NRI Top Stories ( Page 2 of 26 )

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Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams to Soon Take up Hindu Sanatana Dharma Classes to NRI Children April 27, 2019 10:35

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), an independent trust which manages the world famous Tirumala Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh in India, on the request of scores of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) announced that it will soon be taking up classes on Hindu Sanatana Dharma to the children of NRIs, said Tirupati Joint Executive Officer Sri B.Lakshmikantham.During a recent visit to Abu Dhabi, the JEO received numerous requests from NRIs in Middle East state to train their children in Sanatana Dharma. Sanatana Dharma is the term used to denote the “eternal” or absolute set of duties or religiously ordained practices incumbent upon all Hindus, regardless of class, caste, or a section. Lakshmikantham addressing the media said: “So we are chalking out some action plan on this. In the months of June, July we will send our expert scholars to foreign countries to train our NRI children in tenets of Hindu Dharma, Chaturveda, Ramayana and Mahabharata epics.”The JEO also said he will try his best to solve the issues pertaining to all 48 temples present across the country under the umbrella of TTD by visiting all of them.The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily, taking the count to 30 to 40 million people annually on average, while on special occasions and festivals, the number of pilgrims shoots up to 500,000, making it the most-visited holy place in the world.By Sowmya Sangam

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National Commission for Women Chief to Hold Meetings with Women Abandoned by NRI Husbands April 24, 2019 11:20

As the cases of NRI husbands abandoning wives is increasing gradually, the Indian government is making an effort to curb this. In such a bid, the National Commission for Women will hold walk-in meetings every week with women who have been abandoned by their NRI husbands to hear their grievances.National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma said the meetings would be held every Monday from 3-4 pm to hear the grievances of the complainants who are suffering in cases of NRI marriages.The meetings would help in ensuring that their matter is heard in person and all assistance required is provided promptly, she added.The NCW is a nodal agency appointed by the Women and Child Development Ministry to look into the matter of NRI husbands absconding and abandoning their wives.By Sowmya Sangam

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OCI Card Holders Can Now Write Entrance Exams for Professional Courses in Karnataka April 17, 2019 09:54

In a piece of good news for OCI card holders longing to study in Karnataka, the state High Court has ruled that Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders can now write entrance exams to professional courses in the state under the general quota. The OCI holders who were once considered to be non-resident Indians and fell under NRI quota for college admissions will now be considered the same as with citizens of India for state entrance exams, judgment ruled. Several students holding OCI cards approached the court challenging the notion that they were not eligible for general quota seats under Karnataka’s Common Entrance Test (CET). A petition had been filed by Pranav V Deshpande along with other OCI card-holding students. In addition to medical and dental courses, individuals with an OCI can now write entrance exams to professional courses, as well as engineering.The judgment was delivered by Justice Krishna S Dixit who also annulled the inclusion of OCI cardholders in the same category as NRIs.Citing that an amendment to the Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions act made in 2017 which does not include ‘Overseas Citizens of India or Overseas Citizens of India Cardholders within the definition of Non-resident Indians,’ the court made a judgment that OCI holders be considered on par with citizens of India."A Writ of Declaration issues to the effect that, the impugned Rule 5 of the Karnataka Selection of Candidates for Admission to Government Seats in Professional Educational Institution Rules, 2006, to the extent it prescribes Indian Citizenship, is not enforceable against the Overseas Citizens of India Cardholders," the court order further reads.The CET or Common Entrance Test was started in 1994 as a criterion to permit students to set foot in a number of professional courses under the government quota. These courses include seats in Dental, Medical, Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy, Engineering and Architecture courses, among others.By Sowmya Sangam

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Indian Diaspora ‘Frustrated’ at Restricted Voting Rights in Indian Elections: Survey April 10, 2019 15:46

