GOPIO International Announces Convention to be Held in April

Executives of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and representatives of community and professional organizations, held a kick-off planning meeting to launch GOPIO 2024 Global Convention of People of Indian Origin which is scheduled to be held in April 26-28 in Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, NJ. The planning meeting was held Jan. 28, 2024, at the same venue.

The April convention will focus on “India’s Present and the Future” and what role the diaspora Indians can play in helping to realize this desirable future. The theme of the convention is ‘Opportunities for Diaspora Indians in India’s Big Manifest Future.’ GOPIO Executive Council has appointed New Jersey businessman Prakash Shah as the Convention Convener.

GOPIO International Announces Convention to be Held in April 2At the planning meeting, Shah said, “Lauding the positive optimistic vision prevailing in India, presents opportunity to invest in India which provides the best and biggest opportunity in the World. The Bombay Stock Exchange has just crossed $4 Trillion and has overtaken Hong Kong to become third largest in the world. While India needs the 35 million Diaspora to invest, it is an incredible opportunity for the Diaspora to prosper.”

Apart from Prakash Shah, 50-member convention committee includes Dr. Asha Samant as Co-Convener, Chitranjan Belwariar as Secretary and Srinivas Akarapu as Treasurer. Committee Chairs include the following: Awards – Lal Motwani, Finance/Fundraising – Siddarth Jain, Reception – Hemant Patel, Souvenir Brochure – Jigar Shah with Dinesh Mittal and Lal Motwani as advisor, Volunteers – Bharat Rana, Publicity/PR – Rohit Vyas with Vijay Shah as Media Representative/Adviser, Registration – Dhananjay Desai, Banquet – Dr Rajeev Mehta, Additional Trips and Events – Shatrughan Dawani. Conference Sessions are chaired by Vasu Pawar for Youth, Dr. Thomas Abraham for Diaspora Indians in Technologies and AI, Dr. Asha Samant for Medical and Health and Prakash Shah for Networking Business through GOPIO Chamber of Commerce.

GOPIO President Lal Motwani, who had earlier served as the Convener of GOPIO convention in New York in 2016, said, “We are doing this major event in the USA after 8 years, this time in New Jersey. This is a big opportunity for our vibrant community in the Tr- State Area and in the USA to participate and help with this very Important event for the 35 million strong Indian Diaspora.”

GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham spoke about the history of GOPIO and its accomplishments since the formation of GOPIO in 1989, implementation of the resolutions passed by the First GOPIO Convention which included issues of Dual Nationality and Voting Rights for NRIs, demands already met by New Delhi.

GOPIO Vice President Ram Gadhavi who served as the Co-Convener of the First Global Convention in 1989, urged younger GOPIO members to not only become actively engaged, but to consider leading the organization into the future.

The GOPIO Convention will also be a fun event, with some side trips (including optional trips to New York City, Atlantic City and Washington DC).

Five conference sessions are planned at the convention, Diaspora Youth and Young Achievers and the role they can play in India’s Future and how GOPIO can facilitate their participation; Diaspora Women and their Growing Contributions in Various Sectors; Technologies and AI and other Innovations: Diaspora Indians Leading Research and Innovations; GOPIO Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Worldwide Networking of the Diaspora Businesses; and Medical and Health Issues and how Diaspora Indians can Participate in India’s Frontline Role in Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Medical Tourism and in Propagating YOGA and its Benefits.

The nearest airport is Newark, New Jersey, so GOPIO is making arrangements for pick-up.  Those arriving at John F. Kennedy Airport or LaGuardia Airport, could take a shuttle to Newark Airport to be picked up.

As part of the convention program, GOPIO is arranging a trip to the Capitol Hill in Washington DC on Monday April 29th to lobby Congressional Representatives on House Resolution 6542 “To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, to increase the per-country numerical limitation for family sponsored immigrants, and for other purposes.”

GOPIO advised overseas delegates attending the convention to register first before invitation letter for visa is sent out. Those who want to apply for a US visa may write to Prakash Shah at [email protected] or contact him at +1 908-267-5021 or contact Lal Motwani at + 516-581-3332.


