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Better Career, Enhanced Salary, Sense of Fulfillment Attracting NRIs to India: Survey July 20, 2019 12:27

If you think a large number of Indians are showing keen to moving abroad, then you are to a little extent mistaken because a survey found that India emerging as a popular landing place for expats as working in the country improves their careers, provides enhanced salary and sense of fulfillment. The survey, 12th Annual League Table of Best Places to Live and Work, was commissioned by HSBC and conducted by YouGov on 18,059 expats and 163 markets through an online questionnaire in February and March 2019. About 48 percent of overseas experts became aware of the benefits of working in India, having achieved a whopping great sense of fulfillment after relocating, as compared to the global average of 42 percent.More than 29 percent of international professionals said they have been promoted more rapidly as a result of relocating to India. Around 58 percent also think India provides a good place to pick up new work-related skills.International professionals said their gross annual personal income rose by around 24 percent since relocating to India.Interestingly, 32 percent of those who moved to India said they are receiving a salary of USD 100,000 (around Rs 69.5 lakh) or more per year, far above the global average of 18 percent.Also, 49 percent of respondents said they have more disposable income in India than their home country, for the most part owing to the lower cost of living in India as compared to their home countries.The survey also revealed that more experienced Indian professionals are moving abroad, for career progression, chiefly in the fields of financial services (24 percent), health (11 percent), engineering/ design and architecture (11 percent).The United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and the United States remain popular destinations for Indian expats and foremost reasons for the move include improved quality of life, boost in career, and improved net income."Our study shows that more professionals are choosing to work abroad, helping them achieve their ambitions and long-term financial goals, from improving their job prospects and access to better education for their children to buying the property or saving more for retirement," HSBC India Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management Ramakrishnan S said.Ramakrishnan further said "this year's survey reveals that better career prospects and a higher sense of fulfillment are attracting expats to India. At the same time, there is a large NRI diaspora of about 30 million Indians living outside India".By Sowmya Sangam

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Telangana State Police Set up Safety Cell to Safeguard Rights of NRI Women July 18, 2019 15:29

Taking into account the safety of women from Telangana who are living abroad, the state police inaugurated a Women Safety Cell for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) on Wednesday.The NRI women safety cell aims to provide legal guidance to aggrieved women in NRI marriages with the support of NILA, an NGO."The cell will guide SHOs during the investigation of cases related to harassment of NRI spouses and relatives. Training in the investigation and various procedures will be given to the SHOs. Also, legal guidance to victims for further approaches and contacts, liaison with agencies like embassies, Ministry of external affairs, National Women Commission, NGOs will be given as and when required,"  Swati Lakra, IGP, Women safety, said in a press release.Speaking at the event, Telangana DGP Mahender Reddy said, "Sensitization of the women should be at grassroots level to encounter the problems from fake NRI marriages. The stakeholders should work for the long term goal of achieving and influencing lawmakers to provide justice for the victims."Sri Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, Regional Passport Officer, Hyderabad said that the Ministry of External affairs was sensitive to the cases of women, who complained of harassment by their NRI spouse."The MEA has established an Integrated Nodal Agency with all stakeholders to help such victims in fighting a legal battle. The prosecution is a challenging task, where the case details should be strong enough to get positive court orders. The embassies in the various countries have been allotted a budget to support the victims in emergencies and also has the support of 193 NGOs for counseling and legal advice," he said.Tripuraneni Venkataratnam, former chairperson, State Women’s Commission, said that Acts like Registration of NRI marriages should be brought into force.  The dignitaries also launched posters on precautions to be taken before marrying an NRI, like knowledge on citizenship status, caution on matrimonial agency and other important parameters for carrying out verifications on the NRI groom’s personal information.By Sowmya Sangam

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Bill Introduced to Allow Dual Citizenship for Indians July 17, 2019 13:19

A draft legislation has been brought before the Indian parliament seeking to allow dual citizenship for millions of foreign nationals of Indian origin who currently have to renounce Indian citizenship once they become citizens of another country.Indian National Congress Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor introduced a Bill last week to amend Article 9 of the Constitution of India that provides for automatic termination of the Indian citizenship upon acquiring citizenship of another country.“We have the largest diaspora in the world, many of whom have migrated abroad for better opportunities. Taking a foreign passport for convenience does not make them any less Indian,” said Tharoor. 1/2 Today I introduced a Bill to amend the Constitution of India to allow dual citizenship. We have the largest diaspora in the World, many of whom who have migrated abroad for better opportunities. Taking a foreign passport for convenience does not make them any less Indian. pic.twitter.com/sSyaRPIDUZ — Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 12, 2019 According to the United Nations World Migration Report 2018, more than 15.6 million Indians are living in other countries, making it the largest diaspora in the world, followed by the Mexicans and the Russians.A large section of India’s global diaspora has been urging India to allow dual citizenship. The government of India, to cater to some of the demands of Indians living overseas, introduced the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card. The OCI has been further streamlined and extensively promoted under the Bharatiya Janata Party government.By Sowmya Sangam

