RBI wants to liberalise while strengthening bond markets: Rajan

Aug 26, 2016 0

New Delhi–Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan on Friday said that the central bank aims to go for liberalisation while strengthening the bond market.

“Our aim is to liberalise steadily, but in a thoughtful way, continuously asking how further liberalisation will strengthen our domestic markets,” he said while delivering the Annual Day lecture at the Foreign Exchange Dealer’s Association of India (FEDAI).

Raghuram Ranjan

Raghuram Ranjan

Explaining the rationale behind the measures announced by RBI on Thursday for fixed income and currency markets, Rajan said the aim is at allowing greater participation to add liquidity while balancing it with caution in opening up.

“Greater access was allowed to retail investors, including to FPIs (foreign portfolio investors), to institution-dominated screen-based NDS-OM (Negotiated Dealing System-Order Matching System) market so that they could trade in G-Secs using their demat accounts,” he said.

However, the central bank would continue to be careful about broadening retail access in markets that require sophisticated understanding, such as complex derivatives, he added.

The permission given for a moderate open position to all market participants, he said, would ensure that “we do not get excessive speculation or attempts at manipulation by single traders”.

He added that it could also rectify market imbalances, improve exchange market liquidity and depth, without imposing large demands on banks or on the RBI.

Dwelling on the role of the regulator, Rajan said that financial innovation was sometimes seen in a bleak light as a way to evade or avoid taxes and regulations, but properly done, it could, however, slice and dice risks so that they were placed on the right shoulders.

“The key to the success of this market has been to allow the design of the relevant instrument to be governed by market participants, while ensuring regulatory concerns are satisfied,” he pointed out.

Rajan said that all innovative instruments were not successful and suggested that “going forward, a level playing field on taxes is warranted for all instruments, so that instruments do not gain favor simply because they get better tax treatment”.

He also said that an important function for the regulator in encouraging financial innovation was also to create the necessary infrastructure.

Noting that as a current account deficit country, India needed financing from abroad, ideally risk capital, which was in short supply in this country, he said encouraging Foreign Direct Investment, as well as equity investment was necessary for this.

As corporations moved to money and bond markets, the RBI would also nudge them further by imposing higher provisioning and capital requirements for banks on corporate lending when exposures become large, he said.

Further, the RBI has allowed banks to offer credit enhancement to bonds issued by infrastructure projects that need substantial amounts of financing but may not start out highly rated.

In this context, the Governor also clarified that in order for state government obligations to have zero risk weight, and have the highest rating, it was important that there be no explicit or implicit default or restructuring of such obligations.

Pointing out that the regulator has to be careful not to relax prudential regulations simply because an entity or activity was deemed of national importance, Rajan stated that it was far better for the government to directly subsidise activities that were of national importance like infrastructure if it deemed them important than for the RBI to sacrifice systemic stability. (IANS)

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India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in Delhi on Aug 30

Aug 26, 2016 0
Washington–India and US will hold their second Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) in Delhi on August 30 and review implementation of various decisions taken during the previous summit as well as identify future areas of cooperation.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker are coming to India next week for the second Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in what is likely to be the last major engagement between India and the outgoing administration of President Barack Obam
John Kerry

John Kerry

External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will co-chair the dialogue on the Indian side along with Kerry and Pritzker.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in New Delhi that co-chairs will be accompanied by a high-level inter-agency delegation on both sides.

He said that S&CD is the most comprehensive mechanism to discuss and deliberate the entire gamut of cooperation between the two countries.

The decision to elevate the India-US Strategic Dialogue into a Strategic and Commercial Dialogue was taken during the visit of President Obama to India in January 2015. The inaugural S&CD was held on September 22, 2015 in Washington.

“The forthcoming S&CD will also review the progress made in the implementation of the various decisions taken in the recent summit held in June 2016 in Washington D.C. and identify possible areas for future cooperation,” said Swarup.

Earlier at a media briefing in Washington on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that strong economic relations between the US and India can create employment opportunities in both the countries and strengthen their economies.

“The President believes that more effective cooperation between the two countries can improve the economy in both of our countries, create jobs and promote economic growth. And I know that Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi shares those goals,” he said, adding Obama has found Modi to be an effective interlocutor and partner in pursuing those goals.

