What Indians in Australia expect from the Modi Govt

 

 
 
 

The new government should be proactive in considering the interests and welfare of the Indian community down under.

It is not a hyperbole to say that a new era has dawned in India with the swearing-in of the Modi Government on Monday, 26 May, 2014.

A decisive, “can do” leader, Sri Narendra Modi, is the Prime Minister. Indians, not just in India but around the world, are confident that things will change for the better and the Indian economy will grow rapidly.

People have expectations from the new government. While people have a wide variety of expectations, which they want the Modi Govt to deliver, there are some common themes in their expectations. Based on my interactions with many Indians in Australia, and based on my own thinking, there are a few things that people expect the new government to consider.

Prime Minister’s visit to Australia: There has not been any state visit by an Indian PM to Australia after the late Shri Rajiv Gandhi’s visit in 1980s. PM Modi should accept the invitation from Australia to schedule a state visit to Australia this year itself. Several Australian PMs have already visited India, but a reciprocal visit by an Indian PM is yet to happen. There should be time for the PM to interact with the community in at least one, but preferably two, major cities. The G20 summit is scheduled to happen in Brisbane on November 15 and 16, 2014. This will be a perfect opportunity for the Indian PM’s long overdue official visit to Australia too.

Genuine dual citizenship: This has been discussed and debated for long. There is an almost universal demand that overseas Indians be given a right to hold genuine dual citizenship with voting and property rights, if the country of their citizenship has no issue with this and if there are no security issues with granting dual citizenship to any particular overseas Indian. After all, Australia, USA, UK, NZ and many other developed as well as developing countries already offer this facility.

Visa on arrival for Australian citizens: Australian citizens, like many others including New Zealanders, should get the same visa-free arrival facilities in India. If this is not the case at present, it should be implemented without further delay.

Black money in overseas banks: Genuine, proactive and effective steps should be taken to tackle this menace and bring the money back to India within 12 months. No favour should be given to anyone irrespective of who they are or what connections they have. The decision to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for this purpose is good.

Effective anti-corruption body: A group of 10-15 people from civil society including judges, eminent jurists and overseas Indians (if possible) should be asked to review the Lok Pal Act, passed by the Lok Sabha earlier in the year, and suggest steps to rectify weakness to make it an effective corruption fighting body. This should be completed in the next 12 months.

The PM’s global Overseas Indians Advisory body: The PM should revamp his Global Advisory Body, constituted by the previous PM. People in it should be those who have significant presence and influence in their countries. The habit of Indian diplomats recommending non-descript and non-influential people for this body should eliminated.

Country specific Overseas Indian Advisory body: Countries with significant overseas Indian population (Australia is certainly one such country) should have an advisory body of not more than 10 people, which can be used for consultations and other advisory purposes, not only by the local GOI authorities/agencies, but also the relevant authorities/agencies in India.

Annual dialogue between Indian and Australian leaders: PMs, Foreign Affairs Ministers and Defence Ministers should hold annual meeting/dialogue, with venues for such meeting/dialogue alternating between India and Australia.

Free Trade Agreement (FTA): The pace of the discussions and negotiations should be accelerated so that FTA can be concluded by the end of 2015.

Bilateral Nuclear Trade negotiations: The pace of the discussions and negotiations should be accelerated with the goal to conclude it by the 30 June, 2015.

Bilateral and multi-lateral defence exercises between India and Australia: India and Australia should work actively to enhance their defence & strategic relations bilaterally and multilaterally in the pattern agreed prior to the 2007 Rudd Govt in Australia.

Hindi teachings in Australian Universities: To increase India’s soft power and increase the numbers of India-literate Australians, India should consider funding such teaching courses in some select Universities in Australia.

Facilitations of Australian Universities and TAFE to have campuses in India: Many Australian institutions are ranked quite highly in various world Universities ranking systems. Collaborations in this field should be actively facilitated and encouraged, following a pragmatic and win-win module.

Indian Consulate in Brisbane: Queensland is an important state for Indian investment. Indian business houses like the Adani group have an important and a significant presence in this state. It is important to have an Indian Consulate in Brisbane.