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4,698 Plaints from Indian Women Deserted by NRI Husbands Addressed Since 2016: MEA July 11, 2019 12:03

The cases regarding NRI husbands deserting Indian women are on the rise despite the Indian government taking stringent actions against swindlers. In the last three and a half years, as many as 4,698 complaints from distressed Indian women deserted by their NRI husbands were addressed, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Wednesday.Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said the complaints were received between January 2016 and May 31, 2019.The government has adopted a multi-pronged approach to give respite to women who have been deserted by their Non-Resident Indian (NRI) husbands, he said.The ministry provides counseling and guidance, and information on legal procedures and mechanisms to serve judicial summons to accused NRI husbands, Muraleedharan said.Information on filing a judicial case in India, issuing Look Out Circulars (LOC), impounding and revocation of the Indian passport of the husbands are also provided by the ministry, he said.To provide online consular assistance expeditiously to Indian nationals who are in distress abroad, including marital dispute, the MADAD portal was launched in 2015, Muraleedharan said.The minister said a module marital disputes was added to the portal to provide a digital platform to distressed Indian nationals married to NRIs.Read: Marriage Registrations Now Mandatory in Telangana Towns, Villages in Bid to Tackle NRI Marriage MenaceTo provide financial and legal assistance to distressed women married to NRI men by all Missions and Posts, the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) Guidelines were revised in September 2017, he said."The amount of legal and financial assistance to distressed Indian women has also been increased to USD 4000 per case," the minister said."The assistance is released to the impanelled legal counsel of the applicant or Indian community association or women's organization or NGO concerned to enable it to take steps to assist the woman in documentation and preparatory work for filing the case," Muraleedharan said.He said an expert committee was set up to identify the legal and regulatory challenges faced by Indians married to overseas Indian nationals and suggest amendments in existing legislation or Acts, and new policies, laws, and regulations.Upon the recommendation of the expert committee, an Integrated Nodal Agency was constituted, the minister added."So far, the INA has had 15 sittings and has issued eight Look Out Circulars against the erring spouses," he said.It was felt that these measures are not sufficient and the existing laws need to be amended to provide a more effective solution to the problem, Muraleedhran said.Therefore, a bill titled The Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian Bill, 2019 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on February 11, 2019, he said, adding that the proposed legislation would offer greater protection to Indian citizens married to NRIs.It will also help as a deterrent to the Non-Resident Indians against harassment of their spouses, and force the accused NRI spouse to come back to India to face legal consequences of his overt and covert acts, the minister said.By Sowmya Sangam

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Marriage Registrations Now Mandatory in Telangana Towns, Villages in Bid to Tackle NRI Marriage Menace July 09, 2019 18:37

The Indian government is making every effort to cut down the rate of NRI marriage menace. In one such attempt, Department of Women Development and Child Welfare in Telangana has decentralized the marriage registration process to the level of village panchayat officers and municipal administration officers to enable people to register marriages compulsorily. Apart from this, the department, which will at present be the nodal agency for registering marriages, will also be disseminating the knowledge of compulsorily registering marriages via the intricate network of 35,700 anganwadis. This makes registration of marriage easier for married couples and ensures that documentary evidence exists to tackle the issue of wives being deserted. The new process is crucial as in 2018 alone, the Women’s Commission received 36 complaints of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) wives being deserted and several more complaints of bigamy which become hard to tackle without documentary evidence. “With no marriage certificate, the married women can’t take their husbands to a court or even ask the embassies to initiate the process of bringing back the husband. In some cases, women have not even been able to apply for a divorce as they have no proof to apply for a divorce and the husband is also not here,” a senior official said. In the meantime, the decision of registering marriages at the village and municipality level is being seen as a small yet steady step. “The State and Central governments need to bring in specific laws that make a declaration of marriage at the time of Visa or passport mandatory and have provisions for measures against the husband for abandoning his wife,” said a senior official at National Commission for Women. The move includes: 12000 registration units at panchayats, municipalities. Rs 45000 per district for awareness on the Marriage Registration Act. A fine of Rs 100 for all marriages registered after 30 days. By Sowmya Sangam