“The President is pleased about the progress that we’ve made over the first seven and a half years of his presidency, and we’re going to spend the remaining five months or so here trying to do all we can to advance it even further,” Earnest added.

The White House press secretary also said President Obama has devoted considerable time in strengthening the relationship between the US and India.

“The President has visited India on two occasions, I believe, and each of those trips has been dedicated to strengthening the political relationship between the world’s two largest democracies but also trying to strengthen further the economic ties between our two countries,” he said.

With the US presidential elections coming up in November, there are indications that continuity will prevail in American policy towards India, with latest US opinion polls showing Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton ahead in the race against the Republican Party candidate Donald Trump.

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Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held in Bengaluru from January 7

Aug 26, 2016 0

New Delhi– The 14th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) will be held in Bengaluru January 7 to 9, 2017, and around 3,000 people are likely to participate in the event, it was announced on Friday.

Launching a new logo and a portal for the three-day event here, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told a press conference that format of the annual function has been changed and the event will now be “result-oriented” instead of a cultural function.

“The format has been changed. The event will now be result-oriented,” she said.

Sushma Swaraj (File photo: PTI)

Sushma Swaraj (File photo: PTI)

The participants can register themselves through the portal that also gives all the information and details about the event. The registration fee has been reduced this time and fixed as $100 for the January 9 event, she said.

The main function of the event will be on January 9 that would see a participative session with the diaspora.

There would also be a Youth PBD on January 7.

Sushma Swaraj said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fervent engagement with the Indian diaspora has had an impact and the number of participants in this year’s event has gone up.

“Till a few years ago, the number of participants was in hundreds. Last year it was around 2,500 and this year we are expecting around 3,000 people and the actual number may go up,” she said.

The participants can withdraw with full refunds by December 7 this year, the Minister said.

Karanataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said his state was keen to host the event and was preparing to make it “a huge success”.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated in India each year to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India.

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India got 72 percent H1B visas this year, says US official

Aug 26, 2016 0

Hyderabad– The US issued more than a million visas this year in India which also accounts for 72 percent of all H1B visas issued worldwide, said a top US official on Friday.

While vast majority of travelers to the US are traveling on tourist and short term business visas, India is also the largest beneficiary of H1B visas.

“Beyond tourism and short term business travelers, the US welcome travel by skilled Indian workers. India is the largest beneficiary by far of H1B visas vis-A-vis skilled workers visas.

“So far just in this year, Indian workers received 72 percent of all the H1B visas the US issued worldwide. Similarly Indian workers received 30 percent of all L visas also long term business travel visas that we have issued worldwide,” said Michele Bond, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs.

Michele Bond

Michele Bond

She said while there is no limit for issuing tourist visas, it was for the US Congress to take a decision on increasing HIB and L1 visas for India.

“I can’t predict whether that is likely to happen. It’s pretty obvious that there is more demand for those visas. We will see what decision is taken about whether and when that cap might be increased,” she told reporters here.

The US issues 138,000 H1B visas per year worldwide and on an average Indians get 70 percent of these visas. This year Indians have already received about 72 percent.

The highest ranking US official on consular issues said they understand Indian companies’ concern about higher fee for H1B and L1 visas. She, however, clarified that the fee hike is not targeted at India.

“That hike was result of legislation that was passed. The level of interest in visas has not changed because of this. We hope to continue to see very strong interest in applying for business visas and working in US,” she added.

Stating that the commercial, economic and social ties between the two countries had strengthened, Bond pointed out that the number of business and tourist visas issues in India had gone up by 81 percent in five years.

Last year, the US mission in India issued 60,000 student visas. The US consulate general in Hyderabad issued the largest number of student visas in India, more than any of the consulates and the embassy.

“This consulate general in Hyderabad issues fifth largest number of student visas in the world. It is at fifth position among more than 200 embassies and consulates around the world. We are really proud of our team in Hyderabad and the role they are playing in strengthening the bonds between two countries,” she said.

Bond noted that the number of Indian students in the US increased to more than 132,000 last year. Indian students comprise second largest international student population in the US.

She said the work on the new consulate building in Hyderabad will begin next year and it is scheduled to be completed in 2020. The new facility will have 52 interview windows against 16 at its existing location.