India House or Indian Cultural Centre in major capital cities: The Indian community has grown significantly in Australia. It is increasingly felt that such centres are required, at least in Sydney and Melbourne. While some funding will be raised locally, a significant part of the funds should come from Indian Govt. Govt of India (GOI) Funds, if any, allocated for something of this nature to be established in the Indian Consulate premises in Sydney CBD should be reviewed and re-allocated for a centre of this nature in areas like Parramatta or Blacktown, where the Indian community has a substantial presence. Sydney CBD is not a practical or appropriate site for an Indian Cultural Centre.

Overseas Indians’ property in India: Many overseas Indians are seeing that their properties are illegally occupied and face threats to their safety when they visit India. Court cases go on for extended periods of time. IPC should be amended to tackle this menace.

Interactions between GOI agencies and Indian Australian community: It is often felt that GOI authorities in Australia do not interact with people sufficiently, thus leading to a communication gap. It is a common experience that there is a significant gap between what we expect and what is delivered. Steps should be implemented to improve the situation.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs visit to Australia: With approx. 500,000 people of Indian heritage in Australia, a biennial visit of Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (The Hon Sushma Swaraj) or her deputy, The Hon Gen (Retd) V K Singh, should be included in the official GOI travel calendar. This will help facilitate interactions with the community and facilitate Overseas Indians’ investment in India.

Streamlined grievance redressal mechanism for Overseas Indians: Overseas Indian Affairs ministry has often not been very helpful and help has often not come in a timely fashion due to excessive bureaucratic influences. This should be reviewed and streamlined.

Exchanges between Academicians and civil Society leaders: We need regular bilateral exchange visits of academics, journalists, leaders and civil society leaders. This will help improve relations between the two countries. The scope and numbers should be increased.

This is our wish list, which we believe is doable, not difficult and will provide multiple benefits to various stake-holders, including India.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/13th June, 2014

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This was originally published in Indian Sun News magazine, Sydney on 10th June, 2014.  http://www.theindiansun.com.au/top-story/indians-australia-expect-modi-govt/

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Proud and privileged to be in the list of “Goldmine” leaders from the Western Sydney!

The Daily Telegraph Newspaper published a list of key people from Western Sydney, calling them “Goldmine” leaders!

I feel proud and privileged to be included in this list! Image

I must admit that it was a humbling experience to see my name in this list of great people.

Here is the article from The Daily Telegraph newspaper! http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/competitions/fair-go-for-the-west-meet-the-goldmine-leaders/story-fngy6zqs-1226881501042

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Fair Go for the West: Meet the goldmine leaders!

Sydney’s West is a goldmine of single-minded leaders who would rather make a difference than make excuses. 

Whether it be building some of Australia’s most successful businesses, mentoring new arrivals to the West, leading sports teams worth cheering for or simply breeding the best darn chickens you’ll taste, they are making Sydney a better place.

 

Paul Lederer

Paul Lederer runs Primo Smallgoods at Chullora.

Paul Lederer runs Primo Smallgoods at Chullora. Source: News Limited

 

The Primo Group chief executive has transformed a Hungarian family tradition of smoking meats into a $1.4 billion international enterprise run from Chullora with 4000 employees.

Estimated to hold a personal fortune of $630 million, he will indulge his passion for soccer when he takes control of the Western Wanderers from July 1, leading a new ownership team including Pirtek founder Peter Duncan and Filipino-Chinese businessman Jefferson Cheng.

 

Katie Page and Gerry Harvey,

Harvey Norman chief executive and chairman

This dynamic duo have been working and playing hard in Western Sydney since Harvey Norman opened its Auburn store in 1982.

The Harvey Norman business, of which Harvey is chairman and Page CEO, now has eight stores in the West, employing more than 1400 locals.

Harvey, who went to high school in Katoomba, is also Australia’s biggest horse breeder, while Page’s passions include the West’s exotic food and restaurant scene. They live in the northwest.

Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey with managing director and wife Katie Page.

Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey with managing director and wife Katie Page. Source: News Limited

 

 

Jihad Dib

For eight years, the Punchbowl Boys High School principal has been inspiring his students to lift their sights.

