A Networking dinner-discussion for India-USA business growth
Keynote speaker John McDonough, City Manager of Sandy Springs.
The Global Indian Business Council (GIBC) headquartered in Georgia, and the New Delhi-based Indo-American Friends Group (IAFG) co-hosted a networking dinner-discussion at Staybridge Suites Atlanta on May 28, 2015. Presentations were made on the US government’s new immigration reforms and initiatives in encouraging business investors to bring funds and jobs to America; on need for pragmatism in Indian taxation laws; and on support for the Make In India initiative. IAFG’s 14th Foundation Day awards ceremony recognized leaders from business, professional, social, and cultural arenas for promoting and supporting friendship between the world’s largest democracies.
GIBC members/executives met with IAFG’s visiting delegation of over 25 members and identified their commonality of purpose and agendas to benefit commerce endeavors. GIBC is a network of business and technology leaders across the globe working to facilitate trade and commerce between India, USA, and the rest of the world. IAFG promotes India-America friendship and helps Indian investors seeking to do business in America, and vice versa. GIBC VP Ashwin Patel and IAFG Chairman Dr. Ajai Prakash Misra pointed out several business sectors where GIBC and IAFG could complement each other’s efforts.
Emcee Subash Razdan (GIBC VPl) (seated, right) introduced delegates and dignitaries. President-Elect Dhirendra Shah described the rapid growth of GIBC since its founding a year ago. The inaugural Atlanta symposium’s plans were successfully launched. A US-based delegation was encouraged by GIBC to participate in the 2015 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas followed by ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ events in January. An Indian chapter of GIBC with a new office was inaugurated in InoCity, Ahmedabad and has commenced programs.
IAFG Chairman Misra described IAFG’s work in facilitating Indian business people to develop contacts and access to invest in America, and vice versa. IAFG announced plans for Kentucky-based agriculture machinery manufacturers to export to and build in India after the recent visit of the Kentucky delegation to India.
Acting Consul General of India R. Srinivasan remarked how organizations such as GIBC made his own job easier by bringing our two nations together. The Consulate has staff specifically tasked to help people in USA deal with business issues.
Former INS (now CIS)-Atlanta Director Tom Fischer spoke on the US “Immigration Pyramid” structure and processing schedules. He focused on the EB-5 immigrant visa category, where investors who bring $0.5K to $1M “at-risk” new and well-documented foreign funds to the US and create 10 jobs here, receive a conditional green card, convertible after two years. On the other hand, L visas facilitate shorter-term stays of key employees in the US.
IAFG presented a Pride of India Award to Hon. John McDonough, City Manager of Sandy Springs. His keynote address pointed to Sandy Spring’s record of rapid growth while keeping the city debt-free. Over $221M from savings has been invested on roads and other infrastructure, notably communications and information technology. Major corporations are relocating headquarters and operations to Sandy Springs. Mr. McDonough reflected on the tireless role of the late Mayor Eva Galambos (predecessor Rusty Paul), in getting Sandy Springs residents the right to vote (94% did) for independence as a city. Sandy Springs has set a standard for planned growth and major recognition, with major US firms such as UPS, and most recently, Mercedes-Benz America. He thanked former Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen for his support for locating India’s newest consulate in the City of Sandy Springs. He also mentioned the role of the City in helping with the first International Yoga Day celebration in Sandy Springs on June 21, 2015.
The next IAFG award was presented to Ashwin Patel, VP of GIBC, long-standing business leader. His social philanthropy includes a smoke-free chula (stove) for use in rural India.
Mr. Martin Wattenberger, Communications Director, accepted an award on behalf of US Representative (GA 7th District) Robert Woodall. Congressman Woodall, a lawyer by education, has been a frequent guest at Indo-Georgian events, serves on the House Committee on Rules, the House Budget Committee, the House Transportation, and Infrastructure Committees.
Pride of India Awards were also presented in absentia to Dr. Bernice King, CEO of King Center (for promotion of civil rights) and to Dr. Rahul Razdan, an interventional radiologist (for his breakthrough in research for using an ultrasound treatment for plantar fascitis). Past recipients include Congressman Ed Royce (California) and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii).
GIBC Webmaster Prof. Narayanan Komerath of Georgia Tech pointed to the ‘expectation of excellence’ that Indian students continue to bring to USA for the past half-century. His presentation, using GIBC’s website, compared basic features of Indian and US taxation of individual taxpayers. Although India has made significant strides with electronic resources tailored to taxpayers in India and abroad, major challenges still exist in rationalizing a myriad of corporate taxes. New legislation should make radical improvements soon. Mrs. Priyanka Garg of Priyanka Garg Associates in Faridabad gave an enthusiastic presentation on Indian taxation that reflected the optimism in India. B.R. Tripathi, retired Chief of Excise, spoke from his deep experience of the Indian Revenue Service. Delegate and well-known builder from Lucknow, Sudhir Shankar Halwasiya stressed the importance and advantage of cheap labor for manufacturing in India. Mr. Raghavenddhiraa from Bengaluru spoke passionately on ‘Make in India’ and other initiatives that have begun to transform India. India’s young population (65% under 35 years) is key to an optimistic future.
Prof. Komerath pointed to the evident enthusiasm and spirit in the visitors’ presentations after a long day of travel, as inspiration for everyone about investing in and collaborating with the new India. Dinner by Swapna Indian Cuisine/Madhu Tata, with support from Staybridge Suite staff and Ashwin Patel family, lent to the positive networking experience.
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