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Modi: My vision for India is rapid transformation

Aug 26, 2016 0

New Delhi– Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said his vision for India is rapid transformation, for which the country will have to change its laws, speed up processes and adopt technology for development.

“We cannot march through the 21st century with the administrative systems of the 19th century. There is need of collective opening of the minds, to let in new, global perspectives,” Modi said, while inaugurating the first “Transforming India” series lecture organised by NITI Aayog.

“If India is to meet the challenge of change, mere incremental progress is not enough. A metamorphosis is needed. That is why my vision for India is rapid transformation, not gradual evolution,” Modi said.

Indian Prime Minister Mody

Indian Prime Minister Mody

Stating that the “transformation of India cannot happen without a transformation of governance” the Prime Minister said that a transformation of governance cannot happen without a transformation in mindset and a transformation in mindset cannot happen without transformative ideas.

Modi said the younger generation in India is thinking and aspiring so differently and the government can no longer afford to remain rooted in the past.

“Development now depends on the quality of institutions and ideas… Thirty years ago, a country might have been able to look inward and find its solutions, but today countries are inter-dependent and inter-connected,” the Prime Minister said.

He said he has been holding brainstorming sessions with government officials, and the next step will be getting ideas from outside, adding that India has always been open to ideas from outside.

“This is the purpose of the Transforming India Lecture Series. It is a series which we will attend, not as individuals but as part of a team which can collectively make change happen,” he said.

The Prime Minister also requested the gathering to suggest names of experts and panellists from within and outside India.

“I also request all secretaries to government to conduct a follow up discussion in a week’s time, with the participants from their ministries. The purpose is to convert ideas that emerge in today’s session into specific action points relevant to each group. Wherever possible, I request the ministers also to participate in these sessions,” the Prime Minister said.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, said that skill and innovation along with technology can take India forward.

Delivering the keynote address, Shanmugaratnam stressed on empowerment of people and emphasised on strong social and political culture for a strong society.

“Education system is a big challenge in India and there is a need to increase the education budget. India has the biggest gap between talent in the top and unfulfilled expectations,” he said, while expressing disappointment that nearly 43 per cent of students leave school before finishing the upper primary level.

He also stressed on the need for trained teachers and quality training for them. (IANS)

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Asian Americans stress financial security of extended family, retirement savings

Aug 25, 2016 0

NEWARK, N.J.–In one of the largest financial-focused studies of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to date, Prudential Financial, Inc. , found that this culturally and geographically diverse segment is united by a shared focus on the financial progress, stability and security of their extended families.

Sri Reddy

Sri Reddy

Prudential’s 2016 Asian American Financial Experience surveyed more than 2,000 self-identified Asian Americans and found that the median assets reported by respondents are approximately $100,000 higher than the U.S. general population. They also place a higher priority on family-related financial goals. Prudential’s survey also found that most in this community – one of the fastest growing population segments since 2000 – face the same financial challenges as the U.S. general population, such as saving for retirement and managing household budgets.

“America is more diverse than ever, which means we need to understand the unique financial situations faced by such communities as Asian Americans,” said Sri Reddy, senior vice president and head of Full Service Investments at Prudential Retirement. “Taking the time to partner with and learn about what they value and need is imperative for us to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to achieve their financial goals.”

Importance of the family and retirement

Prudential’s report shows that the Asian American financial experience is influenced in almost every aspect by the importance of family. Like the U.S. general population, Asian American respondents cited having enough money to maintain current lifestyles as their top financial priority. However, Asian American respondents cited not becoming a financial burden to loved ones as their next important goal, while the general population pointed to debt reduction as their second most important goal.

Smriti Sinha

Smriti Sinha

Among key findings:
• Approximately 33% of Asian Americans surveyed identify themselves as caregivers for another person (e.g., spouse, parent, relative), compared to 22 percent of the U.S. general population.
• 20 percent of Asian American respondents indicated that they provide financial assistance to their relatives, versus only 6 percent of the U.S. general population.

“Today’s Asian Americans are devoting substantial resources to helping their families, and many also want to retire at an earlier age than most Americans,” said Reddy. “The feedback we’ve gathered shows that the need for a nuanced, culturally acute roadmap to help Asian Americans realize their financial goals has never been greater.”