A Tribute to the Late Prod. Ved Prakash Nanda By Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International Prof. Nanda was a good friend. He was a patriotic Indian. I have had an opportunity to work with him closely since 1981 when I took up a job at the University of Denver where Prof. Nanda was already working at the law school. Since then, we worked together on many community campaigns. We jointly did a couple Indian-American fundraising campaigns for candidates running for elections in Colorado in the 1980s.        Other than his professional contribution as a professor of law and a leading legal expert, he stood out for his contribution to the Indian Diaspora community for the last five decades.   Other than what others spoke earlier, Prof. Nanda’s had made major contribution to the mainstream Indian community organizations. At our First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in 1989 in New York City, Prof. Nanda was entrusted to come up with a structure for a global Indian Diaspora organization. He helped to draft the constitution and bylaws of the Global Organization of People Indian Origin (GOPIO). He had attended many of our early steering committee meetings and conventions in the USA, Europe and India.   He was also a frequent speaker at the conventions organized by the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) held in different US cities.   After our First GOPIO Convention in 1989 in New York, he had chaired GOPIO Human Rights Council and successfully campaigned on the human rights violation of Indo-Sri Lankans and Indo-Fijians at the UN Human Rights Commission in 1991 and 1992 in Geneva.   He made substantial contribution to build Indian American community’s infrastructure through national organizations for the last five decades. His passing away is a great loss for our community.   GOPIO International and its chapters convey our heartfelt condolences to Nanda family and particularly Anjali and her family. We will miss him in our midst. May his soul rest in peace. Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful thoughts prevail at this time. In fact, we are now celebrating his life for his contribution to Indian Diaspora, India and society at large.

A Tribute to Dr. Jagat Motwani

It is a very sad news for all of us in the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) to know that Dr. Jagat Motwani is no more. A Fulbright scholar, professor and social worker, Dr. Jagat Motwani worked for the State of New York and made outstanding contributions in the field of Social Work. Other than his professional contributions, he stood out for his contribution to the Indian Diaspora community for the last four decades.

Dr. Jagat Motwani was a tall leader of the Indian Diaspora community and was a Founding Member of the GOPIO. He was a Co-Convener of the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin held in 1989 in New York City where GOPIO was formed. He served as official of several community organizations including Heart and
Hand for the Handicapped (HHH), Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), National Federation of Indian-American Associations (NFIA) and the last in GOPIO as its Secretary General. Dr. Motwani was one of the initiators of the First India Day Parade in New York City in 1981 and served as its Marshal. He wrote several books on the Indian Diaspora and on Indian history.

He was a patriotic Indian. I have had opportunity to work with him closely since 1978 when he represented HHH in FIA New York. From that time, he was with me in every group I had initiated, including NFIA and GOPIO. When we thought of the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in 1989 under the aegis of NFIA, we were in the unchartered territory since there was no communication between our communities around the world. So we decided to travel to all countries with large Indian Diaspora population. Dr. Motwani was a great help in travelling alone to the Far Eastern countries to seek participation and support from the Indian Diaspora in those countries.

We had travelled together to many parts of the world and all over India promoting the First Global Indian Convention. At the convention, Dr. Motwani and his co-editors brought out the first ever book on Global Indian Diaspora

⁠Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. After the GOPIO was formed at the convention, Dr. Motwani contributed as Secretary General and later as the Chairman of GOPIO Academic Council for over two decades. GOPIO International and its chapters convey our heartfelt condolences to Motwani family. We will miss him in our midst. May his soul rest in peace.

Dr Jagat Motwani

Dr. Thomas Abraham
Chairman, GOPIO International

GOPIO-CT Organizes Experts Panel On 2021 Tax Planning and Tax Saving Tips

With the year 2020 with all the uncertainties due to the Covid pandemic coming to a close, most of us, especially the Indian Americans are getting ready to file the annual Tax Returns. With ever changing Tax Laws, and in the context of the Covid pandemic and the ushering in of a new administration led by President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris preparing to lead the nation, there are several unanswered questions on how best to use the prevailing tax laws to benefit individuals, families and businesses.


GOPIO-CT, the most active Chapter in the world, under the leaderships of Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International and Ashok Nichani, the local Chapter president and the Exceptive Committee organized a Virtual Zoom Session on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, with the objective of educating Indian Americans on 2021 Major US Tax Reform, Tax Planning and Tax Saving Tips, International Taxes, Estate & Gift tax and Retirement Plans. Attended by hundreds of members and leaders of GOPIO, the educative session was led by several experts on Tax law in the US, with particular focus on international Taxes.


Cecil Nazareth, ACA, CPA, MBA addressed the audience on Tax Planning 2020-’21 and International Taxes with particular focus on: IRS enforcement; Biden proposed tax plan; Year-end Tax planning; and, Other proposals/planning tools. He recommended tax filers to avoid “red flags” that could potentially lead to one greater scrutiny. Under Biden administration, Nazreth stated, “Chances of tax cut is greater for lower and middle class Americans, with tax rate possibly to go up for those earning over $400,000.” He was of the opinion that “No tax hike in Covid times” and “New credit for people providing long term care to relatives with incentive to offer more retirement savings.” He suggested small businesses to “Apply for PPP loan forgiveness NOW” while cautioning that “Expenses are not deductible if loan is forgiven.”


Cecil Nazareth CA, CPA is a partner with Nazareth CAs & CPAs, Cecil worked at Ernst & Young and the AICPA in key strategic positions. Cecil is an Indian Chartered Accountant and a U.S. CPA. Cecil is a leading authority on Indo–US tax issues. Cecil has an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University and Information Technology from Columbia University. His is also an author of “International tax and compliance handbook” with special emphasis on India-U.S. taxes.


