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Sabarimala Row: Kerala Police Issue Warning to NRIs Inciting Riots November 21, 2018 05:31

Amid irrepressible protests in Kerala over Sabarimala temple, now warning has been issued to Non-Resident Indians who have allegedly been inciting riots and fermenting trouble over the Sabarimala issue. A notice issued by the Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner says that NRIs found spreading instability about the Sabarimala issue through social media posts and voice notes will have their passports canceled, and be forced to return to India. The notice says, "It has come to our notice that posts and voice messages calling for riot with the intention of creating instability are being spread through social media in connection with Sabarimala pilgrimage. Those who spread these messages will be booked under non-bailable sections. The cyber cell of the police has collected details of those who are spreading such malicious messages from abroad. Legal action has been taken to cancel their passports and to make them return to the state." Related content: Sabarimala: SC Agrees to Hear Review Petitions on Jan 22  When TNM asked the Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner P Prakash IPS (Indian Police Service) about the reasons for which the notice had been issued, he said, "The circular was given to address Sabarimala-related provocative voice notes videos and photos, and social media posts, it says those sending such things will have strict action taken against them." When pressed about the reason for including the warning to foreign nationals about their passports being canceled for indulging in such activities, he said, "It is on the basis of the DGP's circular. We have written like this because the highest number of such posts are coming from abroad, and [it needs to be known] that strict action will be taken against them. Their passports will be canceled and a case taken up against them." He reiterated, "This is a criminal case, it will be taken up in that matter. Hence the circular was given as an advance warning." The notice is being circulated on social media and causing some indignation with those who align themselves to Save Sabarimala protests alleging that this was a restraint strategy of the Kerala police. Even NRIs are threatened by saying that their PP will be cancelled. Utter Chaos. Govt must enquire and take action against city police Commissioner, Tiruvanathapuram. #SaveSabarimala https://t.co/ib3n2C4MEF cc @MEAIndia @SushmaSwaraj @HMOIndia pic.twitter.com/6VNTE4dqAC — Puushothman Vaikkath (@purushueme) November 20, 2018 Hope MEA will assure safety of NRIs. I cannot afford cancellation of my passport. Should I renounce Indian citizenship for living as an Ayyappa Devotee & stand with my temple Sushma ji @SushmaSwaraj ? https://t.co/uXcSWSbd37 — Anjali George (@Kuvalayamala) November 20, 2018 -Sowmya Sangam

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Clean Ganga Fund: NRIs Donate Only 2%, Says Report October 23, 2018 10:56

Of the total contributions received by the government's Clean Ganga Fund since 2015, more than 86 percent was from government departments and some other entities, the Indian Express reported on Tuesday.The Non-resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) contributed only 2 percent said the report, which was based on records received by the Express in response to a Right to Information (RTI) application.Private organizations contributed Rs 19.54 crore, or 10.32 percent of the total sum, from March 2015 till 30 September 2018, while NRIs and PIOs donated Rs 3.76 crore in the same period.Contributions to the Fund under the heading "individuals", presumably Indian citizens, totaled Rs 2.37 crore, or 1.25 percent of the entire amount. The remaining amount, which pushed the total figure to Rs 189.17 crore, was contributed by "government departments, government organizations, public sector undertakings", the report said.The Clean Ganga Fund was formed by a cabinet decision in September 2014 for financing at least ten different kinds of activities for cleaning the Ganga.Some of them are: - Activities outlined under the 'Namami Gange' programme for cleaning of river Ganga.- Control of non-point pollution from agricultural runoff, human defecation, cattle wallowing, etc.- Establishment of waste treatment and disposal plants along the river around the cities.The Indian Express report, quoting the Fund's website, said it was established by the government with "voluntary contributions from residents of the country and NRIs/PIOs and others to harness their enthusiasm to contribute towards the conservation of the river Ganga".-Sowmya Sangam

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Indians Abroad Earn an Average of Rs 93 Lakh: HSBC Survey October 23, 2018 07:20