A Culturally and Financially Diverse Community

While the report identifies cultural and financial differences in subgroups that make up the Asian American community, Prudential’s report also explores important differences between the various subgroups that make up the Asian American population and its unique financial characteristics.

Among key findings:
• With higher-than-average education levels and more professional careers relative to other Asian Americans, Chinese Americans tend to have higher incomes, higher asset levels and greater equity in their homes.
• Indian Americans are more likely than other Asian Americans to describe themselves as savers, and to report the highest levels of knowledge regarding all financial topics.
• Japanese Americans generally have an optimistic outlook on their finances, and believe they would be able to sustain their household longer than other Asian Americans in the event of a loss of income.

Prudential released the report on Thursday during an event at the Asia Society in New York City, featuring Reddy, Hurong Lou of Prudential Advisors, and Smriti Sinha of Prudential Individual Life Insurance as panelists, and Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu as moderator.

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India appoints Navtej Sarna as its new Ambassador to US

Aug 25, 2016 0

New Delhi– Seven months into his term as India’s High Commissioner to UK, Navtej Sarna is being asked to move to Washington as the country’s next ambassador, as the US prepares for a presidential transition, well-informed sources said.

Navtej Sarna-Portrait

Navtej Sarna

Sarna’s name was discussed and cleared at the highest level, these sources told IANS.

He will take over from Arun Kumar Singh who retires by month-end. Both Sarna and Singh are former Indian ambassadors to Israel, underlying the importance of a posting in Tel Aviv which is one of Washington’s closest allies.

Sarna has had a previous posting in Washington when he was Minister for Press, Information and Culture between 1998 and 2002.

Before moving to London, Sarna was Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs where he oversaw the successful hosting last October of the India-Africa Forum Summit that was attended by a record number of 53 African countries.

Indian Ambassador Arun Singh (file photo)

Indian Ambassador Arun Singh (file photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was personally very happy with the organisation of the Summit and had congratulated External Affairs Sushma Swaraj for it.

It is clear Modi wanted someone in Washington he was confident would be able to steer the multi-faceted India-US relations into a new phase with a new administration.

Sarna was among the longest-serving spokespersons of the ministry between 2002 and 2008. He has also had postings in Moscow, Warsaw, Tehran, Geneva and Thimphu.

Sarna is also a prolific author of many fiction and non-fiction books, with the most recent being ‘Second Thoughts: On Books, Authors and the Writerly Life’ that was released last year. He was a big hit in London’s literary circles and had also become, in a short span, a popular figure in the Indian community in the UK.

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India lauds 7.9 percent GDP forecast by Goldman Sachs for 2016-17

Aug 25, 2016 0

New Delhi– The central government on Thursday lauded global investment banker Goldman Sachs for awarding a growth forecast of 7.9 per cent for the Indian economy in the current fiscal, riding on an improved monsoon, key reforms and increased FDI inflows.

“Happy that Goldman Sachs forecast Indian economy to clock 7.9 per cent growth in current fiscal with better monsoon, key reforms and FDI (foreign direct investment) inflows,” M. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, said in a tweet.

M. Venkaiah Naidu

M. Venkaiah Naidu

The forecast by Goldman Sachs is above the consensus expectations of 7.5 per cent.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in May had retained the forecast of 7.5 per cent for India’s GDP (gross domestic product) growth in 2016-17.

Moody’s Investors Service in August had forecast the real GDP growth for India at around 7.5 per cent for FY2017.

“Goldman Sachs lauded several important policy changes and reforms that were carried out like GST (Goods and Services Tax) bill passage, bankruptcy code, government approval of inflation targeting framework and measures to ease doing business,” Naidu tweeted.

A pick-up in infrastructure investment and easing in FDI (foreign direct investment) restrictions in the defence, aviation, retail and e-commerce sectors was also hailed by Goldman Sachs, he said.

India had clocked an overall growth rate of 7.6 per cent in the previous fiscal, with the growth rate accelerating to 7.9 per cent during the January-March period this year on strong manufacturing growth.

The Finance Ministry and NITI Aayog insisted that Indian can reach an 8 per cent growth rate in the current fiscal if the monsoon was good this year against the previous two years of consecutive drought. (IANS)

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Two Indian-Americans Appointed White House Fellows

Aug 25, 2016 0

WASHINGTON, DC – The President’s Commission on White House Fellowships announced the appointment of the 2016-2017 class of White House Fellows. The prestigious list includes two Indian-Americans: Tina R. Shah and Anjali Tripathi.