In his address, Michael Markhoff. Esq., spoke about Estate, Gift taxes and Trust Options for Children, while educating the audience on “changes you should consider to your estate plan in 2021 due to the election; Planning to minimize state estate taxes; and Trust options for children.”

Markhoff said, the new Administration under Biden is likely to lower the exemption, resulting less returns for people with higher income. He suggested to “make gifts before the end of the year” and highlighted the options for making gifts from one person to another within family to avoid higher taxes. Suggesting that Life Insurance is a good planning and will help pay for estate plans, he recommended “charity plans will leave with lower state taxes.”


Attorney Michael Markhoff, a partner at Danziger & Markhoff LLP, is a graduate of Columbia College and Brooklyn Law School and is listed in Best Lawyers in America – Trusts and Estates and Category and Super Lawyers – Trusts and Estates Category. Michael was named Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year for White Plains, New York for 2016 and 2018 by Best Lawyers in America.


Andy Roth, Esq., addressed the audience on “Looking into Key CARES Act and SECURE Act – Retirement Plan, including on taxes for those with Coronavirus infections. Under CARES ACT, he said, “You, or your spouse or dependent, are diagnosed with coronavirus by a CDC-approved test (including a test authorized under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act;) and, or our experience adverse financial consequences as a result of your, or your spouse or a member of your household that is, someone who shares your principal residence. “Qualified individuals can elect in their tax return to treat allowable in-service distributions in 2020 as CRDs even if their employer’s plan does not adopt CRDs,” he told the audience.


Attorney Andrew E. Roth is a partner of Danziger & Markhoff LLP with over 35 years of experience as an ERISA attorney.  He is a frequent lecturer in the areas of pension, profit-sharing and employee benefits law.  Mr. Roth attended University College of Arts and Science of NYU and graduated magna cum laude from Brooklyn Law School. Mr. Roth also received an LLM in Taxation from NYU School of Law.


Shiva Bhashyam CFP®, AEP®, APMA® emphasized the importance of Financial Planning in Retirement and offered Market update and outlook, Retirement planning checklist, and Behavioral investing – how and why to manage emotions during volatile markets.


Shiva Bhashyam received his undergraduate degree in economics from Tufts University and a Masters Degree in Management and Finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Shiva is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) practitioner, Accredited Estate Planner (AEP®), and Accredited Portfolio Manager Advisor (APMA®). Shiva has been a financial advisor with an Ameriprise Financial Private Wealth Advisory Practice, Bhashyam Wealth Management Associates. Shiva has been named a Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisor for 2019 & 2020.


Kim Ramchandani spoke about Long-Term Care Planning Options, and on ways to help you to have a conversation with your loved ones about making a plan now about your wishes. “It is important because your life and your health don’t just affect you; they affect all the people who love and care for you,” she said.

Kim Ramchandani, CHFC® is Senior Vice President, Financial Consultant, Webster Investments. Kim provides holistic wealth management services that address he full spectrum of her clients’ financial concerns, including investments, life insurance, family finances, retirement and estate planning. She has 13 years’ experience in investment services and is a Chartered Financial Consultant. ®

David Folley, who works closely with Webster Investments, in his presentation spoke about Tax Incentives to us in 2020. Pointing to the fact that a third of our society is in retirement, he said, they can be used to reimburse age related caps in the tax laws. While educating the participants on the long-term care, he said, Long Term Care, he said, it is the option to live in the community rather than be institutionalized when one is old or disabled. He warned that when one is older, Medicare and Medicaid will run their course soon, and one’s savings will end and one’s family will not be there to care for you. He suggested using Long Term Care Plans as   a way to prepare to cover the cost of treatment when you need it the most.

In his brief introductory remarks, GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham reminded participants of the many efforts by GOPIO, which has led a delegation to the IRS representing Indian Americans and their many concerns, especially on the FBAR issue in the year 2011.

GOPIO-CT President Ashok Nichani welcomed the panelists and the participants. In his remarks, he highlighted the many initiatives, especially educating Indian Americans on Taxes and Tax Laws in the US. GOPIO-CT Vice president Prasad Chintalapudi moderated the Q/A after each speaker. GOPIO-Central Jersey Vie President Vijay Garg served hosted the Zoom event for GOPIO-CT. Other GOPIO leaders present at the Webinar included GOPIO-CT Secretary Rajneesh Misra. GOPIO International officers including Vice President Ram Gadhavi, Treasurer Kewal Kanda, Associate Secretary Jaswant Mody and Media Council Chair Nami Kaur, GOPIO-Manhattan President Shivender Sofat and GOPIO-Central jersey President Kunal Mehta.

Over the last 14 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future. GOPIO-CT – Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of PIOs through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities.