India, Australia share “special bond”: Modi

Earlier in the day, Mr. Modi also unveiled the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Brisbane in his first bilateral engagement.

Highlighting that India and Australia share a “special bond”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said relations between countries can prosper fully if states and cities are involved in international engagements.

Starting his bilateral visit to Australia on Sunday from Brisbane, Mr. Modi said that in the India-Australia partnership, Queensland had been at forefront for its contribution in powering India with its resources and research.

“We truly welcome the engagement between states and cities. That is why I am also very keen to involve states in India in our international engagements,” Mr. Modi said at a reception held here in his honour by Campbell Newman, premier of the Australian state of Queensland.

“Brisbane has emerged as centre of advanced technology. Hyderabad is known as Cyberabad. It is natural that two cities have sister-relationship. Relations between countries can prosper fully if we truly bring the engagement between states and cities,” Mr. Modi said.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Modi also unveiled the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Brisbane in his first bilateral engagement.

“There is a special bond between India and Australia. This is a symbol of values we share, the ideals we aspire to and the world we wish to build,” he said in reference to Gandhi’s statue.

Mr. Modi lauded the partnership between India and Queensland in sectors ranging from technology and research to supplying resources to India.

“Several Queensland business delegations are visiting India this year. It has emerged as major source of resources to power India’s development. It is also a major destination for Indian investment. You have supported partnership in education and skills. Queensland research universities are collaborating closely with India,” Mr. Modi said.

“The credit for the strong partnership goes to Premier Campbell Newman and Lord Mayor. Your mission to India is very productive and brought businesses and our people closer,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the gathering before unveiling the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Roma Street Parklands in Brisbane on Sunday.

The Prime Minister also said this is the time to forge partnership with India because of the “welcoming environment”.

“This is an exciting moment in Indian filled with optimism and desire for change and confidence to achieve it driven by the energy and enterprise of our youth.

“This is time to forge partnership in India. You will find a welcoming environment that makes it possible and smooth,” Mr. Modi said.

“Joint research (between India and research institutes in Queensland) will help farmers in dry areas and contribute to food security in India. Queensland fruits and vegetables are really good. There is a lot of potential to work together,” Mr. Modi said, adding that Queensland and India can learn a lot from each other in field of tourism.

Emphasising the role of Indian diaspora in strengthening the relationship between the two countries, the Prime Minister said, “They breed friendship and understanding” between the two countries.

He also congratulated Brisbane for hosting the G20 Summit.

“You did and outstanding job. I know you have often lived in the shadow of Melbourne and Sydney. This week you have shown the world what a great city and host you are,” Mr. Modi said.

Deepavali Fair 2014 at Parramatta Park Sydney Australia

Thousands of people gathered at Parramatta park to celebrate Diwali festival on 19/OCT/2014 from 11.00AM – 9.00PM.

The Indian Festival of Lights, is the most widely celebrated festival of the people from the Indian sub-continent and across the whole world. Deepavali means rows of lights, it is the festival symbolising victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.

Though there are many mythological explanations to this wonderful festival, however, in the current world what the festival of lights really stands for is a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friend ship, religious tolerance, spreading the word of peace and harmony and above all, celebration of “simple joys of life”.

NRIs investing in India should be given dual citizenship: Paul

NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul has called for granting Indian passports to expatriates who invest a certain minimum amount in industries in India and help ignite the engine of economic growth.

“We now have a one-party government (in India), and a prime minister who appears determined to make Indian expatriates feel welcome in their homeland. Encouraging expatriate involvement could help ignite the engine of economic growth,” Lord Paul said while speaking at the 14thLondon Global Convention on Corporate Governance and Sustainability.

In his address at the event organised here by the Institute of Directors India, he emphasised that for too long India has been burdened with an old, cosy, family-and- favourites, under-the-table style of doing and managing business.

“For the first time I now have confidence that that is going to change. Symbolic gestures are also very important. I hope the next step will be to grant expats an Indian passport. If not for all of them, then surely for those who invest a certain minimum amount of money to set up industries in India,” Paul, the Chairman of the Caparo Group, said yesterday.

“It would probably be too late to be of any benefit to me, but it will certainly help and encourage the younger generation of entrepreneurs,” said Paul, who was one of the first NRIs to invest in India substantially in the 1980s.

Paul highlighted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to end corruption and end the illicit flow of funds which are a “disgrace to a proud nation”.

“We have a mature and very experienced President (Pranab Mukherjee), having held every important portfolio; a deeply committed Prime Minister, and a Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) who is widely regarded as highly competent. All of them are determined to make India a fairer society, and secure for the nation its due place in the world,” he said.

Noting that their efforts have generated high hopes, Paul said, “For the first time in a long while, these expectations appear to be within reach.”

He stated that if these expectations are to be realised, a few basic changes are needed and India has to simplify the rules and make sure that all inward investment whether in infrastructure, business, health, education, research etc conforms to those rules.
“When it does not, it must be disallowed,” Paul said.
Investment that enriches itself but does little or nothing for society does nothing for India today, he said.

NRI billionaire entrepreneur Manoj Bhargava to give Rs 500 crore for Uttarakhand’s development

NRI billionaire entrepreneur Manoj Bhargava, one of the few Indians to sign the ‘The Giving Pledge’, is set to announce a plan to give Rs 500 crore over six years for a development programme in Uttarakhand.

Bhargava, who is one of the richest Indians in America, has already given more than Rs 300 crore to over 151 organisations across India, with 406 completed or ongoing projects in the areas of healthcare, education, disability, livelihood, water and sanitation, in the past five years, through The Hans Foundation (THF).

The foundation will on Tuesday announce the Rs 500-crore ‘investment’ in Uttarakhand 2020, a comprehensive statewide development programme focusing on disease prevention, child education and forest regeneration in Uttarakhand.

“We have created pockets of change in each of the 25 states where THF has worked. We are now pooling the best of what we have learned and scaling it up in Uttarakhand,” says Bhargava.

“By the year 2020, we aim to create a massive change across Uttarakhand in one of the nation’s most powerful village development programmes,” says Bhargava, who has visited India regularly in the past five years.

Bhargava is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder & CEO of Living Essentials, which sells ‘5-hour Energy’ shots. Retail sales are estimated to be in the vicinity of $1 billion.

Early in his life, Bhargava did a variety of jobs and worked as a construction labourer, construction cleaning contractor, accounting clerk, taxi driver, printing press operator and business manager before he became a billionaire entrepreneur riding on the success of Living Essentials.

His foundation chose Uttarakhand as “it is the cradle of Indian civilisation, and a place most in need of large-scale development initiatives”. The project is designed to significantly improve the quality of life of the low-income communities of the state.

Energy, water and health are the most critical elements for people, says Bhargava, adding, “Charity is very difficult to do right. Thinking through what people need: You can’t start a charity without that. It’s like starting a business without the product.”

The Hans Foundation is a charitable trust fund that was created in 2009 to provide a source of endowment for not-for-profit organisations in India. As one of India’s largest funds, THF provides grants and financial aid to grassroots organisations that are able to directly serve communities and also partners with larger international organisations for increased impact and large-scale work. Till August 2014, the foundation worked with partners to impact the lives of close to 600,000 people.

Bhargava’s foundations include Knowledge Medical Charitable Trust and Rural India Charitable Trust. Both have funded medical research in the US and over 400 charities in India. Two of the major initiatives are hospitals for the poor and education for disadvantaged women in rural areas.