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Lok Sabha Enables Bill Allowing NRIs to Cast Vote Through Proxy August 11, 2018 10:45

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed a bill to widen the facility of 'proxy voting' to abroad Indians, on the lines of service voters. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad responding to the debate on the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2017, said it was a "momentous event" and a sizable chance was being given to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).He said the constitution makers had given the right to vote to all Indians and as such the NRIs too had the right. "Let us not deride the contribution of NRIs. They have made a place for themselves through their hard work. Their commitment to India is truly remarkable," he said.Regarding the possibility of misuse of proxy provision, he said regulations will be made in such a way that if the law is flouted, it will lead to cancellation of the mandate. "Our sympathy is with them. They should be given the right to vote," he said.Prasad said migrant workers can at present vote from their original place of living or by satisfying the Election Commission that they were ordinary residents of their place of work."It is a properly defined legal word. Armed forces are also given right of proxy voting," he said.Regarding the proposal for presenting e-voting, Prasad said there were a batch of troubles in it and more advancement in technology will be required to make a secure architecture.Pointing to opposition benches, he said they should not have any objection if NRIs want to listen to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he travels abroad.The Representation of the People Act, 1950 renders for allocation of seats and delimitation of constituencies for elections, qualifications of voters, and preparation of electoral rolls.The Representation of the People Act, 1951, provides for the conduct of elections and offenses and disputes related to elections. The statement of grounds and objects of the bill states that the Registration of Electoral Rules, 1960 render that the abroad voters can register themselves in the electoral rolls and exercise their franchise in person on production of original passport. "The existing rules stipulate the physical presence of the overseas electors in the respective polling station in India on the day of polling. This causes hardship to the overseas electors in exercising their franchise by being present in India on the day of polling."In view of the above difficulty faced by the overseas electors, the Government has considered the feasibility of facilitating external mode of voting i.e. voting by proxy, whereby such electors can exercise their franchise from their place of residence abroad," the statement said.According to a United Nations survey, India's diaspora population is the largest in the world with 16 million people from the country living in 2015.The bill likewise proposes changes in the Acts to make provisions gender neutral and supplant the term wife with a spouse.By Sowmya Sangam

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Indian-origin Mathematician Akshay Venkatesh Wins Fields Medal August 02, 2018 11:27

A renowned Indian-Australian mathematician Akshay Venkatesh, who is currently teaching at Stanford University has been bestowed with mathematics esteemed Fields medal among four others, which is known as the Nobel prize for math.  For every four years, the Fields medals are awarded to the most promising mathematicians under the age of 40.The New-Delhi born 93-year-old has won the Fields Medal for his "profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics."On Wednesday, at the International Congress of Mathematics, the citation for his medal has been awarded in Rio de Janeiro highlights his "profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics" and his "strikingly far-reaching conjectures."The winner's received a Canadian-dollar cash prize of 15,000. At least two, and preferably four people, are always honored in the award ceremony.In 1932, the prize was commenced at the request of John Charles Fields, a Canadian mathematician who ran the 1924 Mathematics Congress in Toronto.Venkatesh's life journey has been full of accolades and achievements - from being a child prodigy to becoming one of the most renowned researchers in the mathematics field. He moved to Perth, Australia, with his parents when he was 2.He participated the premier international competitions for high school students - in maths and physics Olympiads and won medals in the two subjects at ages 11 and 12, respectively.At the age of 13, he finished his high school and at of 16, he graduated from University of Western Australia with first class honors in mathematics in 1997.In 2002, at the age of 20, he earned his Ph.D. At MIT, he held a post-doctoral position to become a Clay Research Fellow and, at present a professor at Stanford University.By Sowmya Sangam

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Govt. Framing New Law to Tackle Problems in NRI Marriages: Sushma Swaraj July 28, 2018 15:59

The Minister of External Affairs of India on Friday said the government is framing a new law to tackle the difficulty in NRI (Non-Resident Indian) marriages and providing for deterrent measures. The measures would comprise confiscation of NRI properties who have abandoned their wives.A new bill is likely to be taken up in the next session of Parliament, which would cancel passport and confiscate the property of a person, said Swaraj Swaraj, at a seminar on trafficking of women and children and NRI marriages. "We are also developing a separate website where summons and warrants against NRI men who have abandoned their wives and have illegally married abroad will be uploaded. Those responding to it will be declared a proclaimed offender and his properties would be seized," she added."And if he doesn't return, his property could be sold to give financial aid to his aggrieved wife. We will have to make some amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure. We are already in talks with Law and Home ministry and all efforts are being made to ensure that a law is in place by the end of this year," she said.The MEA has received about 3,328 complaints from Indian women in last three years who have been abandoned by their NRI husbands."We are acting tough on such cases. For a start, the passports of eight NRI men accused of abandoning their wives have been canceled. The accused whose passports were revoked have surrendered," Sushma Swaraj added.By Sowmya Sangam

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Indian-origin woman, ex-lover Jailed for Murder in Australia June 23, 2018 14:32

Nearly three years after the murder of Keralite Sam Abraham, his wife, and her ex-beau, both hailing from Kerala have been imprisoned in Melbourne for more than 20 years by an Australian court for malignantly poisoning her husband with cyanide-laced orange juice.Sofia Sam, 34, and her ex-lover Arun Kamalasanan, 36, were found guilty in February for putting Sofia's spouse Sam Abraham to death at his residence in Melbourne in October 2015, According to Australian news agency.On Thursday, Australian Supreme Court imprisoned Arun Kamalasanan, who hold the "architect" of the poison plot, for 27 years and Sofia Sam for 22 years.Sam Abraham, 33, was found dead in his trousers and foaming at the mouth, initially is thought to have suffered a heart failure. But a post-mortem report subsequently disclosed he died of cyanide poisoning. After a drawn-out police operation, Arun and Sam were charged, proved and found guilty."This is a very serious example of the crime of murder. Sam Abraham was a young man asleep in bed at home with his family when he was killed by the use of poison. I am satisfied that the poison was chosen as your murder weapon in an attempt to avoid detection," said Justice Paul Coghlan while announcing the sentence.A long lens was used by detectives to spy on Sofia and Kamalasanan for months after the death, watching them meet for lunch and run errands, the report said.A secret diary was also unveiled by detectives in which Sofia shared with Arun, illustrating their "deep" feelings for each other."It was a major part of the prosecution case that both of you had been in a long-term relationship, notwithstanding you both being married," Justice Coghlan said.Sam and Arun, both hailing from Kerala met during their course at Mahatma Gandhi University. Arun had left his married woman and kid back in India and moved to Melbourne in the middle of 2013.According to trial, Sam moved with her six-year-old son to Australia from India in 2012."Both Sofia and Arun had a motive to kill Sam. They both wanted to be together," Prosecutor Kerri Judd had told the trial.The court set a non-parole period to Arun for 23 years and 18 years for Sofia.By Sowmya Sangam

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Families of Abducted Indians Still Await to Meet Swaraj June 09, 2018 17:41

A Menage of Indians who were abducted by few unknown gunmen in Afghanistan claims they were turned away from the Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday.Relatives of three of the seven Indians who protested in front of Swaraj’s ministry with some activists from All India Students Association (AISA) on Thursday claimed that some authoritarian's from her ministry promised an assemblage once the minister returned from her trip to South Africa.Nevertheless, sources claimed that their meeting on Saturday was rescheduled to reckon some representatives from KEC, the company the seven Indian engineers were working for when they were abducted a month ago.Among those who went to meet Swaraj were Prem Chand Mahto and Mohan Kumar Mahto (not related), both from Jharkhand’s Giridh district.Prem Chand Mahto’s 28-year-old son Hulas Mahto and Mohan Kumar Mahto’s father were among those who were taken hostage.The seven Indian engineers were abducted from Afghanistan’s Baghlan area. Although no group claimed the abduction, Baghlan province governor blame it on he Taliban.Indian government has said it was in touch with Afghan government for updates, although the ministry has refused to part with details citing security concerns.By Sowmya Sangam

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Passports of Five NRIs Revoked for Abandoning Wives Abroad May 30, 2018 09:50