Tina R. Shah

Tina R. Shah

Shah of Chicago, IL, is a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician-scientist focused on transforming healthcare delivery for patients with chronic diseases. She recently completed her clinical fellowship at the University of Chicago, where she redesigned the care cycle for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), dramatically reducing hospital readmissions.

Tripathi of Woodland Hills, CA, is an astrophysicist, most recently at Harvard University.  Her research focuses on the formation and evolution of planets.  She has pioneered the characterization of planet forming environments and developed the first 3D simulations of planets evaporating due to extreme atmospheric heating.

The Fellows come from diverse backgrounds, varied professions, and have demonstrated a strong commitment to public service and leadership. The 2016-2017 class of Fellows and their biographies are included in the following pages, the White House said in a statement.

Anjali Tripathi

Anjali Tripathi

The White House Fellows Program was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to give promising American leaders “first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the Federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs.

This unique opportunity to work within our nation’s government is designed to encourage active citizenship and a lifelong commitment to service. The Fellows take part in an education program designed to broaden their knowledge of leadership, policy formulation, and current affairs. Community service is another essential element of the program, and Fellows participate in service projects throughout their year in Washington, D.C.

Selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of professional achievement, evidence of leadership potential, and a proven commitment to public service. Each Fellow must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute meaningfully at senior levels of the Federal government. Throughout its history, the program has fostered leaders in many fields, including government, business, law, media, medicine, education, diplomacy, and the military. Additional information about the White House Fellows program is available at www.whitehouse.gov/fellows.

Here is a complete list of 2016-2017 Class of White House Fellows:

Robert Accordino, Cambridge, MA, is a physician focused on the health care of children with developmental disabilities. He completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General and McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School; a residency in general psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College; and an internship in pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital. As a first year medical student, Robert founded the nonprofit organization Music for Autism in the United States and served as executive director, leading the charity’s fully subsidized programs to spread nationally. Throughout his education, Robert has participated in clinical research resulting in the publication of numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He has also written as a blogger for The Huffington Post. He served on the Alumni Advisory Board of the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation and as a resident tutor in Mather House of Harvard University. Robert received a B.A., summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Princeton University, and an M.Sc. from Oxford University, where he was a Fulbright and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. He then received an M.D. from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai with Distinction in Research and Medical Education and as a member of the Arnold Gold Humanism in Medicine Society.

Raven Bukowski, Akron, OH, is a Major in the United States Army.  As an intelligence officer, she has led more than 200 intelligence collectors and analysts over the course of five overseas deployments within the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.  She last served as the Director of Intelligence for 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) where she led the intelligence effort for the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Syria.  In this role, Raven delivered intelligence assessments to U.S. Interagency and Intergovernmental partners that directly informed policy-level decisions on military operations to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  Prior to that, Raven was an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the United States Military Academy’s Department of Social Sciences, where in addition to teaching she served as an academic counselor and conducted research for the Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis.  Raven is an active Term Member on the Council on Foreign Relations and the author or co-author of four papers dealing with military doctrine or defense policy.  Raven received a B.S. from The United States Military Academy and an M.A. from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Linden Dahlkemper, Erie, PA, is a Lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard. She most recently served as an Instructor in the Department of Humanities at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, where she volunteered as an intercollegiate sailing team coach, musical theater director and cadet mentor. Linden also facilitated experiential leadership training for Coast Guard cadets as an Officer in Charge in the Coastal Sail Training Program. Previously, she served as the Operations Officer on the Coast Guard Cutter ASPEN and conducted oil skimming operations in the Gulf of Mexico for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and subsequently led counter-narcotics and maritime transportation operations in the Pacific. As a Deck Watch Officer on Coast Guard Cutter WALNUT, she led some of the first boardings of foreign-flagged vessels under the authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and conducted joint operations with international partners in the South Pacific. Linden earned an M.S. in Public Policy and Management, with high honors, from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. in Government, with high honors, from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where she was the recipient of the Jewish Women’s War Veterans Award in Government.

