06, 2017 Spinners, Bumrah Help India Regain No. 1 ODI Rank BYSIDHARTH MONGA


AGPUR: (ESPN Cricinfo): India 243 for 3 (Rohit 125, Rahane 61) beat Australia 242 for 9 (Warner 53, Stoinis 46, Axar 3-38) by seven wickets India took back their No. 1 ODI ranking by shackling Australia after yet another good start and then chasing down the possibly tricky 243 with apparent ease. India won the series 4-1 - a reversal of the scoreline in the ODIs in Australia early last year - with just one century from their batsmen, that too in the last innings by Rohit Sharma, but a third successive hundred-run opening partnership between Rohit and Ajinkya Rahane. India won the final match on the dry and slow Nagpur track through spin. India’s spinners pulled back a bolted horse, conceding 134 for 4 in 30 overs between them; Australia’s Adam Zampa released all the pressure exerted by the quicks with the new ball, conceding 48 in six insipid overs before getting Rohit out with a long hop when the match was over for all practical purposes. For a change, Marcus Stoinis and Travis Head staged half a recovery from the strikes of the spinners, but the returning Jasprit Bumrah put in a stellar spell of death bowling, removing Stoinis, bowling a maiden in the 45th over, not conceding a single boundary in his last six overs. Australia went from 100 for 1 to 118 for 4 to 205 for 4 to their eventual total, which was not straightforward on this pitch. However, Rohit and Rahane absorbed the good spells from Nathan Coulter-Nile and Pat Cummins at the top, before cashing in on the absence of the unwell Kane Richardson and the error-prone spin. India, too, had to contend with the illness of Yuzvendra Chahal, but Kuldeep Yadav proved to be a more than fitting replacement, Axar Patel returned another impressive set of figures of 3 for 38, and for the first time in his career, Kedar Jadhav bowled his full allotment of 10 overs. He also kickstarted the first collapse by adding Steven Smith to the illustrious list of batsmen he has dismissed, which includes Kane Williamson, David Warner, Angelo Mathews and Tamim Iqbal among others.

Jasprit Bumrah exults after dismissing Marcus Stoinis, India v Australia, 5th ODI, Nagpur, October 1, 2017

This had come after yet another rapid start by Aaron Finch and David Warner, who seemed mindful that batting was going to get difficult once spin came on. In striving for quick runs before the inevitable slowdown, Finch took one risk too many and fell to Hardik Pandya in the 12th over. Smith and Warner added 34, but Smith, who seems to have allowed the frustrations of leading a flattering side creep into his batting, played a frustrated sweep after Jadhav had gone for 11 in his first three overs. The almost underarm delivery came slowly and bounced little. Smith didn’t even wait to check with Warner if he should review the lbw decision. There would have been lots the two could have discussed in the dressing room when Warner soon miscued an intended chip over midwicket to give Axar his first wicket. The frustration that singles weren’t coming easily enough showed in the aerial shots attempted. Warner had attempted it after reaching his fifty, but Peter Handscomb did so even before getting his eye in. The big sweep dragged from wide outside off only produced a fatal top edge. Watching in the balcony, Smith couldn’t hide his exasperation. You couldn’t blame him. You know how

ugly these Australian collapses can get. With more than half the innings to go, you wondered if they would even play the whole 50 overs out. Stoinis and Head, though, staged a recovery. They played Jadhav only down the ground, with Stoinis taking the odd risk every now and then. Stoinis did enjoy some good fortune, as he edged Axar three times without getting caught. Two of these went between MS Dhoni and Rahane, who stood a touch too wide at slip, with his left foot outside the return crease. Stoinis began to look dangerous as the last 10 overs approached. He hit Jadhav for a four and a six in his last over, and then went after Kuldeep in the 40th. Before signing off, though, Axar sent back Head with a fast yorker, which Head had already premeditated to sweep. Then it was all down to Bumrah, who first produced just enough movement to trap Stoinis and then handcuffed the rest. Only two boundaries came in the last 10 overs, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar playing an able supporting role to Bumrah. The value of these last few overs cannot be overstated. That even 242 was tricky showed in how Rohit struggled to get his timing for a long time. He didn’t score a run off the first

