$11.5 billion NRI investment coming into realty, there is money to be made

Three months back, if someone would have recommended real estate stocks, you would have thought he must be joking.

After the demonetisation drive in November, the real estate sector was left in the ruins as the worst casualty of the cash ban.


You may also be interested in section of GaramChai.com – Realtors, Real Estate, mortgage and property deals for NRIs, Indians and Indo-Americans


But you will be in for surprise if I tell you that the S&P BSE Realty index, the barometer of the real estate sector, has actually delivered 14 per cent return so far in 2017 and is up nearly 2 per cent since demonetisation.

What does it tell you? The concerns about the real estate sector are largely done with and after the mega booster dose from the Union Budget, things are looking not just rosy but attractive to make this sector a top investment bet for the year.

The Budget announcements clearly indicated that the government’s focus on improving affordability of homes will benefit end-users, which would result in significant increase in housing supply in the secondary market.

“In 2017, total NRI investment in realty in top eight cities is expected to touch $11.5 billion. This will represent 20 per cent of total market share, currently estimated at $60 billion,” KanikaBSE -5.00 % Gupta Shori, COO & Co- Founder, Square Yards, said in a report.

Read more at Economic Times 

Holy Cow: Two sides of the coin. In this case two sides of the new £5 notes with Tallow

A few months ago, Indians and South Asians in Britain,  especially vegetarian Hindus and Jains,  were irked by news that the new currency note – the £5 polymer note – introduced in England contained tallow. Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet, and is used in candles and soaps.

After the news broke out, Vegetarian Hindus and Vegans in general took offense and took up digital campaigns.  A petition demanding the replacement of the notes with a vegan alternative generated over 130,000 signatures. (change.org). The government and Bank of England began looking into the issue and acknowledged via Twitter that “There is a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate of the polymer £5 notes” 

Image tweeted by @LabourAnimalRG

So, why is this a big deal for Hindus and Vegetarians?

The National Council of Hindu Temples, summarized the feelings of Desi community in a statement (link):

The oldest of the worlds’ great religious traditions, Hinduism is the only one that worships the Divine equally in both the masculine and feminine. Our agrarian forefathers offered the bull as a symbol of divine righteousness (the male principle), while the cow is a symbol of divine nurturing (the feminine principle). We now, centuries later, still embrace these symbols and hold them close to our hearts to remind us of the path laid out for us by these complementary forces. To handle something from a slaughtered cow would be to insult the Divine Mother, the principle of nurturing and the loving provision of nature. No aware Hindu will willingly or voluntarily do it.

All British Hindus stand at the crossroads of Shreyas and Preyas, and with every donation at a temple, or every aashirwaad given to a new married couple, or every blessing conveyed by a gift of money given to a grandchild, the choice will have to be made again and again. The next time that PM Theresa May, or other Parliamentarians, visit a Hindu temple they too will have to make this choice before contemplating making a symbolic donation, and since great importance is placed upon Indo British Trade in a post Brexit Britain, payments made in a morally, religiously and ethically tainted currency may well acquire a totally different “bhavana” sentiment.

History of Tallow and Hindus

There is a long history of Hindus and Muslims being provoked and angered by the use of animal byproducts, which the modern British leader seem to have forgotten; or wish to ignore. The key reason for “Indian Rebellion of 1857,” a.k.a the mutiny by sepoys (soldiers) of the East India Company’s army on 10 May 1857 was the use of Tallow and lard-greased cartridges. (link)

The British, probably assumed that the values and mores of Indians, especially those of Indian immigrants in the UK changed considerably in the decades since.

The other side of the Tallow note

The British Government and Bank of England began to downplay the issue and used digerati to communicate the fact that there was less than 0.00007g of Tallow per £5 note. In effect, all the banknotes in circulation combined would have less than 23kgs, half the tallow output of an average cow!  Some also argued that currency notes were an outdated concept in a digital age and this shouldn’t be a big deal.

Now comes the news that the Bank of England has refused to yield to pressure from protest groups about its use of animal-derived products in bank notes, saying that it will not pull any of the existing £5 notes from circulation and will print the £10 notes as planned.