Non-Resident Indians were recently turned down from voting online or proxy voting at Lok Sabha elections starting April 11. A survey found for that reason, NRIs across the United Kingdom and Europe are feeling “frustrated” at only being allowed to vote in the Indian elections by traveling back their constituency to cast their vote. The survey, conducted by UK-based Indian diaspora think tank Bridge India, found that the large number of NRIs are overwhelmingly in favor of being able to vote through their local consulates or embassies. “Less than 6 percent were happy with the status quo, while 61 percent said they should be allowed to instead vote at their local consulate or embassy and 17 percent said they should be allowed to appoint a proxy to cast their vote for them,” Bridge India said in a statement on Monday. "More than 60 percent also strongly agreed with the statement that Indians should be allowed dual citizenship, which is currently not allowed,” it noted. The survey received over 350 responses over the last month, with one-third of the respondents identifying as NRIs and two-thirds as Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs). From among the respondents, 20 percent identified themselves as left of center on the political spectrum, 22 percent as centrist and 29 percent as for the right of center. Bridge India will release the complete results of its wider Indian diaspora survey later in the year. The survey's interim results coincided with the non-profit think tank's “Countdown to the Indian General Elections: What should we expect?” event at the Henry Jackson Society in London on Monday. The panelists at the event, which included strategists and authors, analyzed the importance of the 2019 Indian General Election and their likely impact on India-UK relations. “If it is a BJP-led government, India-UK relations would move forward along the lines of the November 2015 visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when a joint statement on closer political and security cooperation was struck… in the case of a Congress-led government, it would be a case of starting from ground zero,” said Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, Senior Fellow for South Asia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). “Some of the big successes of the bilateral relationship, such as Masala Bonds, as the UK seeks out global partners in a post-Brexit context will benefit from continuity in government [in India],” added Pratik Dattani, Managing Director, EPG Economic and Strategy Consulting. -Sangam Sowmya  

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Villagers in Punjab Relying More on NRIs for Development Than on Politicians April 08, 2019 13:01

It’s election time in India and most of the village residents in and around the country rely on political party leaders to change their fates but the villages in Jagraon at Punjab are not waiting for big announcements on development from politicians but instead expecting NRIs to change the face of their villages. The villagers were quoted saying: “The NRIs are more important than political leaders for us.”Chamkaur Singh, a farmer from Chakkar village in Punjab which is known for work done by NRIs, says, “For us, the family of NRI Late Ajmer Singh Sidhu is more significant than politicians who come to seek votes and make tall promises at the time of polls. They have provided money for the best sewerage system, wider roads, NRI guest house, Panchayat Ghar, clean water supply and the Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy.” Since the village is known for its NRI-aided infrastructure, the politicians only make a perfunctory visit here, say villagers. Chakkar has over 100 NRI families. At Kamalpura village, a group of villagers has collected Rs 35 lakh - a bulk of it from NRIs and their kin. “We have to collect money for the Rs 6-crore advanced sewerage system being constructed with the help of Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal… If we wait for government funds, we may have to wait for 70 years, but this way we expect to get the money in next few years,” said Kamalpura village head Sukhwinder Singh, “NRIs are like the government for us as they do so much for the village,” he added.The NRIs say that they owe it to the villages they belong to. “We are not concerned about what the government or elected representatives do for our village. We love the village we were born in. The money is the least we can provide for its development,” said Amarjit Singh, an NRI from the village who runs a transport business in England. He and his brothers recently contributed Rs 11 lakh and can be credited with starting a private college for girls which has made a difference to female students in 15 villages of Jagraon, Dakha, Raikot and Barnala areas. “With the active participation and contribution by NRIs, we have set up a Kaddon Nishkam Sewa Society for the development of village. We can spend as per our wish for the development of the village and the cost of work turns out to be lower than government projects,” village sarpanch Parminder Singh pointed out.Gurdip Singh, who lives in Canada, said he wanted to make his village to have good infrastructure and to help the needy.“With some help from NRIs, we have got marriages of many poor girls solemnized. Also with the contribution of the NRIs, we spend on the poor patients who are unable to afford costly treatment,” said Davinder Singh, sarpanch of Chankoian Khurd village.By Sowmya Sangam

