GOPIO officials and Chapter Representatives had a fruitful meeting with Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty and other Consulate Officials in New York on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018. The meeting was a follow up to the meeting in September last year when a GOPIO delegation met India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and appealed to launch Know India Program (KIP) during the Summer for the second and third generation PIOs in the US who have not visited India. The Indian Minister had in principle had accepted this proposal and the Indian Consulate in New York had invited a GOPIO delegation to the Consulate for discussion to launch Govt. of India’s Know India Program (KIP) during the Summer for the PIO youth during summer time.
The Indian Consulate officials included Consul General Chakravorty and the other Consuls. The GOPIO officials included Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Vice President Ram Gadhavi, Secretary Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Chapter Review Committee Chair Dinesh Mittal, GICC Co-Chair Prakash Shah, GOPIO Media Council Chair Nami Kaur and GOPIO Council on Seniors Chair Sudha Acharya. GOPIO discussed several other issues including providing assistance to NRIs/PIOs in need and joint programs with the consulate.
The Consulate on its part updated activities and services provided for the community. These include joint efforts with the community organizations as well as organized directly by the Consulate such as the India Lecture series. The Consul General reiterated that the KIP proposal presented by GOPIO to Sushma Swaraj had been accepted by the Ministry of External Affairs, and will start in Summer of 2018. This program caters to young PIOs around the world who have not visited India, to make that visit and get to know about the country of their origin.
GOPIO delegation brought the following issues to the attention of the Consulate: PIO youth participation from the US in Know India Program (KIP); High need for social services for the NRI/PIO community in the US; Growing need to address the mental health conditions within the Diaspora; PIOs being charged 10 times fees for off campus enrollment in Universities; NRI/PIO Seniors experiencing hunger, loneliness and depression; and, Limited Consulate resources to attend NRI/PIO events e.g. Independence Day.
The biggest outcome of this meeting was the plan to launch Govt. of India’s Know Indian Program (KIP) for the 3rd and above generation US PIOs of age 18-30 who have not visited India before. More details of the selection process will come later. The meeting also decided to initiate several new programs with the Indian Consulate, especially in coordinating social services to needy NRIs/PIOs, health series talks and activities of GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) hosting Indian business delegation.
The meeting ended with a positive discussion on how GOPIO can play an instrumental role to support the Indian Government’s objectives with respect to their nationals living abroad and helping the Indian Consulate to provide services to the Diaspora community.