“The Bank was not aware of the presence of animal-derived products when it signed the contract with its supplier for the £5 and £10 banknote polymer,” the Bank said in a statement last week.

“When the Bank discovered the presence of these products, its first step was to alert the public and subsequently has been treating the concerns raised by members of the public with the utmost seriousness,” it added.

What next?

Activists were disappointed by the announcement from theBank of England. “The move has disappointed the sizable but vocal Asian minority in England “The Bank keeping tallow, or beef fat, in the new fiver sends a message to vegans, as well as Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, that our values don’t matter”  summarizes an article in Guardian

Vegan and Hindu groups have promised to keep the issue alive, so this is probably not the last word on the topic.

Other links:

 

NRIs have a hard time adopting a child. Maybe this is why

I was reminded of the excruciating process NRIs and OCIs undergo while reading a recent story “NRI woman, two others plotted to kill adopted boy”

People adopt children for different reasons. Some couples do it because they aren’t able to conceive, while others do it for altruistic reasons. Regardless of the reason, adopting a child can be one of the most selfless acts a couple can do.

Adoption of children from India by Non Resident Indians (NRI) or Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) can be especially hard. India has a lot of orphanages with destitute children but the legal system for adoption in India can be painfully slow, especially if the parents happen to be NRI or OCI and hold foreign passports, and intend to take the child out of India. Adoption agencies, at least the genuine ones go by the letter of the law. The excruciating wait can test the will of all but the most spirited prospective parents.

The news account of the recent incident in Times of India goes on to describe:

 

 

The murder of a 12-year-old orphan boy, Gopal Ajani, on February 8 was the result of conspiracy hatched by a London-based NRI woman and two others to adopt the child first, insure him for a huge amount and then eliminate him to claim insurance.Investigation by Keshod police revealed names of NRI woman Aarti Dhir (53) and Nitish Mund (27), both natives of Gurdaspur in Punjab, and Kanwaljit Raizada, a resident of Keshod. Nitish and Raizada were studying together in London and were sharing a room there. Aarti was their neighbour and works in a watch showroom. The trio had been hatching this conspiracy since 2015 when they met in London, said Ashok Tilva, police inspector.

“After the adoption formalities of Gopal were completed, they had taken a life insurance of Rs 1.30 crore for the boy. The insurance money was to be shared among the three in proportion to the premium they contributed. They had also paid two premiums of Rs 13 lakh each,” Tilva told TOI.

What makes humans commit such ghastly acts for money is beyond comprehension. Stories like these, when done in the backdrop of noble act of adoption is all the more heart wrenching. It makes one empathize with the bureaucracy put in place to safeguard interests of adoptees.


Other links of interest

NRI’s date with politics: Non Resident Indians participating in politics

An interesting question came up online “How can I participate in Indian politics being an NRI?” The question prompted us to research on this topic further.

Many Indian-Citizen NRIs participate indirectly in Indian politics by the use of social media. Some NRIs actively participate on overseas chapters of political organizations like Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and others.

Some NRIs are also known to travel to their Indian “home-town” to actively participate in elections and to vote.

Image result for oci indian

A times of India article features “NRI’s date with politics”

But what makes Indians living abroad to be a part of political process in India? The people of Indian heritage living across the world have a mix of characteristics: some are foreign citizens, while others are Indian citizens (NRIs). Some have nominal relationship with India, their ancestors having left Indian shores generations back, while others belong to the pool of a mobile population having active stay and ties in India. Majority of NRIs living abroad find new roots in adopted lands, raise families, work and pay taxes and enjoy the facilities and privileges as much as locals do. But there is something that makes them yearn for India! They may continue to live offshore, yet their heart lies in India. In other words, you cannot take India out of their hearts. Aligning with a charitable work is one of the common things NRIs do to give back to India. Increasingly, political participation has also become a tool for many to contribute to their motherland even while sitting afar.