The results are easy to see. The school where drug gangs once ruled and barbed wire topped the fences now wins educational awards.

While only a handful of year 12 boys once thought about going to university each year, now about a third of the class go on and many more do vocational training.

Dib was able to joke recently that the school may be getting too soft when a fight broke out over hand cream.

Jihad Dib with students out the front of Punchbowl Boys High School

Jihad Dib with students out the front of Punchbowl Boys High School Source: News Limited

 

 

Raelene Castle

Since becoming the first female to lead an NRL club eight months ago, Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs CEO has won respect as a no-nonsense operator focused on instilling an honest, hardworking culture.

As she builds the Bulldogs’ appeal to the families and businesses of the West, she has shown a strict attitude to player behaviour and doesn’t tolerate fools — as Cronulla’s Andrew Fifita recently discovered when Canterbury terminated his $3.5 million deal after some ill-chosen comments.

New Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle pictured at Bemore Oval.

New Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle pictured at Bemore Oval. Source: News Limited

 

 

Nick Moraitis has built a huge fresh produce business in the west.

Nick Moraitis has built a huge fresh produce business in the west. Source: News Limited

Cate Sydes, Marist Youth Care CEO.

Cate Sydes, Marist Youth Care CEO. Source: News Limited

Nick Moraitis

 

The Moraitis Group founder has worked in the West for 60 years, building a multifaceted food empire with revenues pushing $1 billion.

Through his partnership with fellow western tycoon Paul Lederer, he recently joined forces with Hungry Jacks’ founder Jack Cowin to produce salads and fresh soups for major retailers.

“The West is full of talented people but we need more businesses based here and more jobs,’’ said Moraitis, 79, who owned champion thoroughbred Might and Power.

 

Cate Sydes

The Marist Youth Care CEO is Western Sydney’s Good Samaritan, having worked with those on Struggle St since helping Aboriginal children in Mount Druitt 30 years ago.

Based at Blacktown, she leads one of Australia’s largest service providers for youth at risk.

“I’ve always been drawn to kids and young people in need,” says Sydes, who lost both of her parents while still in her teens. “My dream is that one day I’ll be out of work.’’

 

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Tony Shepherd

From advising the PM on how to get our national finances under control to building Western Sydney freeways and a new sports franchise, the diminutive Greater Western Sydney Giants chairman is a serious power player.

As the outgoing Business Council of Australia president and former chairman of construction giant Transfield Services, he has a contact book than sprawls from west to east, as evidenced by his recent appointment as chair of the SCG Trust.

 

Jim Marsden

Described by “Mr Olympics” Rod McGeoch as the “smartest man in the west”, the Marsdens Law Group senior partner has been at the centre of Campbelltown life since growing up in the local pub.

Whether it be handling the legal affairs of the region’s business elite or personally lobbying NRL chief Dave Smith to settle a team (ie his beloved Wests Tigers) in Campbelltown, Marsden is a passionate advocate of the southwest, where he has raised his four children.

He still gets a chuckle out of his late brother John Marsden’s famous quip: “There are two great cities in the world — Rome and Campbelltown.’’

 

Louise Cordina

The Cordina family have been feeding Australia “cage-free” chicken since pioneering the concept in the 1950s.

The 34-year-old is the first fourth-generation member of the Cordinas to help lead the family’s famous business with her father John. It is now one of the top 100 family-owned firms in the nation.

She grew up next door to the family’s Girraween factory and adopts a typically unpretentious Western Sydney style, saying: “We have never had aspirations to be out there being the biggest.’’

John and Louise Cordina.

John and Louise Cordina. Source: News Limited

 

 

Lyall Gorman

The Wanderers chairman tapped into Western Sydney’s passion and energy to create the A-League soccer franchise.

Gorman, highly rated by soccer supremo Frank Lowy, leads a board which includes distinguished Australian-Chinese businessman Benjamin Chow and influential Aboriginal leader Warren Mundine.

“One of our major goals is to be a catalyst for true social change across western Sydney — part of that is inspiring young people to be the absolute best they can be,’’ he says.

Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman.

Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman. Source: AAP

 

 

Christopher Brown

When the history is written of how an airport finally came to be built at Badgerys Creek, at least once chapter should be devoted to Brown.

As a member of the federal government’s panel that recommended Badgerys, the Parramatta-bred tourism advocate kept talking when others didn’t want to listen. He was also one of the first to talk up his home town as a genuine CBD.

Today, he chairs the Eels Round Table Forum and sits on the board of the University of Western Sydney and the Moorebank Intermodal Company.

 

Grant O’Brien

The electrical apprentice who rose to become CEO of supermarket giant Woolworths, headquartered in north-western Sydney’s Bella Vista, still keeps a focus on the workers of tomorrow.

O’Brien leads 190,000 employees, but is spearheading a major youth employment initiative called Generation Success to find ways to give more young people improved career prospects.

 

Jeremy Donovan

Jeremy Donovan Source: Supplied

Jeremy Donovan

 

Donovan, an internationally renowned didgeridoo player, was tapped last year to become the national ambassador in mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s GenerationOne indigenous initiative when Warren Mundine stepped down as CEO.

The 34-year-old, who is raising four children at Mulgoa, near Penrith, is part of the new breed of indigenous leaders who believes lives are only transformed through education and work, not welfare dependency.

 

Lionel Lee

The grandson of Chinese immigrant Bing Lee runs what has become the largest privately held electrical retail business in NSW with more than 40 stores visited by 120,000 people a week.

Old Guilford continues to serve as Lee’s corporate headquarters, harking back to the company’s early days in Fairfield selling black and white TVs to new immigrants who did not have a credit rating.

 

Rawand Al-Hinti

The Jordanian-born 21-year-old has been identified as one of the West’s articulate young voices.

“I believe if you work hard and aim for success you’ll flourish regardless of what suburb you are from or what school you went to,’’ she says.

The Macarthur Girls High School vice-captain, who mentors other university students while studying law and international relations, was recently appointed to the NSW government’s Youth Advisory Council.

 

Stuart Ayres

The enthusiastic Liberal MP for Penrith is winning praise since being promoted to become Premier Barry O’Farrell’s Minister for Western Sydney late last year.

The 33-year-old, who is the partner of federal Liberal Senator Marise Payne, has helped drive the government’s decision to relocate more than 3000 bureaucrats to western Sydney and understands the urgent need to create jobs and build new houses.

 

David Borger

The former Labor State Minister and Parramatta Mayor remains a strong campaigner for change as Sydney Business Chamber’s Western Sydney director.

“It sometimes feels like those in the east aren’t interested in the west and that’s a problem,’’ he said in his typically frank style last October.

James and Gretel Packer have sought his advice in relation to their $30 million arts gift to the West.

 

Barney Glover

The newly appointed University of Western Sydney Vice-Chancellor has wasted little time settling in, winning in-principle approval from his board this week to build a major campus in Parramatta’s CBD.

The former VC at Charles Darwin University will work closely in his new role with the UWS’ well-connected Chancellor Peter Shergold.

 

Yadu Singh

The Indian Australian Association of NSW president set up shop as a cardiologist in Baulkham Hills soon after arriving from India in 1991.

He has been writing and speaking passionately ever since as a leader of Australia’s — and Western Sydney’s — fastest-growing immigrant group.

His 12,400 Twitter followers are rarely left in doubt about his views, whether it be his advocacy on behalf of Indian students, his defence of Australia against claims it is racist or his support of a Western Sydney airport.

 

Tony Perich

The son of Croatian immigrants, the Greenfields Development Co managing director is turning dairy country into up-market housing developments in the buzzing southwest.

Estimated by BRW to be worth more than $850 million, the Perich family was once the biggest dairy farmer in the southern hemisphere through its Leppington Pastoral Company.

The family’s assets include the iconic former Oran Park raceway where at least 5500 houses and units are being developed, along with the biggest Woolworths in Australia.

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The End

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Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/23rd April, 2014

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WESTPAC Bicentennial Foundation with a $100 million fund is a great initiative!