Indian government, for the first time has revoked passports of five Non-Resident Indians on the accusation of abandoning their wives soon after wedlock or following conflicts abroad.The evolution has come after Ministry of External Affairs agreed to a proposal by Union Women and Child Development Ministry to issue rigorous action in NRI marital dispute cases.The law ministry as well this week acknowledged a proposal by WCD ministry in issuance of order through MEA website in such cases.“This is a crucial step the government has taken to curb this fast-growing menace as we are abandoned with complaints where brides are dumped by NRI grooms post weddings,” a senior WCD ministry official said.The revoking of passports will force NRI grooms to return to India and face the trial as they had been evading arrests by not responding to summons despite non-bailable warrants issued against them, the official said.The measure has been taken in cases where look-out circulars were  issued last month as a part of standard operating procedure. The authorities have been receiving pleadings of impostors, forsaking, domestic violence, extra-marital relationships, ex parte divorce, duping of money after promising wedlock and illegal retention of children's custody among other pleadings.The ministry official further said, a large number of NRI Matrimonial dispute cases remain pending on account of non-appearance of the perpetrator jeopardizing women and children’s future.Under the chairmanship of secretary, WCD ministry an Integrated Nodal Agency was constituted to work on the issues related to NRI Matrimonial Dispute. The proposed measures are such as connecting the property of wife deserters and their families in India to deter such activities.The surveys by few Non-Governmental Organizations bespeak that there are thousands of women states of Punjab, Gujarat, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala who have been deserted by their spouses. In umpteen cases the abandoned women and their families impeach men and their kin of charging heavy dowry and then deceiving them.By Sowmya Sangam

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Indian Descents to have Links with Crime Gangs of United Kingdom May 14, 2018 15:40

131 Indian origin people, who have changed their nationality to British have been found to have links to organized crime gangs of United Kingdom.It as well showed that considering 131 Indians, 141 Somalis, 78 Poles, 47 Sri Lankans and 44 Nigerians were among crime gangs who changed their nationality.According to UK’s National Crime Agency’s, Albanians were the UK’s largest foreign born criminal group followed by Pakistanis, who are mostly thought to be active in wholesale supply of heroin.The figure of Pakistan born people involved in organized crime gangs decreased by almost half as out of 860 gangsters, about 393 have gained British or nationality, as a result Pakistanis on the list dropped to fourth place.“The vast majority of members of organized crime groups in UK is British. The data is an important tool to help measure risk, avoid duplication of work between law enforcement partners and helps inform government,” said NCA spokesperson.Ferocious gangsters, drug dealers and human traffickers are among a whole of 2,083 Britons, born abroad and being progressive members of crime gangs in UK.In the figures, contrasting birth nationality and present-day nationality, ample number of organized criminals from India, Pakistan, Somalia, Poland and Kosovo appeared to be British or European Union nationals.The data from NCA disclosed that although up to 80 percent of criminals in UK were British nationals, merely 73 percent were born in UK.By Sowmya Sangam

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Indians are in Highest Numbers to Receive Job Authorization in U.S: Pew Research Center report May 14, 2018 12:44

Indians in United States comprised the ample group of graduate students who got authorization to persist and work in the country between 2004 and 2016, according to a Pew Research Center report.Chinese students were the second largest group, followed by South Koreans among 1.5 million graduate students who were able to work in United States after graduation.Pew associate director Neil Ruiz said, “The Optical Practical Training program has grown to become the primary way the U.S has retained foreign students graduating with Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degree from its colleges and universities.”He further added, “Foreign students obtaining authorization to remain and work in U.S after graduation come from all corners of the globe and major metro areas in U.S tend to attract them in large numbers.”444,400 Indians, that is 30 percent of the total were able to remain and work in United States whereas 90,800, that is 6 percent of South Koreans and 3,13,500, that is 21 percent of Chinese students remained to work after graduation in United Sates.The OPT allows students on F-1 visa to work in U.S temporarily for 12 to 36 months related to their area of study, however STEM students are permitted to extend their temporary OPT for another two years. By Sowmya Sangam

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Tremendous Increase in NRI Voter Registrations tells Election Commission of India April 27, 2018 17:14