Over the years, the political parties of India have also reached out to the Indians settled abroad. This has culminated in Indian parties having their foreign extensions. Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) is the most obvious case in point. Its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) also has overseas presence. The global front rechristened as Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS)- has presence in several countries. The HSS provides a platform for cultural nourishment to the Indians (Hindus) far away from their land and also conduct ‘sakhsas’.

The current year marks 25 years of existence of HSS in the USA. Similarly, OFBJP has chapters in more than 15 countries, with most active presence in the USA, the UK and Canada. Behind successful organisation of political rallies for BJP’s Narendra Modi were the combined efforts of the HSS and the OFBJP. The significance of overseas chapters can be gazed from the fact that BJP has in place a full time global convener whose job is to actively work on the overseas chapters. But the most amazing story of an Indian political movement galvanising the Indian diaspora across the world is exemplified by none other than the nascent political party called Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Many Indians Oversea  (OCIs) actively participate in the politics of their host nations, especially after they attain citizenship of their host countries.

NEET 2017 FAQ for NRI, OCI, and foreign national aspirants

Here is a recent announcement from India’s  Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) regarding NATIONAL ELIGIBILITY CUM ENTRANCE TEST (NEET)

As per regulations framed under the Indian Medical Council Act-1956 as amended in 2016 and the Dentists Act-1948 as amended in 2016, NATIONAL ELIGIBILITY CUM ENTRANCE TEST (UG) – 2017 [NEET(UG)-2017] will be conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), for admission to MBBS/BDS Courses in India in Medical/Dental Colleges run with the approval of Medical Council of India/Dental Council of India under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India except for the institutions established through an Act of Parliament e.g. AIIMS and JIPMER Puducherry.

The NEET (UG)-2017 will be conducted on Sunday, the 7th May, 2017. The responsibility of the CBSE is limited to the conduct of the entrance examination, declaration of result and providing All India Rank to the Directorate General Health Services, Government of India for the conduct of counselling for 15% All India Quota Seats and for supplying the result to state/other Counselling Authorities.

A lot of students go abroad to study medicine. Those who have studied medicine in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are exempted from the screening test. (Representational image)
Googled Image of Test takers

 

This year foreign national aspirants need to take NEET, according to Supreme Court orders passed last year. Here are some key points that Non-Resident Indians (NRI), Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and foreign nationals need to keep in mind before applying for NEET 2017.

A few additional clarifications for NRIs and Foreign nationals

What is the minimum qualification for appearing in NEET-UG, 2017 for candidates of Foreign Nationals?

  • Any examination which in scope and standard (Last 02 years of 10+2 Study comprising of Physics, Chemistry and Biology/Bio-technology; Which shall include practical test in these subjects) is found to be equivalent to the Intermediate Science Examination of an Indian University/Board, taking Physics, Chemistry and Biology/Bio-technology including practical tests in each of these subjects and English.
  • Provided that to be eligible for competitive entrance examination, candidate must have passed any of the qualifying examinations as enumerated in Bulletin or appearing in the qualifying examination in 2017.
  • Provided further that the students educated abroad seeking admission into medical colleges in India must have passed in the subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Bio-technology and English up to the 12th standard level with 50% marks and their equivalency determined as per regulations of the Medical Council of India and the concerned University.

 

What are the eligibility criteria for appearing in NEET-UG, 2017?

Indian Nationals, Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Oversees Citizen of India (OCIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) & Foreign Nationals are eligible to appear in NEET (UG)-2017.

  • He/she has completed age of 17 years at the time of admission or will complete the age on or before 31st December of the year of his/her admission to the 1styear MBBS/BDS Course.
  • The upper age limit for NEET-UG is 25 years as on the date of examination with relaxation of 5 years for the candidates belonging to SC/ST/ OBC category.

Who can appear in NEET-UG, 2017 for 15% All India Quota seats?

  • Indian Nationals
  • Non Resident Indians (NRIs)
  • Oversees Citizen of India (OCIs)
  • Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs)
  • Foreign Nationals are eligible to appear in NEET (UG)-2017 for 15% All India Quota Seats.

From which city foreign nationals, OCIs & PIOs can appear in NEET-UG, 2017?