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India Budget 2019: Aadhar Card Under 180 Days for NRIs on Arrival July 05, 2019 13:03

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden Budget 2019 speech on Friday eased the waiting time for getting Aadhaar card for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). Sitharaman proposed to issue Aadhaar cards to non-resident Indians holding Indian passport on their arrival in the country. Under the present rule, NRIs with Indian passport are required to wait for 180 days to get the Aadhaar card."I propose to consider issuing Aadhaar to NRIs with Indian passports after their arrival in India without waiting for mandatory 180 days", Sitharaman said in her Budget speech. The UIDAI is mandated to issue an easily verifiable 12 digit random number as Unique Identity - Aadhaar to all Residents of India. Aadhar Card for NRIs According to details of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, every resident can apply for the 12 digits biometric ID. A resident is an individual who has been surviving in the country for 182 days or more in the year immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment. Hence, if a Non-Resident Indian has lived in the country for 182 days or more in the last one year right before the date of application for enrolment, in that case, the NRI can apply for Aadhaar.If the NRI has not lived in the country for at least 182 days in the past 12 months, although being a citizen of India, the individual will not become eligible to avail Aadhaar. The NRI will have to wait to complete 182 days of stay in India to apply for Aadhaar.By Sowmya Sangam

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NRIs Expect Big Reforms in India Budget 2019 July 04, 2019 11:40

India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to announce Indian budget 2019 on July 5 and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are expecting a host of reforms that would ease the rules for them to conduct business in India and increase their involvement in helping boost India’s economy.A massive show of support by NRIs was seen as to a certain extent responsible for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resounding victory in recent elections which got him a second five-year term in office.“I would expect that the outreach towards NRIs will continue,” Reshmi Khurana, Managing Director and Head of South East Asia at Kroll was quoted by Connected to India. Indians abroad have been demanding for relieving of norms governing their investments in gold, real estate, fixed income. They also urge the Modi government to be less stringent with taxes on their investments. Though their wishes may get fulfilled to some extent, with the economy still in recovery mode, Sitharaman may not adopt a stance that was too accommodative to Indians living abroad.One of the key points of the 2018 Budget that impacted NRIs was the introduction of a 10 percent long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax imposed on profit above INR 1 lakh which will, in all probability, continue this year.Whether through bank accounts, real estate investments, remittances or foreign portfolio investments, most Indians abroad have a portion of their assets and wealth in India. Moreover, India has been the world’s largest recipient of remittances from the diaspora for the last three years, reaching a whopping USD 79 billion last year.By Sowmya Sangam

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8,189 Indian Nationals Jailed Abroad: Government June 27, 2019 11:01

About 8,189 Indians were lodged in jail overseas, according to the government data released Wednesday tabulated until May 31, a rise of around 6 percent from last year’s figure of 7,737. Saudi Arabia is home to the largest number of Indian nationals lodged in foreign prisons, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Nepal. The data released is the part of a statement by external affairs minister S Jaishankar in the Lok Sabha in response to a question by a Member of Parliament (MP). Saudi Arabian jails have 1,811 Indian nationals, UAE 1,392, Nepal 1,160, United States 689, and Pakistan 48. In all, six Gulf countries are home to approximately half of all Indians lodged in jails abroad. Pakistani jails contained 471 Indians last year, meaning the number has dropped steeply in the past year. “Indian missions and posts abroad remain vigilant and closely monitor the incidents of Indian nationals being put in jail in foreign countries for violation of local laws or alleged violation of local laws,” said the statement. Many countries do not share information, or provide details of individual cases, because of strong privacy laws, added the statement. The minister’s statement also said that 3,087 Indians received amnesty or commutation of their sentences in the Gulf countries since 2016. After several incidents of harassment of Indians abroad, the government has asked Indian workers to register with local consular services, and started distributing information to intensify their awareness of local laws, customs and regulations. By Sowmya Sangam

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Fresh Bill to Allow Proxy Voting to NRIs June 24, 2019 11:00