New Delhi:Indian Election Commission has decided to promote proxy voting rights, to Non Resident Indains, on the lines of service voters, the issue is being debated again as the Government of India has moved a bill in Loksabha.A huge number of NRI’s Registered volunterly as “Overseas Electors” from different parts of the world, according to the latest data received by the administrative authorities and the Election commission.But as far as the voters are concerned, the number of registered voters are still found to be very less compared to the total number of citizens living abroad.The importance of Voting is again bought in to the picture, and is being debated over again as the government has moved the bill and passed it in the Lok Sabha in order to extend proxy voting rights to the NRI’s on lines termed as ‘service voters’. The bill provides necessary provision as coming to India to cast vote on ballot caused hardship to the Overseas VotersAs of now, it is said that the Non Residential Indians, who live and work overseas, and they have not given up their Indian Citizenship, can cast their vote in their respective constituencies where they are registered to have Right to Vote.By Lokesh

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United States May Lose Its Competitiveness Due to Tightening of H-1B Rules August 09, 2017 15:22

According to an American think tank the top IT companies in the United States would find it highly difficult to attract more fresh talent from countries such as India and may lose its competitiveness, says a report published in the Economic Times. Center for Global Development (CGD) report says that the H-1B visa which is under clampdown by the Trump Administration is sought mostly by the Indian IT students, but it is beneficial for both US and India. Co-author of the report, Gaurav Khanna has been quoted by saying that it is important to create equal opportunities for students of both the countries in the IT sector as they allow growth as well as innovation in both the countries. The reports, titled as “The IT Boom and Other Unintended Consequences of Chasing the American Dream” provides detailed look on how H-1B visas affect the economies of both US and India. The report says that both the economies have been benefited significantly due to H-1B visas. The research for the paper has been done with the help of documents since the year 2000 and has been found significant growth in the salary of the workers in US in 2010 due to the H-1B program.

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Trump Administration Wants to Block 'Startup Visas' July 11, 2017 16:39

The Trump administration is planning to rescind an Obama-era program that would allow foreign entrepreneurs who launch startup companies in the U.S. to live in the country. The program will allow the non-U.S. citizens who had launched companies that has won $100,000 in government grants or received $250,000 as venture capital investment can stay in the U.S. for a renewable 30-month term. Finalized in the last days of the Obama administration, was set to take effect July 17. The Trump administration has announced that it would delay the program until next March as the Department of Homeland Security launches an additional review of the so-called "startup visa." A notice that the department issued indicates that in the interim the administration will propose rescinding the program. "Big mistake," Steve Case, founder of America Online and now chief executive officer of the Revolution LLC investment fund, said in a Twitter statement. "Immigrant entrepreneurs are job makers, not job takers." "At a time when countries around the world are doing all they can to attract and retain talented individuals to come to their shores to build and grow innovative companies, the Trump Administration is signaling its intent to do the exact opposite," Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of the trade group said. "There is little benefit to losing any more ground in attracting entrepreneurs and their investments," the senators, which include Arizona’s John McCain and Jeff Flake, Utah’s Orrin Hatch, and Jerry Moran of Kansas, said in the letter. By Premji

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Indian-American appointed U.S. Ambassador to Peru June 29, 2017 13:04

United States President Donald Trump has appointed an Indian-American as the new U.S. Ambassador to Peru. Krishna R Urs, who is a career service American diplomat since 1986 is currently 'Charge d'Affarires of U.S. Embassy in Spain's capital Madrid, where he also served as the Deputy Chief of Mission. During the three decades of his service at State Department, Mr. Urs as specialized in economic issues and developed extensive policy experience in the Andean region of South American. A media release said that Mr. Urs has served at seven U.S. Embassies and also as a senior leadership positions in Washington D.C. Mr. Urs completed his MS from the University of Texas and did his graduation in BS from Georgetown University. He speaks fluent Spanish as well as some Hindi and Telugu. Before appointing as the U.S. Ambassador to Peru, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs and Chief of U.S. Government Aviation Negotiator at the Department of State from November 2010 until June 2014. He has also served as Director in the Office of Aviation Negotiations in the Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs in the Department of State, Charge d'Affaires, at the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, Deputy Chief of Mission at the same embassy, Director of the Office of Economic Policy and Summit Coordination in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the Department of State. Indian-American self made billionaire in Chicago AMandeep

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