Indians living or working overseas earn an average salary of Rs 79 lakh a year whereas foreign expats in India earn an average of Rs 93 lakh, according to an HSBC survey.The survey "Expat Explorer Survey 2018" shows that a significant number of expats in India are from Australia, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, France, Germany, and the Netherlands and about 44 percent of them own some property in India. But then, 64 percent of Indians living abroad possess property in India.The study, based on 232 interviews, ranks India 12th in terms of comprehensive country ranking, 22nd for experience, 14th for economics, and 9th for the family. More than half (54 percent) of expats here are assured that their existence in India can aid build their personal wealth. They have significant assurance and hope in their financial futures and a solid basis of the existing scenario.Two-thirds relish occupying themselves in the local culture and their financial gain has allowed more expats in India than elsewhere to support causes, participate in local community events and donate to charity. According to the survey, highly educated, and often working in engineering or manufacturing industries, 34 percent expats moved to progress their career and 22 percent to develop their skillset. Some struggle with the new way of working through, and 41 percent say they work longer hours - almost twice the global average.Their salaries are only slightly better than at home, rising by 2 percent compared with a 25 percent global average. But with a lower cost of living than they are used to most have more disposable income than they did at home, according to the survey.The picture is quite dissimilar when it comes to Indians moving or living overseas. Europe is the first choice for 45 percent of Indians while only 29 percent have moved to the Middle East to work or settle. An average of 84 percent of Indians living abroad is known to be employed while only 51 percent of them have offsprings.Indians overseas also seem preoccupied with the property at home. A quarter own three or more somewhere in the world. With almost half moving to improve their earnings, the average income has risen 31 percent and almost two-thirds spend it on homes in India. Half plan to live there when they go home and 40 percent have friends or family currently staying there.With more than half (55 percent) relying on friends and family for financial advice compared with 40 percent of expats in general, the expat life for an Indian abroad often involves a tightknit group of people.-Sowmya Sangam

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India Suspends Passports of 60 NRIs Accused of Deserting Wives October 05, 2018 10:28

About 60 Non-Resident Indian (NRI) passports have been suspended by Indian passport authorities accused of deserting their wives in India soon after marriage. In May this year, the Regional Passport Office (RPO) in Chandigarh, started the procedure of suspending the passport pursuing complaints filed by the abandoned wives. According to a report by SBS Australia, most NRIs whose Indian passports have been suspended are based in Canada and Australia. The reported cited information received from Chandigarh's Regional Passport Officer, Sibash Kabiraj. While the Indian government is not insisting on the deportation of these NRIs, it’s informing the Australian authorities about the status of the affected NRIs’ passports, Kabiraj told SBS. Once a passport is suspended, all the valid visas in the passport are revoked, making the passport holder an illegal immigrant in their country of residence. And if the person is in India, he is barred from traveling abroad."This effectively means that those passports are not valid now and that makes all the visas linked to those passports invalid too," Kabiraj said. 'It's up to the Australian authorities to act now that they know these people are illegally in their country." There are more than 40,000 women from Punjab and Haryana, who have been abandoned within months after marriage to an NRI groom without a legal divorce, the Times of India reported.Related content: NCW Appeals MEA to Foil Ex Parte NRI DivorcesThe Chandigarh RPO, earlier this year started a helpline with an intent to assist the abandoned wives to seek help. More than 50 women call the helpline every day, and are assisted by volunteers in filing complaints against their husbands, the report added."We receive calls every day and we act on those where there's evidence - such as a court order or non-compliance with the summons of a court," Kabiraj told SBS.The RPO has received 2,000 complaints and will start processing them soon. About 70 percent of such cases are from Punjab, according to the Times of India.The Indian government has strengthened its endeavor against absentee NRIs in the recent months, with progressive backing from the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare.Punjab's NRI Commission has recommended suspension of as many as 25 passports in the last two months, the Times of India added.The Chandigarh RPO after flooding with complaints started suspending passports. It is taking action against NRIs whom FIRs have been registered and courts have issued summons or warrants.The passports were suspended after the show-cause notices to truant NRIs did not raise any reply.-Sowmya Sangam

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SEBI Relaxes Foreign Fund Rules for Indians Abroad September 22, 2018 06:38

India's market regulator on Friday laid-back norms on foreign investments by Indians based abroad after concerns over stricter regulations rattled markets earlier this month.The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said it accepted the recommendations by a panel it had set up to review the rules for foreign portfolio investments.Indian markets, earlier this month, fell sharply after a group of fund managers raised fresh concerns over an April circular from the market regulator related to rules on foreign funds ownership by entities of Indian origin, which they said could lead to massive dollar outflows from the economy.The panel, headed by a former central bank deputy governor, had recommended, among other modifications, that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) be permitted to invest as foreign portfolio investors if an individual holding is under 25 percent and group holding is under 50 percent in a fund.By Sowmya Sangam