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NRIs In Sydney To Hold A Discussion On Significance To Support PM Modi March 30, 2019 14:23

The Indian origins in Sydney are organizing a programme on Sunday where the participants will discuss why it is important to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he leads the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into general elections in April. The venue is iconic Sydney Opera House, located in the bay of Sydney Harbour. As the first phase of polling on April 11 draws near, programs to reinforce the ruling party’s efforts to retain power will be organized in several locations outside India. “The difference between 2014 and now is that earlier these programs were conducted extempore, and now it is more systematic since we have strengthened our support system in over 30 countries. The PM’s interactions with the diaspora itself has given the exercise a fresh impetus,” said Vijay Chauthaiwale, in charge of the BJP’s foreign affairs department. The party is counting on supporters in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Denmark, Malaysia and across the Gulf region. Jay Shah, an information technology (IT) professional who is part of the Overseas Friends of BJP in Australia, said at least three programs will be organized in Australia over the weekend to muster support for Modi and his policies. He said issues of “national security, the development record of the Modi government and the foreign policy initiatives” have had a clear resonance on the ground. The BJP’s campaign is also being shored up by the vast network of volunteers associated with the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the overseas arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). BJP is not the only party relying on Indian diaspora to create a favorable atmosphere for it. Parties like Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal, and Aam Admi Party also bank on the Non-Resident Indian pool for raising money and manpower to strengthen campaigns. While there is no data either with the parties or the Election Commission on how many NRIs turn up to vote, 71,735 Indians abroad are registered as voters with the Election Commission, of which 66,866 are men, 4,849 women and 20 belong to the third gender. By Sowmya Sangam  

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Grim Response from Telugu NRIs for Lok Sabha Elections March 22, 2019 10:27

Despite potent dissemination regarding the NRI voting is put into effect, the Telangana State Election Commission is receiving a lukewarm response from natives of Telangana putting down roots in foreign parts.The Telangana election office received just 585 applications from non-resident Indians hailing from Telangana. The received applications additionally required to be scrutinized prior to deciding on how many of them are entitled to be given voter ID cards and the final eligible number would be proclaimed on March 25. In the voters' list published by the Telangana Chief Electoral Officer Dr. Rajat Kumar on February 22, the total number of voters stood at 2.95 crores in Telangana, out of which the Overseas/ NRI voters are at a very low of 1,122. Of the total 1.31 crore population of NRIs across the world, a good number of them belong to both Telugu states. However, the very less NRI voters' number is an indication of how reluctant is the Indian diaspora to cast their franchise in elections. According to Prakash Kapila, a Telugu NRI from New Jersey, the timing of 2019 elections (in mid-April) proved to be a big dampener. "Majority of NRI families from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia don't prefer to come in hot summer here because it will be quite difficult for families to adjust to the high temperatures. The distance is so long from India that we have to travel with the whole family and the travel expenses itself cost Rs 3 to Rs 4 lakh (for to and fro tickets from the U.S.)," he said. Prakash said: “If NRIs are allowed to vote in Indian embassies in various countries instead of physically present condition, a big change could be seen. Almost all eligible NRI voters would prefer to cast their vote in elections without fail, he stressed.” Prakash added that some of his friends went all the way from the U.S. to Telangana in last winter as the assembly elections were held on December 7, which was very convenient for families to get acclimatized to the weather at that time. As of now, overseas Indians have to register as voters, come to India, go to their constituency with the original passport issued to them when they had gone abroad and cast their vote.By Sowmya Sangam

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Candidates Offering Free Air Ticket to NRIs for Casting Vote Will Face Disqualification: Election Commission March 18, 2019 15:52