They can choose any three cities as given in Appendix-II.


In your own words: Stories of those affected by Trump’s visa ban in US

Here are a few personal accounts of people affected by President Trump’s Executive action on Visa bans.

Kamran Khan, works at Microsoft
My wife and I are legal permanent residents of US. Our two-year old son was born here. Pakistan has not been placed on the list, yet.

But we are not leaving the country for foreseeable future. Trump’s absolutely bonkers and random. His executive orders come as surprise to even his own cabinet. Who knows, maybe we’ll drive to Vancouver and upon returning a few hours later we’ll be told that we cannot enter USA anymore. We’re not going back home to visit family or relatives.

We are thankfully, not refugees. But the general atmosphere now is that of fear and apprehension. I don’t go to the mosque — or for that matter, I’m not even a religious person — but that does not mean that I’m not afraid.


Pourya Darnihamedani, ; Entrepreneurship Researcher

I was planning to go to a conference in Atlanta in the summer, Academy of Management to present my paper and get to know other scholars. But this idea is shattered by Mr. Trump’s order. When I think about it, it feels horrible and unjust to be banned only because of my nationality (Iranian); something that is randomly assigned to you and you have no control over it.

I have nothing to do with terrorism as I am merely an academician and entrepreneurship writer. Yet, they imposed a ban on someone like me. I really like the US as a country since I traveled four times before but now it seems unlikely..

Iranians form a successful and intellectual community in the US and there has never been ANY terrorist attack by Iranians so I am sure that there are other reasons to put my country in the list.


Niyati Vishwanath

My cousin’s H4 Visa was recently rejected, so he moved from where he was working in Orlando and stayed with us for a few weeks before his flight back to India. He left SFO on a Thursday red-eye and, due to flight pricing, decided to take a 3-leg flight East instead of flying West over the Pacific, which is what we usually do when going to India.

He had a stopover in Dallas/Ft Wth right after Trump announced the visa ban, and had no idea what was going on.

We got a call from him on Friday morning that went something like this (translated into English)-
“Did something important happen during my flight?”
“No, not really, why? Did your flight get cancelled??” (He had a two hour stopover so any delays would have made him miss two more subsequent flights)

“No, no, that’s all fine, but I was just randomly stopped and asked for a passport check and they said it was new protocol, do you know anything about that?”

After some digging we realized that he was randomly stopped while walking from one terminal to the other and asked to show his passport by an airport official. He said they asked him several question about his Indian passport and checked it for its authenticity before letting him go.


Benyamin Jamshideyan, Swedish, Aspiring Writer/Poet, Dreamer

I was actually planning on traveling to USA during spring, which has always been my dream. I was planning on traveling to Venice at first, but then I said to myself: “why not New York or Los Angeles, like you always wanted?”

I love New York. My fictional work is based on a lot of things about the city and the vibe that I’ve always felt vibrating from it whenever seeing it in art, film or reading it in a book. I actually know some streets now, because of research for my book. The city, in my opinion, is breathtaking and unique. I played GTA IV, just so that I could feel the dark, rainy New York City feel washing into my soul here in Sweden.

I’ve never been a fan of the American government (as one may know if they’ve been following me on Quora). Not that I’m much of a fan of any state’s government in the world, really.

Now I obviously can’t since I’m of Iranian descent and a national through my parents, despite the fact that I was raised in Sweden from the age of 1.5. I’m not politically involved, not an activist in any form, just a normal Swedish national who aspires to be a writer and is deeply both influenced and inspired by the culture of USA.


Faria Ali, Studying mind basis of politics
We are US citizens born in Pakistan. My spouse’s parents are legal Permanent residents from Pakistan. Although Pakistan is not on the list yet, like Kamran Khan mentioned who the heck knows.

They are visiting Pakistan right now for a wedding. Who knows if they will be allowed back in and how long my two children aged two and four will be waiting for their Grammy and granddaddy whom they adore.

What is disturbing about this EO is that it undermines the promise of the United States government. A legal Permanent Resident is essentially a United States citizen minus voting and jury duty. Lawful Permanent Residents | Homeland Security so going forward this does not mean anything if you happen to be Muslim. You are not welcome in your own country where you have your life, your home, the people you love.