Sharice Davids, Rapid City, SD, served as the Deputy Director of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation in Porcupine, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation where she managed a variety of day-to-day operations, acted as in house legal counsel, and laid the foundation for a social enterprise program. She is from the Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin, and has dedicated her professional life to economic development in Native American communities. In 2010, Sharice began her legal career in the Kansas City office of an international law firm as a corporate transactional attorney working on mergers and acquisitions for private equity clients and economic development transactions with Native American tribes. After leaving corporate practice, Sharice moved to the Pine Ridge Reservation where she took a position with a high school as the Director of an Economic Development Initiative where she developed an entrepreneurship curriculum that was implemented at the high school level.  After the development of the entrepreneurship program, Sharice started Hoka Coffee Company. Sharice received a B.B.A. from the University of Missouri in Kansas City and a J.D. from Cornell Law School. She is an avid martial artist and has competed at the amateur and professional levels in mixed martial arts.

Lloyd Edwards, Equinunk, PA, is a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy and a Navy SEAL. He has led special operations throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia, and has deployed twice to Afghanistan and three times to Iraq. In addition, Lloyd spent a year in Bahrain where he established a regional task force and directed special operations in its area of responsibility, which included unstable regions of Africa and the Middle East. Lloyd’s most recent operational assignments have included leading sixty SEALs and support personnel as a Task Unit Commander and managing the training and employment of over two hundred personnel deployed to disparate locations as an Operations Officer. His service has been recognized with multiple military decorations including the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon. Lloyd was also selected as the two-year fellow for the Navy’s Politico-Military Masters program. Lloyd received a B.S. in Political Science from the U.S. Naval Academy where he was a senior staff member for the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference and a varsity letterman in sprint football, and an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Timothy Gatlin, Houston, TX, is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. He most recently served as the strategic planner for the Director of the Army’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention program. As a commander, he conducted operations in support of the Army’s counter-terrorism operations in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. During Operation Spartan Shield, he deployed as a Brigade Fire Support Officer, advising on targeting, joint fire support operations, and foreign military partnerships. Previously, he was a faculty member at the United States Military Academy and a Local Dynamics of War Scholar at the Army Command and General Staff College. He has presented and published on topics including leadership, state-sponsored development programs in Iraq, and regionally aligned forces. His awards include the Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. Timothy co-founded the Excel Scholars Initiative, an enrichment program dedicated to diversifying the West Point cadet leadership and faculty pools by launching minority cadets into leadership roles and into contention for prestigious post-graduate programs. He has also served as a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Orange County, NY. He received a B.S. in Economics from the United States Military Academy, and an M.A. in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University as an Eisenhower Leader Development Fellow.  Prior to his selection as a Fellow, Timothy was selected to serve as a battalion commander.

Erik Iverson, Philadelphia, PA, recently served as Deputy Director for Planning at the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management. He managed a portfolio of homeland security programs ranging from emergency planning to training and exercises and helped to coordinate the City’s response to major incidents including the 2015 Amtrak Northeast Regional derailment. Erik also contributed to the planning and execution of major events including the 2016 Democratic National Convention and the recent papal visit to Philadelphia. Prior to service in local government, Erik earned a Ph.D. in international relations at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, researching how agencies collaborate during crises. He received a number of awards and fellowships and served as a consultant to the federal government and a congressional task force on homeland security. Erik is active in his community having served as a youth mentor and a volunteer first responder. He is a Truman National Security Fellow, CNAS Next Generation National Security Fellow, and a graduate of the Executive Leaders Program at the Naval Postgraduate School. Erik received a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Joseph McGeehin, Newtown Square, PA, served as Chief of Staff to the Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley, where he worked with senior executives around the world to enhance client engagement with the firm and drive business development. His responsibilities included conducting strategic and operational analyses for the board of directors, firm regulators, and government officials, as well as leading CEO-directed initiatives on performance and growth. Previously, he worked in Morgan Stanley’s Mergers and Acquisitions department and for Herbert Smith Freehills’ international arbitration and U.S. securities groups in London. Joe represented Morgan Stanley in the Council on Foreign Relations’ Corporate Leaders Program and was a member of the Board of Engineers of Blue Engine, an organization that partners with public schools in low-income communities to increase academic rigor and enable postsecondary success. He is also a longtime mentor with CitySquash, an after-school enrichment program based in the Bronx. Joe received an A.B. in History with honors from Harvard College, and a J.D. and M.B.A. with distinction from New York University. He is admitted to the New York and Massachusetts bars.