The Indian union cabinet will take a call Monday to introduce a fresh bill in parliament to extend the facility of proxy voting to Indians abroad after the similar bill has lapsed following the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month. According to sources, the union cabinet will consider introducing the bill in parliament, which proposes that Indians abroad, who are entitled to casting vote in India, can appoint a proxy voter on their behalf. At present, overseas Indians are permitted to cast their votes in constituencies they are enrolled. The Bill seeks to give them the option of proxy voting, which is currently available to service personnel only. There are about 3.10 crore Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) living in different countries across the world, according to estimates of the Ministry of External Affairs. Back in 2015, an expert committee of the Election Commission, working on the issue, forwarded the legal framework to the Ministry of Law and Justice to amend the electoral laws to allow the overseas Indians to use proxy voting. An unofficial data with the Election Commission shows that only 10,000 to 12,000 overseas voters have exercised their franchise owing to the reason that they do not want to spend foreign currency to come to India and vote. The bill said the necessary provision of coming to India to cast ballot caused hardship for overseas electors. Amendment bill’s another provision, according to the provisions in the electoral law, relates to the spouses of service voters. Currently, an army man’s wife is eligible to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not. The bill proposes to replace the word ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’, hence making the provision gender-neutral. Members of the central armed police forces, armed forces, employees of the center posted outside India, and personnel of state police forces posted outside their state are eligible to be enrolled as service voters. By Sowmya Sangam

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Indian American Population Grew by 38 Percent Between 2010-2017: Report June 19, 2019 12:02

The population of Indian origin people in the United States is growing gradually year by year. Between 2010 and 2017, the population of Indians in America grew by 38 percent, a South Asian advocacy group has said in its latest demographic report. Distinctly the stringent rules by Trump administration are not affecting the Indian’s dream to settle in the U.S.   The South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) in its snapshot, which is based primarily on Census 2010 and the 2017 American Community Survey, said that the population of Indian Americans in 2017 with multiple ethnicities was recorded as 44,03,363, an increase of 38.3 percent from 31,83,063 in 2010. Immigrant Population The report said that there are at least 630,000 Indians who are undocumented, a 72 percent increase since 2010, which is attributed to Indian immigrants overstaying a visa. In 2016, about 250,000 Indians overstayed their visa thus becoming undocumented, it said. In general, the population of American residents tracing their roots to South Asia grew by 40 percent. In real terms, it increased to 5.4 million in 2017 from 3.5 million in 2010, SAALT said. Since 2010, followed by Indian (38 percent), the Nepali community grew by 206.6 percent, Bhutanese (38 percent), Pakistani (33 percent), Bangladeshi (26 percent) and Sri Lankan populations (15 percent). Currently, there are at least 4,300 active recipients of South Asian Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As of August 2018, there are close to 2,550 active Indian DACA recipients. Of the overall 20,000 DACA eligible Indians, only 13 percent have applied and received DACA. There are 1,300 DACA recipients from Pakistan, 470 from Bangladesh, 120 from Sri Lanka, and 60 from Nepal, SAALT said. According to a report by the immigrant population density of the country, the undocumented Bangladeshi immigrants live in New York (19,000); Michigan (4,000); Virginia (3,000); and California (2,000). South Asians Living in Poverty According to the report, income inequality has been reported to be the greatest among Asian Americans. Among approximately five million South Asians in the United States, nearly one percent live in poverty. Besides, the South Asians seeking asylum in the United States over the last 10 years has been in a rise, SAALT said. Since 2017, 3,010 South Asians have been detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Between October 2014 and April 2018, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol arrested 17,119 South Asians through border and interior enforcement, it said. According to SAALT, since 1997, more than 1.7 million dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders have received H-4 visas. In 2017, 136,000 individuals received H-4 status. Nearly 86 percent of H-4 visa holders are from South Asian countries. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granted work authorization to certain H-4 visa holders. As of December 2017, approximately 127,000 visa holders were approved for H-4 EAD, the report said. Of the approximately five million South Asians in the U.S., nearly 472,000 or 10 percent of them are living in poverty, the report said. Among South Asian Americans, Pakistanis (15.8 percent), Nepalis (23.9 percent), Bangladeshis (24.2 percent), and Bhutanese (33.3 percent) had the highest poverty rates, it said. Out of all Asian American groups, Bangladeshi and Nepali communities have the lowest median household incomes, earning USD 49,800 and USD 43,500 respectively, it said. Nearly 61 percent of non-citizen Bangladeshi American families receive public benefits for at least one of the four federal programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programand Medicaid/CHIP, 48 percent of non-citizen Pakistani families and 11 percent of non-citizen Indian families also receive public benefits, the report said. In the lead up to the 2020 elections, South Asians are turning out to be an increasingly powerful segment of the American electorate, SAALT said. According to the Current Population Survey (CPS), 49.9 percent of voting-age, Asian American citizens cast a ballot in 2016. In the last decade, the number of Asian American voters has virtually doubled from about two million voters in 2001 to 5 million voters in 2016. Of these, followed by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, Indians account for more than 1.5 million, SAALT added. By Sowmya Sangam

