The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) is hosting its convention on 5th and 6th of January, 2017 at Hotel Le Meridien, Bengaluru in conjunction with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conducted by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. This convention in Bengaluru attracts investors, political functionaries, business leaders from India and abroad and would be an important milestone which will chart out a course of action for the future.
GOPIO, founded in New York in 1989, has been serving the 30 million global Indian community for the last 27 years. GOPIO serves as an effective platform to channel NRI/PIO talents and investments to India their motherland. Over the years, GOPIO has taken up issues of civil rights and human rights violations of the Indian Diaspora around the world and are pleased to say that our communities have joined the political mainstream in many of the Diaspora countries. The philanthropic and social causes undertaken by GOPIO among the needy and distressed NRIs and PIOs are acclaimed by one and all.
However, visitors from abroad are ill prepared for the sudden demonetization of high value currency notes in India.
"One group that will be hit hard by the government's restrictions will be hundreds delegates reaching Bengaluru for the Pravasi convention from all over the world," said Sunny Kulathakal, Convention Convener and GOPIO's Global Ambassador. He added that many of them have in their possession demonetized currency notes that they may find difficult to exchange on arrival in India. GOPIO has requested the government to facilitate the exchange of these notes at various Indian embassies or other means.
Earlier GOPIO President Niraj Baxi wrote a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to extend by six months the cutoff date for depositing the demonetized notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations.
"NRIs and PIOs should be allowed to exchange whatever amount they have as long as they show the proof of past conversion of foreign currency to Indian currency in the last 10 years," said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International.
GOPIO will discuss this and other issues at the convention in Bangalore on January 5 and 6, 2017 at Hotel Le Meridien, Bengaluru. Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shri. M. J. Akbar will inaugurate the Convention at 4 PM on 5th. The Chief Ministers of Southern States of India and other prominent personalities will attend.
On 6th morning Dr. Shashi Tharoor, MP will inaugurate the panel discussion on Diaspora issues. It will be followed by panel dialogue on philanthropy by Lord Dilgit Rana, Lord Raj Loomba and others. Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien will be attending the valedictory function.
The Awards Banquet function at 7 PM on Jan. 6th will be attended by the Governor Vajubhai Vala, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other dignitaries. GOPIO Community Service AwardS also will be presented at the Finale Banquet event. This year's awardees are as follows:
Dr. Abraham M. George, New Jersey, USA and Tamil Nadu, India
Abraham M. George is engaged in several social projects including: Shanti Bhavan Residential School (www.shantibhavanonline.org) for children from socially and economically disadvantaged families; Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM - www.iijnm.org); Baldev Medical & Community Center to address the healthcare needs of over 15 villages in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. His work in the field of environmental health was instrumental for the removal of lead from gasoline tin India in 2000 and the creation of National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning. George is the author of four books in international finance and environment. His recent book was "India Untouched: The forgotten face of rural poverty.
Chandu Patel, California, USA and Gujarat
Chandu Patel has set up the Sabarkantha Health and Research Foundation (SHRF) to augment the state's healthcare system. He started Krishna General Hospital in Himatnagar and plans to upgrade it to a medical college. The SHRF has also set up Geeta Girls Hostel for 300 college students and C. K. Patel Mahila Arts College. Chandu has also contributed to projects for abandoned children, senior citizens and other marginalized sections of society. His donations helped the victims of the Gujarat earthquake (2001), the Odisha super cyclone (1999) and other natural disasters. Chandu has been bestowed with many honors and awards for his community service and philanthropy.
Dr. George Cherian, Bahrain
After a 25 year career in Neonatology that spanned 3 continents, for the last 7 years Dr. Cherian has taken leadership of the American Mission Hospital in Bahrain. The hospital has been providing high quality care regardless of the ability to pay for the last 120 years. The Indian migrants who cannot afford insurance for healthcare have largely been the beneficiaries of hospital's policy. A sustainable model of financing to provide this care has been created to enable us to grow and expand our reach. This model of not for profit care can be modeled in all economies of scale in both developed and developing economies.
Naliandra (Jay) Naidu, Durban, South Africa
Jay is currently employed as group head (home care) for Amka, a major toiletry and household company in South Africa. He has been with Amka for 28 years. He studied marketing and sales at various business institutions in South Africa. He has been involved in various community and charity drives within South Africa. He is very passionate about the plight of women and has worked on training women and placing them in employment. He is currently setting up a training academy where abused and unemployed women will be trained and employed.