I’m also not a practicing Muslim but who cares. Now we wait if our kids grandparents make it back in a few weeks and how much of the “extreme vetting” 75 year olds with health issues can endure.

This is not the country we made home two decades ago as aspiring teenagers. We don’t recognize this America.

Read the rest of the accounts on Quora

Facebook spells love story for this septuagenarian NRI

Teenage love stories are common as are the stories of Cupid’s arrows being shot across the internet. But rare indeed is the septuagenarian couple, falling in love on Facebook and ending up in a wedlock in Jamui district.

Satrughan Prasad Singh, 77, an engineer by profession, left his Ghovghat village in Jamui in 1960s after completing his engineering studies in Kolkata and settled in Germany with his wife. She, unfortunately, died in 2014.

Call it destiny or hand of technology, a depressed Singh met 75-year-old German woman Edeltrud Habib on Facebook and developed a friendship with her. That soon morphed into an old-age love story.

“Soon we fell in love and decided to live as life partners. Now we are married,” said a joyous Singh. Habib’s husband died five years ago.

“The marriage ceremony was held in a temple with austerity as per the age-old Hindu rituals on Sunday, and it was attended by his family members and other relatives,” Mahender Singh, a relative of newly-wed Singh, said.

Singh retired 16 years ago after he worked for 38 years in Germany while Habib retired from a judicial service. Singh recalled that after their friendship on Facebook, he met Habib at an airport in Germany.

“I am happy that my family, relatives and others welcomed my decision and helped us to become a couple,” he said. Habib said she would try to learn Hindi and would re-visit Singh’s native place.

“I love Indian people, their traditions, culture and heart-warming behaviour,” she said.

The newly-wed septuagenarian couple will after a few days return to Germany to begin a new life there.

article from TimesofIndia

“Growing Up Smith” Expands Theatrical Release to Additional Cities in Second Week

(New York, NY – February 3, 2017)  Due to an overwhelming response to advance ticket sales during opening weekend (February 3rd), the heartfelt family comedy Growing Up Smith, directed by Frank Lotito, and starring Jason Lee (My Name is Earl) and Anjul Nigam (Bad Words and True Detective), has been slated to release in several additional markets on February 10th, including Philadelphia, Hartford, Boston and Detroit.

Here’s what critics are saying about the coming-of-age Little Miss Sunshine meets My Girl family-friendly film:

“The film has accidental topicality now with the debate over immigration swirling, but you don’t need to burden it with politics to be touched by its tale of a child who is pulled by two very different cultural worlds.”
– New York Times Review

Fort Worth Star Telegram calls the film “charmingly amusing and surprisingly timely…like an extended episode of ‘The Wonder Years.'”

Growing Up Smith is a solid watch for kids of a certain age, or really anyone who has ever been a little bit different from those around them.” – Josh Hurtado, ScreenAnarchy

Distributed by Good Deed Entertainment and inspired by a true story set in the year 1979, Growing Up Smith is about a family from India that moves to America with hopes of living the American Dream. While their 10-year-old boy, Smith, falls head-over-heels for the girl next door, his desire to become a “good old boy” propels him further away from his family’s ideas than ever before.

“In light of the recent immigration concerns in our country, this film highlights a positive immigrant experience in the late 70s and reminds us that love does not see race or creed,” said Scott Donley, CEO & Founder of Good Deed Entertainment.
Actor/Writer/Producer Nigam says that “the movie is a tribute to childhood heroes, first love and growing up in Small Town, America. We’re proud to say that it’s a film with no explosions, no profanity and no violence,” which is the unspoken mantra at Nigam’s production company, Brittany House Pictures.

