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Report Dated January 15, 2017 4:05 PM
Flip-flops bearing the face of India’s independence icon Mahatma Gandhi for sale on Amazon triggered fresh outrage, days after the e-retail giant was forced to stop selling Indian flag doormats.
On Wednesday, India demanded Amazon apologise for selling “insulting” doormats featuring India’s national flag, with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj warning of tough action against the company.
Several people left comments on the Customer Reviews board beneath the Amazon listing condemning the sale of the sandals.
“Try imagining your footwear featuring your own parents or grandparents & how comfortable would you be with that kind of a “respect” & “affection” shown to them,” wrote Ramesh.
“Shameless Amazon first it was Indian flag and now Mahatma Gandhi looks like Jeff Bezos is losing his mind,” wrote an anonymous user.
Bezos is Amazon’s founder.
The flip-flops, which cost $16.99, are described on the website as “professionally printed” and a product that “will look great and make someone smile”.
Amazon has made steady inroads in India, with plans to invest $5 billion in the country since entering the cut-throat, rapidly growing e-commerce market in 2013.
Report Dated January 14, 2017 10:43 AM
The decline in the number of Indian students coming to Britain continued after new figures released showed a 9% decrease in 2015-16 compared to the previous year, dismaying higher education stake-holders and others.
Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that 16,745 Indian students registered at higher education institutions during the year, marking a new low since the decline began in 2010. China with 91,215 students topped among non-EU countries.
The latest figures amount to a drop of more than 50% in Indian students coming to Britain since 2010, attributed to student visa restrictions that include closure of the post-study work visa. The closure of nearly 800 bogus colleges is also mentioned as a reason for the drop from India.
HESA said: “India saw the largest percentage decrease, at 44% between 2011/12 and 2015/16. In numbers, this meant that in 2015/16, the number of student enrolments domiciled from India was 13,150 less than in 2011/12.”
“It is worth noting however, that the decline in student enrolments domiciled from India began a year earlier, in 2010/11.”
Karan Bilimoria, member of the House of Lords, told HT: “This new drop of Indian student numbers is so, so sad. The policies are not only damaging Britain’s soft power but will also damage its ability to forge free trade agreements in the post-Brexit scenario.”
“It is shooting ourselves in the foot. This is economic illiteracy, when international students bring billions of pounds to the British economy and enrich our campuses. We should be more welcoming to international students.”
As Indian student numbers in Britain decline, reports suggest that their number is increasing in countries such as Australia, Canada, United States and Germany.
Responding to the new figures, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, which represents all UK universities, said:
“While demand from Chinese students remains exceptionally strong, we have seen a further and worrying decline in student numbers from countries such as India [-9%] and Nigeria [-10%]. Numbers from India have almost halved since 2011. Malaysia and the United States have now overtaken India in the table of countries providing students to the UK. In comparison, the number of Indian students enrolling in the USA during the same period increased by 25%.
“The UK could be doing much better than this. The UK has the potential to be one of the world’s fastest growing destinations for international students, building on its current status as the second most popular destination for international students [after the US]. The UK benefits enormously, economically and academically, from international students.
“If the UK wants to remain a top destination for international students and academics, it needs a new approach to immigration that is proportionate and welcoming for talented people from across the world. This will be even more important as the UK looks to enhance its place in the world post-Brexit.”
Home secretary Amber Rudd announced at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham in October new plans to curb non-EU professionals and students in a post-Brexit Britain.
Indian students in UK: The downward spiral
Report Dated January 12, 2017 4:40 PM
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced two dedicated cells for non-resident Indians (NRI) for quick grievance redressal and facilitate investment.
The grievance redressal cell will be headed by an officer of the rank of Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG).
Mr. Khattar was speaking at the inaugural session of the “Pravasi Haryana Divas-2017” organised by Haryana Government with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as the national partner in Gurugram.
