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SEBI Relaxes Foreign Fund Rules for Indians Abroad September 22, 2018 06:38

India's market regulator on Friday laid-back norms on foreign investments by Indians based abroad after concerns over stricter regulations rattled markets earlier this month.The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said it accepted the recommendations by a panel it had set up to review the rules for foreign portfolio investments.Indian markets, earlier this month, fell sharply after a group of fund managers raised fresh concerns over an April circular from the market regulator related to rules on foreign funds ownership by entities of Indian origin, which they said could lead to massive dollar outflows from the economy.The panel, headed by a former central bank deputy governor, had recommended, among other modifications, that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) be permitted to invest as foreign portfolio investors if an individual holding is under 25 percent and group holding is under 50 percent in a fund.By Sowmya Sangam

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NRC: NRI Body Seeks Indian Citizenship to Hindu Immigrants September 11, 2018 07:44

A group of Indian-American organizations in the United States has launched a campaign seeking Indian citizenship to Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh who have been left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.The group under the banner of organizations like SinghaBahini America, Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) and NavaBanga are seeking support for the Citizenship Bill 2016, which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to persecuted minorities from India's neighboring nations who have come to the country for safety.The members of the group had met Indian leaders during the recently concluded World Hindu Congress in Chicago.In the light of the well-intended NRC to help identify the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants who came as fortune seekers, it has come to light that a large number of Hindu population find themselves left out, said a media release issued by the group.Based on estimates, around 1.4 million to 2.5 million Hindus find themselves in a position to be stripped of their Indian citizenship, it said. "Forefathers of Hindu brothers and sisters had come to India because of the persecution they faced in Bangladesh, yet they had not given up their faith."To ensure that the resources of India go to the citizens, NRC in every state is needed, but at the same time it is equally important that India protects poor Hindus from Bangladesh, the statement said."The Citizenship Bill, 2016 which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted minority Hindus, Sikhs and Jains who came from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan till 2014 is thus a must to showcase a historic Hindu Unity to send a message to our own people," the group said.By Sowmya Sangam

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TDP Eyes Overseas Indians Votes September 07, 2018 10:11

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has set its sights on Non-Resident Indian (NRI) votes with a Bill to extend the facility of 'proxy voting' to abroad Indians, on the lines of the one on service voters, which was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier this month.The issue reportedly came up for discourse at the State-level workshop of the party on Wednesday.Related content: BJP Objects to 'Proxy Voting' for Domestic MigrantsTDP sources said that Chief Minister and party national president N. Chandrababu Naidu discussed the Bill at the workshop.The Bill would become an Act if it was passed in the Rajya Sabha as well. The TDP needs to gear up in this regard. The party has to prepare a list of NRI voters in each district. Necessary plans have been chalked out to win the confidence of NRI voters, he said.By Sowmya Sangam

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NRIs Can Buy Up to 5% in a Security, Says Govt. September 04, 2018 10:45

Abroad investors of Indian origin are allowed to buy up to 5 percent in any security under current regulation, India's economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said on Tuesday, in a bid to calm markets after recent regulatory changes. Indian markets fell for the second consecutive day as fresh concerns emerged over an April circular issued by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) that said foreign investment rules for companies of Indian origin had been tightened.The guidelines state that a company majority owned by Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) or Non-resident Indians (NRIs) will not be permitted to invest as a foreign portfolio investor in the country, and SEBI has directed that such funds should either be out of use or the ownership structure changed by the end of December.Garg repeated that companies majority-owned by Non-Residents Indians won't be allowed to put likewise as manage foreign funds, indicating that the policymakers are improbably to loosen up the SEBI guidelines.By Sowmya Sangam

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No Change in Processing of H-1B Visas: U.S. Official August 31, 2018 05:45

There has been no alteration in the processing of H-1B visas, the Trump Administration has said ahead of next week's two-plus-two dialogue between India and the United States, during which Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister is expected to raise the issue. "We are already raising the issue formally at various fora. We are speaking on it with the White House, with state administration as well as with Congressmen... We will raise it humbly at the 2+2 dialogue on September 6 in New Delhi," Sushma Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha earlier this month. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior official of the administration acknowledged that it was prepared for India raising the H-1B issue at the 2+2, but added that it would not have much to say as the policy remained the same and was undergoing review. "The Trump Administration's executive order has called for a broad review of the U.S. worker visa programme known as H-1B in the interest of ensuring that they are administered in a way that doesn't disadvantage U.S. workers or wages," the official said. "But there has been no change to the processing of H-1B visas. So it's really impossible for me to speculate on the outcome and any possible changes to the system. It is obviously an issue that is important to India," the official added.By Sowmya Sangam

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New Visa Rules for Spouses of Indian Nationals August 27, 2018 11:30

Spouses of the Indian nationals getting married overseas will no longer have to face troubles in converting their tourist visa to dependent visa as the government plans to modify existing rules. The decision came after the Filipina spouse of an Indian national, who married outside the country, faced difficulties in converting her tourist visa to dependent visa (X2 visa) as the existing visa rules did not let to do so. Her husband had complained to Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh."We are doing away with the particular rule and simplifying it so that irrespective of the place of the wedding, the foreign spouse can convert their tourist visa to dependent visa," a senior Home Ministry official said.According to the visa manual, a tourist visa can be converted to X2 visa only when the marriage takes place in India and gets registered within the validity of the existing tourist visa.If anyone wants to do so, contrary to that, have to go back to his or her country and come back on a dependent visa.With the amendment of the visa regulations and streamlining the process, the conversion of tourist visa to dependent visa would be permitted even if the marriage takes place on foreign soil.However, the facility will not be offered to the nationals of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Sudan citizens of Pakistani origin and stateless persons. Addressing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee earlier this week, the Home Minister had said that the government would ease safe and convenient entry inside the country to legitimate international travelers and provide all visa-related and consular services to foreigners staying in India in a faster and convenient mode.By Sowmya Sangam

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Lok Sabha Enables Bill Allowing NRIs to Cast Vote Through Proxy August 11, 2018 05:15

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 05:57

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 10:29

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 09:02

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 12:11

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 04:20

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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