Ahead of Lok Sabha elections in India, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is issuing stringent mandates to steer clear of anything below the belt. Similarly, any candidate canvassing for votes overseas found luring Non-Resident Indian (NRI) voters with a free air ticket to cast vote may lose his/her candidature or end up in jail, election commission warned.In exhaustive guidelines laid out by the EC on the conduct of candidates and voters in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections, the top poll conducting authority has said the candidate was free to go overseas for canvassing."All expenditure incurred by those candidates, their party agents or party leaders on their travel, boarding, lodging etc. who travel to overseas countries for the purpose of canvassing in their favour to seek votes of overseas electors residing there, would be deemed to be the expenditure incurred or authorized by the candidates in connection with their election and will have to be included in their account of election expenses," the EC said."Moreover, any inducement to overseas electors by way of air tickets or any other allurements to them, in cash or kind, to come to India for the purpose of voting at the election would amount to the electoral offence of ‘bribery’ within the meaning of section 171B of the IPC as also the corrupt practice of ‘Bribery’ within the meaning of section 123(1) of the Representation of the People Act.” There are 71,735 overseas electors enrolled in the current electoral rolls in India. The EC has made it clear that there is no provision of online voting or proxy voting yet for NRIs. All the NRI voters will have to travel in person to India carrying Indian passport as identity proof to cast their vote, go to the booth where the person’s details are registered and vote.By Sowmya Sangam

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Lok Sabha Elections: Social Media Platforms Much in Demand Among Indians Abroad to Propel Support March 18, 2019 10:56

As Indian general election is scheduled to take place next month, not only country’s residents, but also Indians living out of the country are making an effort to make their favored party triumph in the elections. Indians living in the United States are using social media platforms to reach out back home. The Overseas Friends of Bharatiya Janata Party USA (OFBJP USA), a volunteer group, has been organizing ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ meets across the United States. Krishna Reddy, president of the OFBJP USA said the places where meets have been planned include Tampa, Washington, D.C., Sacramento, Boston, New Jersey, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York. The preliminary meets began Friday and were to continue over the next few days. According to Reddy, volunteers are reaching out to their friends and relatives back home asking for support for the BJP and using their WhatsApp groups to share content in favor of the political party. “We understand the power of technology. Each volunteer can reach out to at least 200 people in their network and spread the message in favor of the Modi government,” said Reddy. On Friday, the OFBJP held a meet at Tampa, Florida, for which around 350 people turned up to show their support. A similar meet was held on Saturday night in Washington, D.C. with claims of about 300 people in attendance. Adapa Prasad, vice-president of the group, who was at the helm at the Washington meeting, spoke about the heavy participation of the Telugu community. He said, “While we have over 600 volunteers in the Washington, D.C. area, about 250-300 would be Telugus.” Not just the OFBJP, but the wider campaign ‘Nris4Modi2019’ of which the group is also a part, is seeing volunteers take up several unique initiatives.                           (Image source from: Facebook/BJPOFUSA) In Charlotte, North Carolina, Aravind Modini the social media in-charge for ‘Nris4Modi2019’ said volunteers were heading to local Indian grocery stores to offer a cup of tea and speak to the people there about why the BJP deserves their as well as their family’s vote. In fact, Telangana Rashtra Samithi is also striving. Arvind Thakkalapalli, secretary TRS USA, says WhatsApp groups have been formed for each parliamentary constituency with Non-Resident Indian (NRIs) supporters specific to that region “We have had conference calls with a few MP candidates during the process of forming campaign groups. These groups will comprise a local Telangana team as well as TRS activists who will reach out to voters with the help of local cadre,” said Thakkalapalli. Besides this, he said digital pamphlets are being circulated at the village level and content is being spread via social media. “Our NRI team will be visiting India for campaigning, the way we did for the Assembly election,” he said. The Indian general election is scheduled to be held in 7 phases from 11 April 2019 to 19 May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha. The counting of votes will be conducted on 23 May 2019 and on the same day the results will be declared. By Sowmya Sangam

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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: 92% of India’s Overseas Registered Voters Are Keralites March 14, 2019 15:57