14 balls he faced. He tried an ungainly heave off the 14th. Had the asking rate been higher, would he have been able to take his time and pick his targets? How well Rohit picked his targets, though. Not one of the first 14 balls was pitched up to him. He was clearly looking uncomfortable, but when the 15th one was in his driving arc, he caressed it to the right of mid-off. The next full ball went sailing over mid-off. Coulter-Nile, the highest wicket-taker of the series, and Pat Cummins tested the openers, but ran out of support. As the bowling errors piled on, the India openers delighted the capacity crowd in the outskirts of Nagpur. If Rahane drove on the up through covers, Rohit managed to somehow find enough timing on this low pitch to punch a short ball for a six over long-on. Twice. Despite a slow start to the series, Rohit now topped the runs chart. If there was one blemish on the victory, it was that despite his fourth straight half-century, Rahane once again perished the moment he tried to look for a higher gear. Next for India and Australia is the T20 series, which begins Saturday, Oct. 7 at Ranchi and continues on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at Guwahati and concludes Friday, Oct. 13 at Hyderabad.


R. Herath’s 400th Wicket Seals Sri Lanka’s Victory


BU DHABI: Sri Lanka 419 (Chandimal 155, Dickwella 83) and 138 (Dickwella 40*, Yasir 5-51) beat Pakistan 422 (Azhar 85, Herath 5-93) and 114 (Herath 6-43, Dilruwan 3-46) by 21 runs How did we get here? How did we hurtle, from the dullest 11 sessions of Test cricket possible, to this stirring, heart-palpitating, dramedy of a conclusion? Sri Lanka, out of the match surely when they set out to defend 136 after lunch, yet victors by 21 runs, Rangana Herath breaking records, scuttling Pakistan again - 6 for 43 to his name. With this mild insanity of a spell, he has confirmed himself one of the greatest defenders of scores in Test history. When he floated one up beautifully to Mohammad Amir, and then got it to connive between bat and pad to hit middle stump, Herath also became the first bowler to complete 100 wickets against Pakistan. Perera thought he had Yasir Shah caught at short leg, prompting wild Sri Lankan celebrations, but was found to have overstepped. Herath doesn’t over step. His was the final triumphant act - a slider to nail poor Mohammad Abbas in front of off stump. Pakistan were visibly heartbroken. How had they lost this Test after Yasir’s 5 for 51 had swung the match almost completely in their favor? How had they been such kings with the ball in the morning, taking 6 for 69, and then become such klutzes with the bat in the next two sessions, surrendering all ten wickets for 114? So go Sri Lanka v Pakistan Tests, though - surely the most unpredictable and close-run rivalry of the past 10 years. The last time these two teams played, Sri Lanka set Pakistan a mammoth 377 runs to win, and still managed to lose.

Niroshan Dickwella remained loud behind the stumps, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 5th day, October 2, 2017


October 06, 2017

GST Shakes Up Indian Economy by Setting the Compliance Bar High N D -- On 1 July, the governmonthly tax-filing cycles, making Rajiv Kumar, vice-chairman of NITI EW


ment made an ambitious shift to what it promised was a modern, transparent and technology-driven indirect tax system to sharpen the competitive edge of a $2.3 trillion Indian economy riven by internal trade barriers and a raft of central, state and local taxes. The goods and services tax (GST) was hailed as the biggest tax reform by India in 70 years of independence, a potential game-changer that would, at one stroke, unite the country of 1.3 billion people into a common market by dismantling inter-state tariff barriers. GST subsumed 17 central, state and local taxes in line with the “one nation, one market, one tax” concept on which it was based. The new regime had tax slabs for goods and services—5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. Photo: PTI A little less than 100 days since it kicked in, the new system is yet to


settle down. While many of the lofty and intangible goals set by the government will take time to achieve, the transition has witnessed inevitable shocks. Businesses slowed production ahead of the rollout of GST to minimize tax complications while shifting to the new system. This in part led to economic growth in the April-June quarter decelerating to 5.7%, the slowest pace in three years, from 6.1% in the preceding three months. Businesses and traders also struggled to measure up in the first two

headlines about inadequate preparedness for the massive tax reform. Going by the experience of other countries that adopted GST, some economists had predicted that the tax reform would boost India’s economic growth rate by up to two percentage points in due course as it eliminates inefficiencies in the tax system. Under GST, tax is levied only on the amount of value added at each stage in the supply chain. Businesses get a rebate for the taxes paid on raw materials and services used, which will make them more competitive as it eliminates “tax on tax”. However, the production slowdown in the runup to the implementation has had an adverse impact on supplies. “The disruption caused by implementation of GST was confined to the informal sector of the economy and it has largely bottomed out in July. Its effect will now taper off,” said

