At 2016 Biennial Convention in New York, GOPIO urges Indian government to bolster ties with Diaspora

New York City, N.Y.  – June 27, 2016 – With the theme “Strengthening Connections between India and Indian Diaspora through Business,” GOPIO International, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (www.gopio.net), is held its 27th Anniversary Celebrations and GOPIO Biennial Convention 2016 in New York, USA at the Marriott LaGuardia Hotel with evening banquet held at World’s Fair Marina on June 24-25, 2016. Over 200 delegates from 20 countries participated. GOPIO’s New York Area Coordinator Lal Motwani served as the Convener along with Dr.  Asha Samant, Kenny Desai, Shelly Nichani, Nohar singh and Jayant Baxi as Co-Conveners.

The convention was inaugurated at the World’s Fair Marina on June 24th evening by welcome remarks by Convention Convener Lal Motwani and by GOPIO President Niraj Baxi and at a welcome dinner. The chief Guest was Guyana Prime Minister and First Vice President Moses V. Nagamootoo, a freedom fighter for Guyana. PM Nagamootto invited the Indian Diaspora community to consider Guyana as a destination for investment and business and spoke on many incentives Guyana could offer. India’s Consul General in New York Ambassador Riva Das Ganguly Das representing Govt. of India, delivered the inaugural address in which she noted the role played by GOPIO in launching and building a worldwide movement as a united force for the Indian Diaspora. The evening program ended with classical and semi-classical dances performed by students of Pandit Satya Narayana Charka.

On Saturday June 25, a full day GOPIO conference was held at the New York LaGuardia Marriott Hotel from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There were 9 sessions to deliberate on the Global Indian Diaspora; evaluate GOPIO’s progress in 27 years; network, exchange ideas, and connect with PIO/NRI delegates from around the world. The conference, organized by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, Conference Committee and Founder President, GOPIO International, consisted of an inaugural plenary session with keynote speaker Raj Jaswa, former President of TiE Silicon Valley and director and trustee of TiE International, Serial technology entrepreneur, and an Adjunct Professor at several Universities in India. This was followed by two track conference sessions, (1) Business and Technology ventures and opportunities and (2) Social, Political, Gender and Health challenges.

The conference ended with a concluding presentations session from the Session Chairs, namely, Prakash Shah, Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Nitin Shah, Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, Viresh Sharma, Sudha Parekh, Dr. Asha Samant, Jagdish Lodhia and Ram Gadhavi. Several resolutions were presented by a committee headed by Dr. Rajeev Mehta. Resolutions for the conference session were added to these, and will be sent to Govt. of Indian and other government agencies.

The 27th Anniversary celebrations concluded with a Grand Finale Banquet and Recognition of Businesses and Entrepreneurs with Social Responsibility at the World’s Fair Marina. The honorees were Lord Diljit Rana of Belfast (Northern Ireland, UK), Raj Jaswa of Silicon Valley and TV Asia Chairman H.R. Shah. Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and Prof. Indrajit Singh Saluja were honored with Media Awards for their contribution and support of the community.

The Chief Guest was Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, KNH, OBE, known as Viv Richards, a former West Indian cricketer, regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He was joined in the evening by Antigua & Barmuda Minister Trade, Industry, Commerce, Sports and National Festivals Mr. E.P. Chet Greene. The banquet ended with a Bolliwood performances put together by Dharmatma Saran of India Festival Committee and Anita Bhat of Miss India-CT.

With gratitude, GOPIO acknowledged support of Platinum sponsors Embassy National Bank, State Bank of India, Labidco Port Services Ltd; Gold sponsors Dr. Asha Samant and Kenny Desai; and Silver sponsors Bank of Baroda, Adani North America, S.S. White Technologies Inc. and Dr. Praveen Chopra.

Resolutions passed at the GOPIO Convention in New York (USA) on June 25, 2016, included: 1. Voting rights for Indian citizens living outside India; 2. Rajya Sabha seats for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs); 3. Pro-active Role for Indian Missions to Reach Out and Help Indian Citizens Needing Emergency Assistance; 4. Engaging NRIs/PIOs for Educational, Health and Social Causes; 5. Protection of Real Estate and Business Investments as well as Inherited assets;  6. Discriminative Admission Fee Rates for PIOs and OCI Card Holders; 7. Taxing of NRIs/PIOs Social Security Benefits in India; 8. Expand Know India Program; 9. Set Up for Involvement with Ministries of Commerce, Science and Technology, Power, Rural Development, Tourism; 10. Set up NRI Ministry or NRI Coordination Office with all state governments.

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