Medical Education for Non Resident Indians (NRI)

Education in India, especially specialized degree level programs are quite popular among NRIs. In many cases, education in India, especially for specialized programs in Medicine and Engineering is much less expensive as compared to similar programs in western universities.

Parents working abroad who can afford good-quality education find it affordable to send their kids to India. While NRI parents desire quality education for their wards, the demand far exceeds supply. Colleges in India have limited seats for NRIs that are reserved after exhausting requirements from local candidates and those coming from other “reserved” quotas in India.

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

A few weeks ago, we featured the streamlining of the centralized Medical entrance exam “NEET 2017 for NRI, OCI, and foreign national aspirants” There is further clarification on this :

Taking the one nation, one exam to the next level, the Medical Council of India has now decided that there will be a single centralised admission process to all its colleges and for all quotas, including the management and NRI share of seats.

A landmark amendment now promises that respective state governments will conduct centralized counselling and admission to all MBBS and post graduate courses in institutes that were out of their ambit – private universities, deemed universities, minority institutes. In fact, being futuristic in approach, the act also covers institutes that may be set up by companies.

“Merit and nothing else will be the consideration,” says Arun Singhal, joint secretary of the department of health and family welfare. “This amendment covers all kinds of medical institutes and even seats under the management quota and NRI quota must be submitted to the state government for counselling and common admission,” he says.

But as soon as the MCI notification was out, lobbying from the community of deemed universities started. States are locking horns over the interpretation of the notice and governments of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana have stated that according to their understanding, “all admission” as mentioned by the MCI does not include the NRI seats.

Some other states have responded by stating that there is no NRI share in their colleges. Some other like Maharashtra have sought legal opinion from the state government to clarify their reading in the matter.”

(ref: Single window admission process for even NRI quota medical seats – TNN | Updated: Mar 22)


Other articles on the topic

Q&A: What is Eb5 visa?

Given the hype in the media over potential changes to American visa and immigration regulations, EB5 is being touted by immigration consultants and an “easy” way to get an American Green Card.

Let us start with the Official: USCIS Link EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

USCIS administers the EB-5 Program. Under this program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) if they:

– Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and

 

– Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

The following link to GaramChai.com Eb5 visa section has a more detailed description and analysis of the EB5 program

EB5 is an American “investor” visa. The EB-5 visa provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States. To obtain the visa, individuals must invest $1,000,000 (or at least $500,000 in a Targeted Employment Area – high unemployment or rural area), creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S.

Assuming you are a high-net worth individual who can afford to invest US$ 0.5 to 1 million, it is still worth heeding the Investor Alert: Investment Scams Exploit Immigrant Investor Program (USCIS and SEC caution investors)

If your investment through EB-5 turns out to be in a fraudulent securities offering, you may lose both your money and your path to lawful permanent residency in the United States. Carefully vet any EB-5 offering before investing your money and your hope of becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

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:

 

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.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 2017

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9 January every year to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.

Ministry of External Affairs | Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 | Redefining Engagement with Overseas Indians

PBD conventions are being held every year since 2003. These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities. These conventions are also very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.

During the event, individuals of exceptional merit are honoured with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award to appreciate their role in India’s growth. The event also provides a forum for discussing key issues concerning the Indian Diaspora.


Here is an interesting question:

I was born and brought up in India, and like so many of my countrymen, I now find myself enjoying my work and life here in the US. I am on the standard H1B->GreenCard->Citizenship path that many follow.

But I love my country and until recently I could not imagine living permanently elsewhere. I was wondering what it’s like to give up Indian citizenship and accept American citizenship? Was it a hard choice? Did you have regrets?

Response from our editor, Mohan, Naturalized American, OCI, Lived and worked in a dozen countries:

For many of us who have lived overseas for extended periods of time, a western passport is a practical tool to have. Traveling back to India every so often is made easy by having an OCI.                  

Take my example: The decision for me wasn’t hard. I naturalized as an American in 2012, after which I had to have my Indian passport cancelled and applied for an OCI. This was a very practical decision since I lived in the US and worked for a European multinational. I was expected to make frequent business trips from the US to the European HQ. As Indian Passport holder (even with a US Green Card) I was required to apply and renew a Schengen visa. A US passport allows a visa-free travel.

There are few professions like Government service, holding a Political office or military where nationalism and patriotism are kind of a “Bona fide occupational qualifications” For the rest of us in professional services or business, nationalistic sentiments take a back seat to one’s family and friends, and life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

One way of looking at Naturalization and giving up a birth-citizenship to acquire another one is similar to the “Flag of convenience – Wikipedia.”

So, how does it feel?

  • Does my heart flutter every time I hear Lata Mangeshkar’s “A mere watan ke logo” or Mahendra Kapoor’s “mere desh ki dharti…” Sure it does every time!
  • Do I feel a sense of pride standing up for “star spangled banner” or when I hear “America the Beautiful.” You Bet !

How do I target NRI clients through Facebook?

Hmm, wouldn’t it be easy to just enter a few keywords on Facebook groups and target Non Resident Indians (NRI) ? Marketers, consultants and analysts would be out of jobs and most advertisers could just click a few buttons.

In reality it is much more challenging to identify NRIs. This is because:

  • The varied demographics and backgrounds of the people that make up NRIs. NRIs could range from laborers in Dubai and Muscat to bankers on Wall Street and London… and of course Techies on H1 visas and hundreds of thousands of students in western universities.
  • Geographic spread. NRIs are geographically dispersed across the globe
  • Varied professions. NRIs range from housewives to Hindu priests in temples to professionals to Motel business owners.

Now, back to your question. You need to begin classifying your target audience

  • Which – profession, economic class – are the NRIs you are looking to target?
  • Where – Identify the location where you plan to target NRIs
  • Why – Why do you plan to target NRIs? What do you plan to sell them?

Once you have narrowed down the groups, you need further research on NRI portals – example Garamchai.Com – with listings of businesses, places of worship, Indian associations, Student associations etc.

After you have identified these associations and businesses, search on Facebook groups to target people.

If you think all this is a lot of effort you are not wrong. This is just step one in engagement since NRIs even in online groups are going to be wary of unsolicited requests from strangers. This means you need a plan to engage in social media before you can “target” them.

Message me if you need references to consultants who may be able to guide you. All the best!