GROWING UP SMITH
Starring: Jason Lee (“My Name Is Earl”), Anjul Nigam (“Bad Words”), Brighton Sharbino (“The Walking Dead”), Hilarie Burton (“One Tree Hill”), Jake Busey (“From Dusk Till Dawn”),  Tim Guinee (“Iron Man 1 and 2”), Alison Wright (“The Americans”), Poorna Jagannathan (“Delhi Belly”), Samrat Chakrabarti (“Waiting City”) and introducing Roni Akurati as “Smith”

Director: Frank Lotito

Producers: Anjul Nigam, Frank Lotito, Steve Straka

Writers: Anjul Nigam, Paul Quinn, Gregory Scott Houghton

Story: In 1979, a family from India moves to America with hopes of living the American Dream. While their 10-year-old boy Smith falls head-over-heels for the girl next door, his desire to become a “good old boy” propels him further away from his family’s ideals than ever before. A tribute to childhood heroes, first love and growing up in Small Town, America… in simpler times.

| Press Release |

Global Citizen Priyanka Chopra speaks out against Trump’s Immigration action

American and Indian media is all abuzz with accounts of Hollywood-Bollywood star and self proclaimed “Global Citizen,” Priyanka Chopra speaking out against President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban.

Priyanka Chopra (photo credit: iampriyankachopra.com)

Ms Chopra, who is gearing up for her Hollywood debut with ‘Baywatch’, made an emotional appeal for the suffering children. “As a global citizen, this has deeply affected me,” the Quantico star wrote.

In her widely circulated LinkedIn blog post, “We live in tough times… but I have hope” Ms Chopra says “As a global citizen, this has deeply affected me,” adding

Getting ready to post this blog, I was grounded by the news. All of the ‘banned’ countries are places where a lot of UNICEF work is going on, where children are suffering the most. What can I add that people across professions and age groups have not already said? But adding your voice will definitely make a difference.

And make a difference we must. Please join me in making our voice stronger so that globally, our children are not discriminated against on the basis of their religion and do not have to bear the brunt of a political witch hunt.

Yes Priyanka, we join you in making our voice stronger !


Other articles on this topic:

Event announcement: Inner Engineering with Sadhguru in North America

Inner Engineering with Sadhguru in North America


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Dear All,

We hope that you have enjoyed the wisdom and clarity from Sadhguru through the
various videos, blogs, and articles that you may have perused. Perhaps you have picked up tips on how to live happier, with less stress, and more joyfully, or you have recalled Sadhguru’s jokes or anecdotes and it brought a smile or sparked a moment of clarity.

All of this is just a glimpse of what is possible with Sadhguru. If you wish to know the
full depth and dimension of what Sadhguru has to offer, one should do the
Inner Engineering program with him.

This Spring Sadhguru will be offering the Inner Engineering Completion program in Tampa and Vancouver for the first time.

Inner  Engineering is a distilled essence of yogic science which is thorough overhaul of body, mind, emotions and energy. The Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya, a simple 21 minute practice that you will learn from Sadhguru during this event is a powerful and purifying energy process. This practice incorporates the breath, giving access to your deepest life energies and making it vibrantly alive.

This is a rare opportunity for one to receive this life nurturing science from an
authentic source. Please don’t miss this opportunity as this program happens only once or twice a year in North America.

Watch video: Sadhguru on Shambhavi

To learnmore about the program visit http://innerengineering.com/SadhguruLive/
 

Tampa April 29 – 30
Tampa Convention Center

Special Early Bird Offer For Single Registration: $350 valid until April 1st

Special Early Bird Offer for 2 or more Registrations: $250 each valid until March 18th

For any other inquiries please email Tampa@IshaUSA.org.

Vancouver May 27 – 28
Vancouver Convention Center

Special Early Bird Offer For Single Registration: CAD 465
valid until April 29th

Special Early Bird Offer for 2 or more Registrations: CAD 330
each valid until April 15th

 
  For any other inquiries please email
Vancouver@IshaFoundation.org.

 

Click here to register

 

Isha Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization which aims to bring well-being through yoga and meditation. To ensure that everyone has the opportunity to empower themselves, those who may need financial assistance please contact us for hardship application at Info@InnerEngineering.com.

Looking forward to seeing you for this life-transforming weekend.

Warm Regards, Isha Volunteers 


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|Press release |