 

ImageI was very pleased, and felt privileged, to be a part of the launch of a great initiative, Westpac Bicentennial Foundation recently.

I was invited as the one representing Indian Australian community.

Mr Lindsay Maxsted (Westpac Group Chairman), Mrs Gail Kelly (Chief Executive Officer), and the Hon. Julie Bishop MP (Minister for Foreign Affairs) launched WESTPAC Bicentennial Foundation on 2nd April, 2014.

 

ImageThe announcement was made during a high profile Luncheon at Hyde Park Barracks, in which close to 400 people from Sydney’s “who is who”, including Malcolm Turnbull (Federal Telecommunication Minister) and Barry O’Farrell (Premier of NSW) were present.

 

This Foundation is a part of Westpac’s upcoming 200th anniversary year in 2017, and is the single largest private education scholarship program in Australia’s history, and will have an exclusive focus on the education and advancement of Australians.

                                                                                                  

I was not surprised to hear about Westpac’s already very impressive list of benevolent and charity activities, and contributions to our communities.  In 2013, their community contributions totalled $131 million.  This is in addition to The Family of Giving, which encompasses their four existing charitable funds of Westpac Foundation, St George Foundation, Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund and BankSA & Staff Charitable Fund, which last year distributed more than $4.1 million in grants to support charities and social enterprises. Today’s announcement further builds on their community outreach and support, and will help build Australia’s future leadership capabilities.

 

 

Details of the Scholarships

 

Scholarships and awards will be granted by the Foundation in partnership with Australian universities.  Currently planned scholarships and awards programs are:

 

  • Future Leaders scholarships will be awarded to new or recent graduates for post-graduate study at a prestigious global institution, with preference given to Australia’s relationship with Asia and Technology & Innovation.

              

  • Best and Brightest program will provide awards to post-doctoral researchers in Australia’s leading research universities, with focus of helping strengthen Australia’s ties with Asian economies

 

  • The Young Technologists program will offer 30 to 40 three-year undergraduate scholarships each year, awarded for merit, to encourage diversity.

     

  • Asian Exchange scholarships will provide the opportunity for Australian undergraduate students to spend a semester at a leading Asian University, with a focus on increasing the number of Asia-literate graduates in Australia.

     

  • The Community Leaders program will provide 10 awards annually to community leaders to undertake a personal educational opportunity that will have a direct value to their community.

 

The programs will be developed progressively and are expected to be fully operational by 2017.

Image

I was particularly happy to see that scholarships will be available to Australian students to do a semester in one of the leading Universities of Asia, which will increase the numbers of Asia-literate students in Australia. This is very important because we’re in an Asian Century, and many of our major trading partners are from Asia.

The new Foundation will ensure Private Sector continues to play an important part in shaping Australia’s future and economic prosperity.

 

With this great initiative from Westpac, I am hopeful that other major Private Institutions in Australia will come forward with their initiatives in this arena.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/7th April, 2014

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Emigration from Australia is big and not inconsequential!

ImageWhen people leave a country, it is called emigration. When they come to a country, it is called immigration.

In case of Australia, emigration has increased significantly since mid 1990s. 91 761 left Australia in 2012-13. 52.7% of these people were born overseas. This was 51.1 % a year earlier. Rest were Australia-born.

People born in NZ formed the biggest component (10%) of emigration of overseas-born migrants, followed by UK-born (8.2%), China-born (7%), Hong Kong-born (2.7%) and then USA-born (1.4%) people.

A majority of these overseas-born emigrants returned to the country of their birth. Majority of these people had lived in Australia for more than 5 years.

Emigration of Australia-born was largely (44%) to UK, USA and NZ, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong and UAE, and was largely for better jobs/incomes.

62.9% of total emigrants were in skilled jobs before they left.

Emigration is not just a simple movement of people from Australia. It has an impact on multiple fronts as it creates not only a significant change in overall population, but it also creates loss of skills in addition to lack of return on the investment-social or otherwise on these people. On the benefit side, it generates trading links between Australia and the countries these emigrants are going to, facilitates access to markets in those countries, increases remittances from those countries, in addition to bringing back new skills if/when these emigrants return back to Australia.

