USINPAC congratulates Indian-American Vanita Gupta on her appointment to head the civil rights division of the U.S.

Vanita GuptaIndian-American Vanita Gupta, a top lawyer from American Civil Liberties Union, has been appointed to head the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department, becoming the first South Asian to hold this post.

President Barack Obama is expected to nominate Ms. Gupta to serve as the permanent Assistant Attorney General of Civil Rights in the coming months.

“Vanita has spent her entire career working to ensure that our nation lives up to its promise of equal justice for all,” said Attorney General Eric Holder after he announced that Ms. Gupta will serve as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

Ms. Gupta succeeds Molly Moran, who will become Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General.

She begins at the department on Monday, October 20.

“Even as she has done trailblazing work as a civil rights lawyer, Vanita is also known as a unifier and consensus builder. She has a knack for bridging differences and building coalitions to drive progress,” Mr. Holder said.

Ms. Gupta, who was most recently the Deputy Legal Director of ACLU, has expertise on federal and state policing issues, immigration, and criminal justice reform.

She started her career with the NAACP Legal Defence and Educational Fund and has been active in supporting South Asian communities, including serving on SAALT’s Council of Advisors.

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) applauded her appointment. “We look forward to working with her in the months and years ahead to address the range of civil rights issues that continue to face our nation,” said Suman Raghunathan, executive director of SAALT.

Over her career, Ms. Gupta has earned a reputation for working closely and collaboratively with law enforcement, departments of corrections and across the political spectrum to advance smart policing and criminal justice reforms.

Through her work with the ACLU, she has been involved in reform initiatives around the country pertaining to federal and state policing, sentencing, drug policy and criminal law.

Her recent work has focused on building a bipartisan consensus to end overreliance on incarceration.

Ms. Gupta began her career as a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defence and Educational Fund.

In addition to her work with the ACLU and NAACP Legal Defence Fund, she has taught civil rights litigation and advocacy clinics at New York University School of Law.

She received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Source: The Hindu

An Event with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard

tulsi gabbardUSINPAC hosted a reception a day after Prime Minister Modi’s speech at Madison Square Garden for Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. The agenda of the reception was to meet the only Hindu American member of the US Congress and hear her recount her first hand experience of meeting Modi. Congresswoman Gabbard promised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lead an effort towards a Congressional resolution in support of International Yoga Day proposed by him. She also gave Modi her personal copy of the Bhagavad-Gita, which she has had since she was a child and was “a source of courage and comfort” during her two tours of duty in the Middle East as a soldier, and which she used to take her Congressional Oath of Office. Gabbard also presented Modi with a ginger flower garland from her home state of Hawaii, which Modi pointed out was a tradition in India as well.

During their meeting, the two spoke of the priorities shared by India and the US, including defeating the threat posed by ISIS and other Islamic extremists, cooperating to address environmental concerns, and maximizing economic opportunities.

PM Modi’s visionary speech leaves Indian Americans inspired

Modi at Madison SquarePrime Minister Narendra Modi not only won the hearts of Indian Americans amidst a full house at Madison Square Garden but also of nearly 40 top US lawmakers who described his words as “inspirational and visionary”. Many felt that he is a “charismatic” figure, while others felt he was “on the cusp of a transformation”. His views on minimum governance also struck a chord with the lawmakers.
Congressman Ami Bera, the only Indian-American lawmaker in the current House of Representatives, described Modi’s speech as inspirational and visionary. “Today the Indian-American community was celebrating. I look forward to continuing to work together to reinvigorate the US-India relationship,” he said.
“It was great to hear his message of peace and friendship at his address to an energized crowd at New York’s renowned Madison Square Garden,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
“Modi’s visit marks a significant positive step toward growing the relationship between the US and India, which is a bond based on shared democratic values and a focus on mutual prosperity and security,” said Gabbard, who also called on the Prime Minister at his hotel. Gabbard presented to the Prime Minister a Gita, which she said had taken oath when she was sworn in to the US House of Representative.

A Brief Summary of Business Barometer 2014

Business leaders in both nations are willing to extend their reach into the roots of bilateral trades. They are willing to guide the Political administration in taking trade-friendly decisions and make bridges to help in development, prosperity and mutual benefit. The survey is done by APCO in close association with AUSIB. IT highlights the fact that leaders in both nations wish to evolve from diplomatic stand-still and breed friendly ties with each other motivated by the economic benefits and political stability.