The Chief Minister said that the setting up of the cell would streamline enquiry and action-taking process, besides ensuring quick redressal of grievances of NRIs. He said that this cell would have a dedicated mobile phone number and e-mail ID for the NRIs to reach the government through text messages, e-mail, fax or voice call. Haryana NRI Cell has been launched for a focused facilitation of “pravasis”. The NRIs may contact NRI Cell for business queries, investment interest and any other suggestion.
Report Dated January 11, 2017 5:39 PM
Popular belief about Kerala’s finance sector is that the state always tops in sending the maximum number of people overseas for jobs. While the assumption keeps hopes of an ever-increasing foreign remittances alive, latest statistics coming out just shatters the myth as the southern state is nowhere in the picture when it comes to top states sending people to the Gulf.
Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab and Rajasthan have been the top six states sending people to the Gulf in the past two years, as per statistics released by the External Affairs Ministry. Notably, in this period, emigration from India increased by 24 per cent.
There are 8.54 million workers in 17 emigration check required (ECR) countries across the world and they remit $69 billion annually, which constitutes 3 per cent of the GDP. MEA statistics show that 40 percent of the total remittances come from the GCC countries.
Kerala received 40 percent of the total remittances that came to India in the third quarter of 2015-16, according to a news report.
Remittances, an outcome of the Gulf boom of the 1970s, continues to be the backbone of Kerala’s economy with it financing as many as 20% Kerala households, or 2.4 million families. It is yet to be seen how the drop in the number of emigrants is going to affect the state’s economy.
Aiming to facilitate better living conditions for the diaspora, the foreign affairs ministry has asked states to set up an NRI department to protect the interests of their citizens.
Report Dated January 10, 2017 5:24 PM
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) from the US led the list of 30 persons conferred the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman awards by president Pranab Mukherjee here on Jan 9.
The first award was received by Portugal prime minister Antonia Luiss Santos Da Costa for his contribution in the field of public service.
As per the list, six awards were given to NRIs from the US, the highest in the list, while two each to those from the UK and UAE.
One award each was given to NRIs from 20 countries, including Australia, France, Canada, Israel, Libya, Fiji, Brunei, Singapore, Portugal and others.
Among the NRIs from the US, Hari Babu Bindal was honoured for his contribution in the field of environment engineering, Nisha Desai Biswal for public affairs, Sampat Kumar Shidramapa Shivanagi for community leadership, while Mahesh Mehta, Ramesh Shah and Bharat Haridas Barai were awarded for their contribution in the field of community service.
Neena Gill and Priti Patel from the UK were honored for their contribution in the field of public service.
In the list of NRIs from the UAE, Vasudev Shamdas Shroff and one organization Indian Social and Cultural Center were awarded.
In the field of business, Rajasekharan Pillai Valavoor Kizhakkathi from Bahrain, who is a Keralite, Mukund Bhikhubhai from Canada and Susheel Kumar Saraff from Thailand were honored.
In the field of medical science, Lael Anson E Best from Israel and Carani Balaraman Sanjeevi were selected.
Sandip Kumar Tagore from Japan was awarded for his contribution in the field of arts and culture, while Muniandy Thambirajah from Malaysia and Zeenat Musarrat Jafri from Saudi Arabia were honoured for education and community service.
In the field of public service, Pravin Kumar Jugnauth from Mauritius and Winston Chandarbhan Dookeran from Trinidad were honored.
Vinod Chandra Patel from Fiji was selected for his contribution in the field of social service.
After presenting the awards, the President said, “We are here today to celebrate your successes and achievements. You have been the frontline of Indian culture since long and I hope that you will remain the foremost emissaries of the unfolding Indian story.”
One of the largest community of expatriates amounting to about 31.7 million, the Pravasi Bharatiya stands out for its innate ability to assimilate and yet maintain its identify. “In doing so, you have contributed immensely to your adopted lands through your dedication and hard work,” he said.
Noting that the NRI community exemplifies the belief of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’, he said, “The synergy of the west and the east that you represent provides you with a unique position and opportunity that involves sharing knowledge between your homeland and your adopted countries.”