What can be done to reduce emigration:

While it is true that many factors operate for why people emigrate. While some people leave Australia for family reasons, it is presumed that economic reasons will be pretty important too. Some serious research is needed to have a better understanding about this matter

Anecdotally, and if you speak with migrants, many express a particular concern, which needs some attention by policy makers and Govt leaders.

Many highly skilled migrants find it difficult to get a job which is commensurate with their education and skills. Lack of local (Australian) experience is often quoted to deny the jobs which they deserve and are qualified for. There is often a glass-ceiling. This can/should be changed with a systemic approach to help skilled migrants get a job for which they are well qualified. They can be under some supervision for 3-6 months, if necessary.

Employers can/should be given some incentives to employ these highly qualified and skilled migrants. It does not make any sense to attract skilled migrants to Australia and do nothing to help them settle in the country or in fact do something which discourages them to stay here.

To not do anything to help them settle in Australia has an adverse impact not only on our economy because these migrants have much needed skills which they take away with them while moving away to countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE and other countries, but also it causes serious impact on migrants themselves with many experiencing disillusionment and even depression.

This is an important issue for Australia. Westpac research (see Jennifer West’s comments in the article link) outlines that newer migrants generate 200 billions annually, which is not a small amount by any count. It’s about time that Immigration Dept and Employment Departments of various State/Territory Govts should look into this matter seriously.

This topic was covered by Australian media (Lisa Cornish) recently, for which I was interviewed.

http://mobile.news.com.au/national/australias-migrants-leaving-their-new-home-in-search-of-a-better-life/story-fncynjr2-1226810397650

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/28th Jan, 2014

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Sachin Tendulkar’s Order of Australia: a brilliant piece of soft diplomacy!

English: Sachin Tendulkar at Adelaide Oval

English: Sachin Tendulkar at Adelaide Oval (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am happy to know that Australian PM, Julia Gillard, has announced an AM [Member of the Order of Australia] for Sachin Tendulkar, the only Cricketer who has scored 100+ centuries.

I also know that Indians in India and Australia are happy with this award. There should be no surprises there!

Sachin deserves it for the services to International Cricket, although there have been some comments in Australia against this award. Rob Oakeshott MP made his views known yesterday. He was in favour of Order of Australia reserved only for Australians and expressed that these awards should not be used for soft diplomacy.

Brian Lara, West Indian Cricketer received an Order of Australia in 2009 and Clive Lloyd received it earlier. Not only this, Indian Attorney General, Soli Sorabji, too received it in 2006. Many more international people have received such awards in the past. The sole criteria has been that they have helped relations between their countries and Australia.

 

Order of Australia: They are the top awards in Australia.

  • Knight or Dame of the Order of Australia (AK or AD – Civil division only – Closed to new appointments in 1986);
  • Companion of the Order of Australia (AC);
  • Officer of the Order of Australia (AO);
  • Member of the Order of Australia (AM); and
  • Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Sachin has been given an AM.

In case of Sachin, critics in Australia have mentioned that he has not done any thing of substance for Australia India relations and his role in “Monkeygate” scandal in 2008 was not that great. Initially, Sachin said that he did not hear what Harbhajan Singh said to Andrew Symonds but later on he said that Harbhajan had used some other word in Hindi, instead of dreaded/racist “Monkey” word for Symonds.

It is hard to know what happened but smart thing will be to put that saga behind us and move on.

I don’t think Sachin spoke one or another way either when Indian students’ issue was a hot item in 2009.

Having said that, Sachin is a gentleman and a great cricketer. His achievements in cricketing field  are unmatched. Cricket fans love him all over the world including Australia.

The most important outcome from this award will be the image make over Australia will get in Indian minds, after it was distorted in 2009 due to saturation coverage of attacks on students. Even though most of the coverage, especially the racism bit, was exaggerated and hyped up, it did nevertheless cause a serious harm to Australia’s image in India and damaged Australian education business from India and other countries.

Order of Australia to Sachin is likely to reverse the “Feel bad” for Australia in India.

This, I believe, is a brilliant piece of diplomacy by Australian PM, Julia Gillard.