Amid confusion over NRI voting in India’s Lok Sabha elections that are scheduled to take place next month, 92 percent of Kerala descents staying overseas registered themselves as NRI voters, making it literal that Malayali’s are obsessed with politics and ones who are active in voting ardently. There’s a saying that if you take put Malayali’s out of the country, they will still turn up to vote. The state has witnessed an increase in the number of overseas elector’s i.e from 12,653 in 2014 to 66,584 as of January 30, 2019. The increase is recorded to be fivefold regardless of the fact the number is small inn fraction compared to the country’s total NRI population of 1.3 crores. The majority of 71,735 overseas electors registered in the country hail from Kerala and that evidence shows enthusiasm among non-resident Keralites to take part in the polling.Statistic data further reveals that of the total 66,584 overseas electors from the state, 3729 are women and eight third gender persons have registered.The expat organization has conducted mass online voter enrolment drives, especially after Lok Sabha passed a bill in August 2018 to allow NRIs to appoint proxy voters who can vote for them.Till now, NRIs can vote in their hometown after getting registered as an overseas voter. As of now, there is no provision for online voting despite the fact that many are keen to do so.As of now, in order to cast their votes, overseas Indians have to register as voters, come to India, go to their constituency with the original passport issued to them when they had gone abroad.An expert committee of the Election Commission of India had said no to e-voting for NRIs but approved proxy voting. Recently, a bill to extend proxy voting to NRIs was passed in the Lok Sabha, but it is pending in the Rajya Sabha. It is set to lapse on the dissolution of the present Lok Sabha on June 3.By Sowmya Sangam

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No Online Voting, NRIs Should Be Present Physically with Passport and Cast Vote: Election Commission March 13, 2019 11:37

As General Elections 2019 in India is imminent, the Chief Electoral Officer of Goa has asked the police to investigate misinformation regarding online voting of Non-Resident Indians being forwarded on social media platforms. Elections for Goa's two Lok Sabha seats, with 11.31 lakh voters, and bypolls for three Assembly seats will be held on April 23. In a press statement issued Tuesday, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer has made it clear that the Election Commission of India (ECI) had not made any such online voting provision for NRIs. "It is observed that some people are spreading fake news through social media using the logo of Election Commission of India, creating confusion among the general public," the CEO statement said. "Taking cognizance of such fake news and complaint received about the same, the office of Chief Electoral Officer has referred the matter to the police department to investigate," the statement informed. As of now, in order to cast their votes, overseas Indians have to register as voters, come to India, go to their constituency with the original passport issued to them when they had gone abroad. An expert committee of the ECI had said no to e-voting for NRIs but approved proxy voting. Recently, a bill to extend proxy voting to NRIs was passed in the Lok Sabha, but it is pending in the Rajya Sabha. It is set to lapse on the dissolution of the present Lok Sabha on June 3. Earlier on February 22 this year, the ECI had filed a complaint with Delhi police, asking it to track down those spreading "fake news" that NRIs can cast their vote online in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. By Sowmya Sangam

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TRS Keen to Open 100 NRI Units Abroad, Says MP Kavitha March 06, 2019 14:38

Telangana’s ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi Non-Resident Indian (NRI) wing is keen on establishing its units in at the minimum 100 countries across the world before the party’s plenary meeting likely to be held on April 27 in a mark of TRS foundation day.Currently, TRS party has its subdivisions in about 40 countries and TRS NRI wing is in a bid to garner support from Telangana NRIs in several other countries.On the occasion, Kavitha asked TRS NRI wing to take initiative and increase the presence of TRS in different countries for helping Telangana NRIs create a platform and beef up its presence for the welfare of all Telangana people in respective countries. Kavitha further pointed out that the entire nation had its eyes on Telangana State which was being developed as a role model for others. She appreciated TRS NRI wing members for their involvement and gathering support for TRS across the world, during the Assembly elections. She asked them to join the party’s mission in the upcoming Parliamentary elections and ensure its victory in 16 Lok Sabha divisions.-Sowmya Sangam

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