Michael Morales, Naranjito, Puerto Rico, is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force. He recently served as Commander of the 538th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron in Kabul, Afghanistan. In this capacity, he led a highly skilled, multinational combat flying advisory team responsible for the development of the entire Afghan Air Force airlift capability. Mike has spent his career working with and advising political and military leaders around the world; he has led teams with diverse missions ranging from planning and executing all U.S. military exercises in Central, South America, and the Caribbean to building partnerships with air forces throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. Mike piloted C-17s and C-130s on over 200 combat airlift missions into Afghanistan and Iraq, and earned the prestigious Airlift/Tanker Association Young Leader Award and the Air Force Association Company Grade Officer of the Year. Mike received an M.A. in Religion and a Master of Divinity from Liberty University, and an M.S. in Logistics from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He is a member of Cru Military, Mensa, and the Global Leaders tier of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.

Warren Morgan, Cleveland, OH, served as the Academic Superintendent for Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s turnaround (investment) schools. In this role he led principals in common core instructional leadership and collaborated with stakeholders to ensure the fidelity of the Cleveland Plan, which seeks quality schools for Cleveland students. Under his leadership, schools achieved significant gains in literacy and attendance, outperformed the district’s graduation rate, and decreased suspensions. Prior to working in education, he worked for the Illinois Senate as a Bill Analyst. After working in public policy, he joined Teach for America as a Science teacher in St. Louis, MO. He then served as a high school principal with Chicago Public Schools where dramatically improved the school’s performance from a level 3 probation status for the first time in nearly 20 years. In 2009, Warren was awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year.  Warren is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Butler University, where he served as student body president and was selected a Butler Top 10 student; an M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of Missouri St. Louis; and an Ed.D. in Urban Education Leadership from the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Austin Ramirez, Milwaukee, WI, served as the president and CEO of HUSCO International, a global engineering and manufacturing company with 1,400 employees worldwide. During his tenure, the company was designated a Global Growth Company by the World Economic Forum and recognized as Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year. Prior to joining HUSCO, Austin was a consultant in the San Francisco office of McKinsey & Company where he specialized in corporate finance and industrial operations. He was selected as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2014 and is the Founding Curator of the Forum’s Global Shaper Hub in Milwaukee.  Austin served as a director of the National Association of Manufacturers, Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Milwaukee Committee.  He was also a volunteer board member of the Milwaukee YMCA, United Performing Arts Fund and the Milwaukee chapter of Teach for America.  Austin received a B.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from Stanford University, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar and Goldman Sachs Fellow.  As a member of the U.S. Swimming National Team, Austin won gold medals at the United States Swimming National Championships and FINA World Championships.

Lindsey B. Ross, Los Angeles, CA, is taking leave from residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, where she is a senior neurosurgical resident physician studying the pathogenesis and surgical management of neurological disease. Additionally, she has been steadily dedicated to serving disadvantaged populations, mentoring underrepresented minority students, and working towards policy change with a focus on impoverished communities as it pertains to disparities in medicine. While in medical school, she served as a regional and national leader for the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and was selected as a Denzel and Pauletta Washington Gifted Scholar in Neuroscience.  Lindsey spearheaded and coordinated a group of volunteers to help with the reaccreditation process at King/Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. She is the founder of the Women in Surgery Interest Group at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and currently serves as a House Staff Executive for her hospital.  Author of a number of published scholarly articles and academic book chapters, she has spent an extensive amount of time in South Africa, Thailand, Mexico, and Guatemala for medical mission work. Lindsey received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and an M.D. from UCLA.

Kyle Scherer, Dover, OH, was most recently an Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, with broad experience advising clients in liability management and corporate finance transactions. Prior to joining the firm, he worked on the Navajo Nation as a Staff Attorney for DNA-Peoples Legal Services, a nonprofit organization focused on providing access to justice to low-income Native Americans living in the Four Corners region of the United States. Kyle is a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and is the recipient of a Bronze Star Medal, having served as the S-2 for Joint Task Force Kabul, the Chief of Intelligence Operations for Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435, and the Senior Intelligence Officer for U.S. Forces-Iraq’s Personnel Recovery Division. In addition to maintaining an active pro bono practice, Kyle is a Director of Native American Alumni of Harvard University and a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Military Affairs and Justice. He received a B.A. from Harvard College where he pursued a special concentration in American Public Policy & American Indian Politics, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership.