This may also be smart politics domestically too in regards to Indian Australians, knowing the numerical strength of the community in Australia. There are approx 400,000 Indian Australians [approx 2% of total population] with  some constituencies having more than 10% voters from our community.

While there would be some who will be swayed for supporting ALP because of this, I doubt it will be a significant factor because most of us, just like general population, decide who to vote for, based on policies and agenda of the political parties.

Coming to the real issues, I am hoping that PM Gillard and Indian leadership will deal with the real issues of Trade, Investment, International Education, security in the region and Uranium sale in a pragmatic fashion and have a win win outcome for both countries.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/17th October,2012

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Australian Census 2011:what it says about India & Indians in Australia!

Australian Census 2011:what it says about India & Indians in Australia!

I was waiting for the latest Census 2011 data. This is out today. It has some very interesting information.

  • There are a total of 21,507,717 people in Australia.
  • 26% people were born overseas and 20% had one parent born overseas.
  • Top 10 counties by birth of migrants include India at 4th spot [295400 people]. UK, NZ, China are higher.
  • People of Asian background by birth have moved up in proportion of people born overseas [33% in 2011 Vs 24% in 2001].
  • Before 2007, UK was the top source of migrants but India is the top source of migrants in 2007-11. India now contributes 13.1% of migrants [2007-11] compared to 12% from UK. Most of the top 10 countries from where migrants are arriving from are Asian countries.
  • 47% of all Indians in Australia are Indians who have arrived in recent years [2007-11]. Corresponding numbers for Chinese is 35.
  • 200,000 Indians have arrived in Australia between 2001-11. Corresponding numbers are 176,200 and 127,700 for Chinese and New Zealanders respectively.
  • 98 males for 100 females in Australia but numbers skewed adversely for Nepalese [144 Males for 100 females], Afghanistani people [143 males for 100 females] and Pakistani people [143 males for 100 females].
  • 390900 [2%] people have identified their ancestry as Indian ancestry, compared to 866000 [4%] for Chinese ancestry. This number may be an underestimate as some second and third generation people of Indian ancestry may have identified themselves as from “Australian ancestry”.
  • Among those who identified as of Indian ancestry, 61% were born in India, 20% in Australia and 19% in other countries.
  • Among those who identified their ancestry as Indian, only 12.9% had one more ancestry, compared to much higher proportions from other groups. This means that marriages outside Indian segment is much less common. One explanation is that Indian community is a newer community in Australia. It is likely to change in years/decades.
  • Indian ancestry numbers may be an underestimate as a section of Indian community ran a campaign before Census to identify themselves as “Punjabi” ancestry, not Indian ancestry.
  • 61% people follow Christianity in 2011 compared to 68% in 2001 and 96% in 1911.
  • Non-Christian faiths have grown from 4.9% [900,000 people] to 7.2% [1.5 millions] between 2001 to 2011.
  • Buddhism is the commonest non-Christian religion [2.5%], followed by Islam [2.2%] and Hinduism [1.3%].
  • Hinduism had the fastest growth. It grew 189% between 2001 to 2011. 275000 people identify themselves as Hindu now. 275000 Hindus from a total of 391000 people with Indian heritage means Hindus constitute 70% of total number of Australians of Indian ancestry.
  • Growth of Islam and Buddhism have been 69% [476,300 people] and 48% [529000 people] in the last decade.
  • “No religion” category grew too from 15% to 22% between 2001 to 2011.
  • Over half [56%] people born overseas are Christian.
  • Hindi is one of the Top 10 language, other than English, spoken by people at home. 104900 people [0.5%] speak Hindi at Homes. Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese and Vietnamese are spoken by more Australians. Hindi is the only Indian language among the top 10 languages in Australia. Punjabi language is spoken by Punjabi sub-segment of Indian community significantly but I am not completely clear about the comparison between Hindi and Punjabi languages. There is some confusion about it. It is however safe to say that Hindi is the only Indian language in the Top 10 languages in Australia. I will study this data more carefully and will seek clarifications.
  • Among those who speak Hindi, 80.2% speak English very well.