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NRC: NRI Body Seeks Indian Citizenship to Hindu Immigrants September 11, 2018 07:44

A group of Indian-American organizations in the United States has launched a campaign seeking Indian citizenship to Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh who have been left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.The group under the banner of organizations like SinghaBahini America, Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) and NavaBanga are seeking support for the Citizenship Bill 2016, which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to persecuted minorities from India's neighboring nations who have come to the country for safety.The members of the group had met Indian leaders during the recently concluded World Hindu Congress in Chicago.In the light of the well-intended NRC to help identify the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants who came as fortune seekers, it has come to light that a large number of Hindu population find themselves left out, said a media release issued by the group.Based on estimates, around 1.4 million to 2.5 million Hindus find themselves in a position to be stripped of their Indian citizenship, it said. "Forefathers of Hindu brothers and sisters had come to India because of the persecution they faced in Bangladesh, yet they had not given up their faith."To ensure that the resources of India go to the citizens, NRC in every state is needed, but at the same time it is equally important that India protects poor Hindus from Bangladesh, the statement said."The Citizenship Bill, 2016 which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted minority Hindus, Sikhs and Jains who came from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan till 2014 is thus a must to showcase a historic Hindu Unity to send a message to our own people," the group said.By Sowmya Sangam

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TDP Eyes Overseas Indians Votes September 07, 2018 10:11

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has set its sights on Non-Resident Indian (NRI) votes with a Bill to extend the facility of 'proxy voting' to abroad Indians, on the lines of the one on service voters, which was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier this month.The issue reportedly came up for discourse at the State-level workshop of the party on Wednesday.Related content: BJP Objects to 'Proxy Voting' for Domestic MigrantsTDP sources said that Chief Minister and party national president N. Chandrababu Naidu discussed the Bill at the workshop.The Bill would become an Act if it was passed in the Rajya Sabha as well. The TDP needs to gear up in this regard. The party has to prepare a list of NRI voters in each district. Necessary plans have been chalked out to win the confidence of NRI voters, he said.By Sowmya Sangam

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NRIs Can Buy Up to 5% in a Security, Says Govt. September 04, 2018 10:45

Abroad investors of Indian origin are allowed to buy up to 5 percent in any security under current regulation, India's economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said on Tuesday, in a bid to calm markets after recent regulatory changes. Indian markets fell for the second consecutive day as fresh concerns emerged over an April circular issued by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) that said foreign investment rules for companies of Indian origin had been tightened.The guidelines state that a company majority owned by Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) or Non-resident Indians (NRIs) will not be permitted to invest as a foreign portfolio investor in the country, and SEBI has directed that such funds should either be out of use or the ownership structure changed by the end of December.Garg repeated that companies majority-owned by Non-Residents Indians won't be allowed to put likewise as manage foreign funds, indicating that the policymakers are improbably to loosen up the SEBI guidelines.By Sowmya Sangam

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No Change in Processing of H-1B Visas: U.S. Official August 31, 2018 05:45

There has been no alteration in the processing of H-1B visas, the Trump Administration has said ahead of next week's two-plus-two dialogue between India and the United States, during which Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister is expected to raise the issue. "We are already raising the issue formally at various fora. We are speaking on it with the White House, with state administration as well as with Congressmen... We will raise it humbly at the 2+2 dialogue on September 6 in New Delhi," Sushma Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha earlier this month. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior official of the administration acknowledged that it was prepared for India raising the H-1B issue at the 2+2, but added that it would not have much to say as the policy remained the same and was undergoing review. "The Trump Administration's executive order has called for a broad review of the U.S. worker visa programme known as H-1B in the interest of ensuring that they are administered in a way that doesn't disadvantage U.S. workers or wages," the official said. "But there has been no change to the processing of H-1B visas. So it's really impossible for me to speculate on the outcome and any possible changes to the system. It is obviously an issue that is important to India," the official added.By Sowmya Sangam

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New Visa Rules for Spouses of Indian Nationals August 27, 2018 11:30