Aayog, the federal policy think tank. Kumar endorsed the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s economic growth forecast for India. ADB, which follows a calendar year, on 27 September revised its 2017 growth forecast for India to 7% from its July estimate of 7.4%, reflecting “shortterm disruptions” such as last year’s demonetization and the GST rollout. What brings uncertainty about how soon businesses and the information technology (IT) systems supporting GST could settle down is the unprecedented nature and scale of the tax reform that threw up unexpected challenges to policymakers and to the IT infrastructure. A ministerial panel led by Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi has given Infosys Ltd, which set up the IT network for GSTN, time till October-end to fix 80% of the technical problems. -- Live Mint

L&T Infotech Gets $100 Million to Help Pin Down Tax Evaders

UMBAI: The ambitious initiative to use social media analytics to identify tax non-compliance is a $100 million project for the infotech arm of engineering giant Larsen & Toubro, according to a company official. Since the note ban last November, the government has been putting in lots of efforts to plug the loopholes in the taxation system using advanced technology and the attempt got an added focus since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in June had admitted that as much 99% of the banned banknotes had returned to the system, negating the stated intent of cancelling 87% of the notes in circulation. “That is really advanced analytics. Now, that is like a $100-million deal for us. It’s not a small deal,” L&T Infotech chief executive and managing director Sanjay Jalona told PTI. Terming the work awarded by

the Central Board of Direct Taxes as a “high volume digital deal”, he elaborated that the project involves creating a ‘semantic web’where web pages are structured and tagged in such a way that can be directly read by the computers. “We are creating a systematic web on a person. If his wife is going to the Seychelles and putting photos on Instagram, we will capture it ... that is really advanced analytics,” Jalona said. It can be noted that in its efforts to shore up tax collections in a country with among the lowest tax to GDP (gross domestic product) ratios among its peers, the government has decided to use the best that data analytics offers. A news report last month had said it was a multi-year contract where L&T Infotech would operate on a build-own-operate-transfer basis. Jalona said apart from the work on the CBDT project, the company,

which was listed last year, is working on other high value digital deals well like a project to digitise parent L&T’s construction vertical “at the core”. This project involves plan and machinery optimisation for the company through interventions like sharing of high cost assets, he said. Jalona said the company is investing continuously on the emerging digital technologies, which now constitutes for 30% of its revenue. He, however, asserted that margins will not be diluted as the company undergoes this change. He said the proportion of digital revenues will keep growing and possibly in two years, everything may be digital for

the industry. He said the company is also focusing strongly on blockchain and pointed out to a slew of examples of work with Indian, American and European clients on the front. The technology, which is basically a ledger that is not held by one person, but multiple parties in an open architecture, can be used very effectively for land records, Jalona said. In a related development, gold smuggling in India is likely to rise during the country’s peak holiday season as buyers try to avoid paying goods and services tax (GST) and to dodge new transparency rules. InAugust, India moved to include gold sales under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) that makes it mandatory for jewellers to keep records of customers’ personal identification numbers or tax code number for transactions above $761.50. -- Live Mint


Hiranandani Ltd Enters Gas Business via LNG Terminal


EW DELHI: India’s H-Energy Pvt. Ltd, a unit of real estate group Hiranandani, will start operations at its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Maharashtra by May 2018, its chief executive said. India plans to raise the share of natural gas in its energy mix to 15% in three years from the current 6.5%, according to a plan set out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. H-Energy has invested Rs1700 crore ($261 million) to build its 4 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) regassification terminal near the Jaigarh port in the state, Darshan Hiranandani told Reuters. “We have already laid a 60 kilometre pipeline connecting our plant to the Jaigarh port,” Hiranandani said, adding his firm would initially import spot cargoes to make the super cooled fuel affordable to price sensitive Indian customers. The global market is currently flooded with cheap LNG with many suppliers queuing up to sell volumes to India on a spot basis, a senior gas consultant said. Average spot LNG price for October delivery stood at $8.08 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), according to a note issued by brokerage Emkay Global. The company aims to expand the plant to 10mtpa, Hiranandani said. Before embarking on the next phase of expansion, the CEO said the company wanted to first build a 600 kilometre pipeline to connect its plant to Mangalore. H-Energy is among the three companies in India which will be adding LNG capacity to a gas-hungry nation in 2018. The other two projects are a 5mtpa terminal at Ennore and a 5 mtpa terminal at Mundra in Gujarat.


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October 06, 2017


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