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7 Indian Origin Australians Receive Top Honors in Queen's Birthday Award Ceremony June 12, 2019 10:11

As part of Queen’s Birthday award ceremony, seven Indian origin Australians, including three women, have received the country’s top honors for their significant contributions in the field of music, medicine, education, and finance. Melbourne-based artist Jayshree Ramachandran was awarded the Order of Australia for her service to performing arts through Indian music and dance at the award ceremony held Monday night. Jayashri Kulkarni, the Director of the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research center, received Member of the OAMfor her significant service to medicine in the field of psychiatry. Another Indian-origin woman, Winita Hardikar was recognized with the OAM medal for her contributions in medicine particularly pediatric liver disease and transplantation. (Image source: Kalingatv.com) Other Indianorigin Australians to receive the OAM was Shashi Kant Kochchar for his contribution towards the community through charitable initiatives, and Arun Kumar for his significant service to the financial planning sector and to the community. Brisbane-based Maha Sinnathamby received the OAM for his contribution to the property industry and the community while Canberra-based Krishna Dhana Nadimpalli received the recognition for his service to multiculturalism. Over a thousand Australians were honored in a Queen's Birthday ceremonies around the country, with female representation reaching a record high of 40 percent. Notable recipients of the award were the former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, film actor Eric Bana who received Member of the order (AM) medal while actor Hugh Jackman received the top civilian award Companion of the Order. By Sowmya Sangam

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Three Indian Origin Women on Forbes List of America’s Richest Self-Made Women June 07, 2019 16:21

Forbes ranking of America’s 80 richest self-made women has been released and three Indian origin women made their way into the esteemed list. President and Chief Executive Officer of computer networking firm, Arista Networks Jayshree Ullal; co-founder of IT consulting and outsourcing firm Syntel Neerja Sethi; and Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of streaming data technology company Confluent Neha Narkhede, are named in the Forbes list of 'America’s Richest Self-Made Women 2019'. The list has been topped by Diane Hendricks, who chairs ABC Supply, one of the largest wholesale distributors of roofing, siding, and windows in America. The 72-year old has a net worth of USD 7 billion. Born in London and raised in India, Ullal, who has been ranked 18th in the list, has a net worth of USD 1.4 billion. The 58-year-old owns about 5 percent of Arista's stock. "She is now one of America's wealthiest female executives," Forbes said.                       (Image source from: Facebook/jullal) Sethi ranked 23rd, co-founded Syntel with her husband, Bharat Desai in 1980 in their apartment in Troy, Michigan with an initial investment of just USD 2,000. Her current net worth is one billion dollars. French IT firm Atos SE bought Syntel for USD 3.4 billion in October 2018 and Sethi, 64, got an estimated USD 510 million for her stake.                        (Image source from: Facebook/neerja.sethi.376) Narkhede is ranked 60th on the list with a net worth of USD 360 million. Confluent, which is currently valued at USD 2.5 billion, counts Goldman Sachs, Netflix, and Uber as customers. As a LinkedIn software engineer, Narkhede, 34, helped develop Apache Kafka to handle the networking site's huge influx of data, and in 2014, she and two LinkedIn colleagues founded Confluent to build tools for companies using Apache Kafka, which became open source in 2011, Forbes said.                       (Image source from: Facebook/neha.narkhede) The list also includes media mogul Oprah Winfrey ranked 10, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer (12), reality TV star Kylie Jenner (23), fashion designer Tory Burch (29), pop stars Rihanna (37) and Madonna (39), singer Beyonce (51), author Danielle Steel (56), TV show Ellen DeGeneres (63) and tennis star Serena Williams on the 80th spot. Forbes said more women are creating new businesses and amassing fortunes than ever before, leading it to expand its ranking of the nation’s wealthiest self-made women to 80 ceiling crashers, one third more than a year ago. "Each of these overachievers has blazed her own trail," it said. List members range in age from 21 to 92 and are worth a combined USD 81.3 billion. The minimum net worth to make Forbes' fifth annual ranking of these women is USD 225 million. A record 25 are billionaires, one more than last year. Nearly half, or 38, live in California, followed by New York with 9. Nineteen were born outside of the United States, in countries spanning Burma to Barbados. By Sowmya Sangam

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