Spouses of the Indian nationals getting married overseas will no longer have to face troubles in converting their tourist visa to dependent visa as the government plans to modify existing rules. The decision came after the Filipina spouse of an Indian national, who married outside the country, faced difficulties in converting her tourist visa to dependent visa (X2 visa) as the existing visa rules did not let to do so. Her husband had complained to Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh."We are doing away with the particular rule and simplifying it so that irrespective of the place of the wedding, the foreign spouse can convert their tourist visa to dependent visa," a senior Home Ministry official said.According to the visa manual, a tourist visa can be converted to X2 visa only when the marriage takes place in India and gets registered within the validity of the existing tourist visa.If anyone wants to do so, contrary to that, have to go back to his or her country and come back on a dependent visa.With the amendment of the visa regulations and streamlining the process, the conversion of tourist visa to dependent visa would be permitted even if the marriage takes place on foreign soil.However, the facility will not be offered to the nationals of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Sudan citizens of Pakistani origin and stateless persons. Addressing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee earlier this week, the Home Minister had said that the government would ease safe and convenient entry inside the country to legitimate international travelers and provide all visa-related and consular services to foreigners staying in India in a faster and convenient mode.By Sowmya Sangam

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Lok Sabha Enables Bill Allowing NRIs to Cast Vote Through Proxy August 11, 2018 05:15

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed a bill to widen the facility of 'proxy voting' to abroad Indians, on the lines of service voters. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad responding to the debate on the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2017, said it was a "momentous event" and a sizable chance was being given to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).He said the constitution makers had given the right to vote to all Indians and as such the NRIs too had the right. "Let us not deride the contribution of NRIs. They have made a place for themselves through their hard work. Their commitment to India is truly remarkable," he said.Regarding the possibility of misuse of proxy provision, he said regulations will be made in such a way that if the law is flouted, it will lead to cancellation of the mandate. "Our sympathy is with them. They should be given the right to vote," he said.Prasad said migrant workers can at present vote from their original place of living or by satisfying the Election Commission that they were ordinary residents of their place of work."It is a properly defined legal word. Armed forces are also given right of proxy voting," he said.Regarding the proposal for presenting e-voting, Prasad said there were a batch of troubles in it and more advancement in technology will be required to make a secure architecture.Pointing to opposition benches, he said they should not have any objection if NRIs want to listen to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he travels abroad.The Representation of the People Act, 1950 renders for allocation of seats and delimitation of constituencies for elections, qualifications of voters, and preparation of electoral rolls.The Representation of the People Act, 1951, provides for the conduct of elections and offenses and disputes related to elections. The statement of grounds and objects of the bill states that the Registration of Electoral Rules, 1960 render that the abroad voters can register themselves in the electoral rolls and exercise their franchise in person on production of original passport. "The existing rules stipulate the physical presence of the overseas electors in the respective polling station in India on the day of polling. This causes hardship to the overseas electors in exercising their franchise by being present in India on the day of polling."In view of the above difficulty faced by the overseas electors, the Government has considered the feasibility of facilitating external mode of voting i.e. voting by proxy, whereby such electors can exercise their franchise from their place of residence abroad," the statement said.According to a United Nations survey, India's diaspora population is the largest in the world with 16 million people from the country living in 2015.The bill likewise proposes changes in the Acts to make provisions gender neutral and supplant the term wife with a spouse.By Sowmya Sangam

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Indian-origin Mathematician Akshay Venkatesh Wins Fields Medal August 02, 2018 05:57

A renowned Indian-Australian mathematician Akshay Venkatesh, who is currently teaching at Stanford University has been bestowed with mathematics esteemed Fields medal among four others, which is known as the Nobel prize for math.  For every four years, the Fields medals are awarded to the most promising mathematicians under the age of 40.The New-Delhi born 93-year-old has won the Fields Medal for his "profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics."On Wednesday, at the International Congress of Mathematics, the citation for his medal has been awarded in Rio de Janeiro highlights his "profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics" and his "strikingly far-reaching conjectures."The winner's received a Canadian-dollar cash prize of 15,000. At least two, and preferably four people, are always honored in the award ceremony.In 1932, the prize was commenced at the request of John Charles Fields, a Canadian mathematician who ran the 1924 Mathematics Congress in Toronto.Venkatesh's life journey has been full of accolades and achievements - from being a child prodigy to becoming one of the most renowned researchers in the mathematics field. He moved to Perth, Australia, with his parents when he was 2.He participated the premier international competitions for high school students - in maths and physics Olympiads and won medals in the two subjects at ages 11 and 12, respectively.At the age of 13, he finished his high school and at of 16, he graduated from University of Western Australia with first class honors in mathematics in 1997.In 2002, at the age of 20, he earned his Ph.D. At MIT, he held a post-doctoral position to become a Clay Research Fellow and, at present a professor at Stanford University.By Sowmya Sangam

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