My take is that increasing numbers of  young and highly trained Indians are choosing to migrate to Australia. This is despite a negative campaign against Australia, which was run by a segment of Indian media in recent years. It proves that Australia is a fantastic place to live, work and settle. Indians have rejected Indian media’s campaign to create a false characterisation of Australia as a racist nation.

One could argue that India is losing so many well-trained young people but I doubt it is a relevant factor anymore. There is unemployment and under-employment in India, which is made much worse by perpetual, if not permanent, reservation system which reserves 50% jobs/training positions and even promotion opportunities to people who have been historically discriminated.  India’s so-called loss is Australia’s gain. Australia should continue to attract and accept skilled migrants from all over the world.

Indian Australian community has grown significantly in recent years and will continue to grow in coming years. There is an urgent need to network this community [particularly newer migrants] for mentoring/guidance in regards to settlement issues and integration in the Australian community, and also pastoral care, when needed.

Indian community associations and leaders need to analyse how they can provide guidance to newer migrants, when such guidance and mentoring become necessary.

One does not need to be an Einstein to predict that Indian Australian community will achieve increasing importance in Australian politics. They will constitute significant proportions in many constituencies. I predict, and in fact hope, that some “good” people from amongst us will enter Australian Parliaments and Local Councils within next 5 years.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/21st June, 2012

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Rising above our differences and politics is a smart move for our community!

Rising above our differences and politics is a smart move for our community!

March 31, 2012

Indian Australian community is getting bigger in Australia. Some estimates suggest that there are about 150,000 people in NSW alone and the total population of Indian Australians will be over 350,000 in Australia. We will know the true picture only once Census data is made public.

It goes without saying that there would be more issues when we have more people. People and even Govt authorities have commented about the huge number of our associations, and also “leaders”, although it is also logical, but not mandatory, that there would be more associations, when there are more people.

We have multitude of events and functions, which is all fine. We do have a lot of fun. We are a fun loving community. Nothing wrong in it either.

More associations itself is not the issue in itself but unnecessary competition, differences for sake of differences, and hostility in certain cases is certainly a problem and is not desirable.

If it was not enough already, we have started an unhealthy trend at looking at and classifying people depending on their political persuasion. It has created its own problems. It is amusing to see Liberal and Labor politicians interacting and exchanging pleasantries with one another quite easily but people from our own community consider people from different political persuasion as enemies. This is childish, undesirable and unhelpful.

We need to, and in fact, can do better.

Indians generally do OK wherever they migrate to but they can do a lot better, as a community, if things are done in a bit better way. This is certainly true for political representation from our community in Australian political system. We need to keep the examples of USA, UK and Canada in our minds.

There can’t be any dispute that we need to be more organised. We need to be more united. We need to be more supportive to one another.

We need to start thinking on the lines of “what do we need as a community? What does our community need? and how can we get those results?”

We need to form a think Tank or an advocacy or a Lobby group, involving and including people who are capable, have the strength of character and a capacity to think, to advance our community agenda.

Since someone has to start this process, I am taking this initiative. I have already had some initial discussions with some such people.

I suggest that people with;

  • Leadership experience-present or near past
  • Vision
  • Capacity to think
  • Capacity to communicate effectively
  • Capacity to put community interests first
  • Understanding of moral and ethical behaviour
  • Understanding of conflict of interest
  • Flexibility to understand others’ point of view and adjust their own

meet, discuss and chalk out the strategy to advance the interests of our community.

To decide who to include in this group, I must emphasize that it does not matter what political thought process they have, or which linguistic, religious or regional background [from India] they come from. Their outlook must however be Indian-encompassing diverse backgrounds.

I am sending this musing to a smallish group of people in the beginning but the numbers may increase or decrease as we go along this path.

Somewhere along the way, some key Indian media people will also be involved in this process.

Let a new beginning succeed in this venture!

It certainly needs the blessing and support from us all.

I have no doubt that rising above our differences and politics is a smart move for our community and there are clearly lot more commonalities among us, in contrast to differences!

Let us work on our “positives”, rather than just focusing on our “negatives”!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/31st March, 2012

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