Tina R. Shah, Chicago, IL, is a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician-scientist focused on transforming healthcare delivery for patients with chronic diseases. She recently completed her clinical fellowship at the University of Chicago, where she redesigned the care cycle for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), dramatically reducing hospital readmissions. As the recipient of the inaugural U. Chicago Innovations Grant, she also led an interprofessional research team to evaluate this value-based care delivery program.  Tina has published several papers and delivered keynote speeches for the American Lung Association. During her term as the Chair of the American Medical Association – Resident and Fellow Section where she represented nearly 40,000 physicians, Tina targeted the physician burnout epidemic by convening the first national summit on resident physician wellbeing. She also launched the largest national study to date to identify the key drivers of health and satisfaction for physicians in training.  She was a trustee for the Chicago Medical Society and has held leadership positions in other medical societies to advocate for her patients and for a sustainable medical workforce. Tina received a B.S. and an M.D. from the Pennsylvania State University/Jefferson Medical College accelerated six-year medical program and a M.P.H. from Harvard.

Anjali Tripathi, Woodland Hills, CA, is an astrophysicist, most recently at Harvard University.  Her research focuses on the formation and evolution of planets.  She has pioneered the characterization of planet forming environments and developed the first 3D simulations of planets evaporating due to extreme atmospheric heating.  Anjali has also been involved in modeling the Milky Way and the search for dark matter.  Previously, she’s conducted particle physics, seismology, and engineering research at Fermilab, Caltech, MIT, and NASA JPL, as part of the mission operations team for the Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.  As a seasoned communicator, Anjali has made science concepts relevant and easy to understand, including for the Smithsonian, TED, and Teach for America.  Outside of research and teaching, Anjali focuses on mentoring and has established Harvard Astronomy’s first mentoring program, adopted by universities nationwide.  Her commitment to improving her community has been recognized by Harvard, MIT, and the American Red Cross.  Anjali will receive her Ph.D. in Astronomy from Harvard, where she earned an A.M. in Astronomy, as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.  She received an M.Phil. in Astronomy from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar, and an S.B. in Physics, with a minor in Applied International Studies, from MIT.

Bryant Cameron Webb, Spotsylvania, VA, is a physician and lawyer who works at the intersection of health and social justice. He most recently completed residency in Internal Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine, where he served as Co-President of the Housestaff Committee, Co-Chair of the Minority Housestaff Committee, and as an Ambulatory Chief Resident. After residency, he joined the Division of General Internal Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. Cameron is a passionate champion for health equity and is committed to advocating for the health needs of underserved and marginalized communities. He previously served as National President of the Student National Medical Association, Student Trustee of the National Medical Association, and on the Board of Directors of Doctors for America. Additionally, Cameron is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of EquityRx, a health equity organization combining research, education and advocacy to address social determinants of health. He received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies as an Echols Scholar at the University of Virginia, a J.D. and health law certificate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and an M.D. from Wake Forest School of Medicine.

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US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to visit India

Aug 25, 2016 0

Washington–US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is slated to visit New Delhi to attend the second US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the US-India CEO Forum scheduled to be held from August 29 to 31.

According to an official statement, Secretary Pritzker will co-chair the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and Minister of Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman.

Penny_Pritzker_official_photographIn January 2015, US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi elevated the existing US-India Strategic Dialogue to the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue to reflect the growing significance of the US-India economic relationship, the statement said.

This is the first time the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue will be held in India.

Secretary Pritzker will also co-chair the second US-India CEO Forum alongside Jeff Zients, the Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.

The forum will bring together CEOs and government representatives from both countries to discuss opportunities for increasing bilateral trade and investment, the statement added.

During this event, the CEOs will communicate their joint recommendations to the US and Indian governments.

While in New Delhi, Secretary Pritzker will also meet with Indian entrepreneurs and participate in an event celebrating US-India cooperation on travel and tourism.

In June 2016, Obama and Modi announced that the US and India would be Travel and Tourism Partner Countries in 2017.

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