The stand-out points that cropped out from the survey are as follows:

1. Business Executives in both countries see huge opportunities as far as economic growth is concerned.

 Most US executives see India as top destination for investment.

 70% US traders acknowledge that the economic relations are headed in right direction

2. Infrastructure development

 95% Indian executives want Indian govt. to focus on infrastructure add to 40% US counterparts who want the same.

 52% investors from US don’t invest in India only because of [poor infrastructure facilities.

 Both nations rank first as Investment destination.

3. Positive References versus Negative pointers

 The survey reports relationship health checker against the negative pointers that can hamper the evolution of trade.

 Major concerns are Visa restrictions, Chinese grip on market and Out-sourcing challenges

 Executives are willing to settle in the other country if stability is provided in the long run based on ethical backing and lower tariffs and taxation.

4. It reports the top 5 challenges in the immediate concerns facing each country

5. The survey ranks top 5 ways and ideas to further solidify Indo-US ties. Infrastructure tops both the lists followed by taxation structure and Visa regulations and travel options.

Conclusion: Overall, US Executives rate Indian market moderately, which is a motivating number, over the issue of regionalism which seems to affect the chances of doing any Investment in India. A majority of executives at midsize companies and those who view India as the best place to do business are more likely to do business in India as a result of the rise of state power

International Visitor Leadership Program

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American Think Tanks
A Project for India

These visitors are invited to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.  Their program is arranged by World Learning.

Program Contacts: Ms. Amy Reid and Ms. Dorothea Schurr, World Learning, 1015 Fifteenth Street, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005; Telephone: (202) 464-8525 or (202) 464-6597; Toll-free: (800) 858-0292; Email: or

Department of State Program Contacts: Ms. Reva Gutpa and Ms. Irina Karmanova, Office of International Visitors; Telephone: (202) 632-3311 or (202) 632-9395; Email: or

Accompanied by: Ms. Elka Charren, International Visitor Liaison

September 29 – October 17, 2014


The Department of State has outlined the following specific objectives for the project:

  • Explore how think tanks and related university institutions are structured and funded;
  • Examine the role of think tanks in creating content and influencing national policy;
  • Establish links with U.S.-based think tanks; and
  • Discuss ways to expand, develop, and professionalize the think tank community in India.



Mr. Dharmarajan DHANURAJ
Chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research

Mr. Ashish GUPTA
Associate Fellow-Energy, Observer Research Foundation

Assistant Professor and Head, Centre for Corporate Governance, Institute of Public Enterprise

Associate Professor, Health Studies Area, Administrative Staff College of India

Mr. Neeraj KUMAR
Managing Editor, Centre for Economic Policy and Public Finance, Asian Development Research Institute, Patna

Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd.




Name: Mr. Dharmarajan DHANURAJ

Present Position: Chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research

Concurrent Position: Managing Director, Civitas Consultancies Pvt. Ltd

Education/Training: Ph.D., Science and Humanities, Anna University, Chennai, 2013
M.A., Political Science, Madras Christian College, Chennai, 2005
M.Sc., Physics, Sacred Heart College, Cochin, 2002

Address: Centre for Public Policy Research
Door no.28/3656, 1st floor
Sonoro Church Road, Elamkulam
Kochi, Kerala 682 020

Languages: Tamil (native), English

U.S. Travel: Michigan, New York, Washington

Justification: Dr. Dharmarajan Dhanuraj is the Chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), an emerging think tank in the state of Kerala focusing on urban development, security, and strategic affairs. Mr. Dhanuraj started the organization in 2004 and has cultivated it into a globally respected institute with international reach. In 2013, CPPR launched a parallel organization called the CPPR Centre for Strategic Studies (CPPR-CSS) to explore new foreign policy frontiers at the federal level, especially from a South Indian perspective. CSS researches the role of federal states in countering threats to different dimensions of national security in the Indian Ocean rim region, including maritime and coastal security, internal security and human security. It provides a new platform to explore the confluence of foreign policies, regional interests and security challenges in an era of globalized trade and commerce.



Name: Mr. Ashish GUPTA

Present Position: Associate Fellow-Energy, Observer Research Foundation

Previous Positions: Manager, GIS Development, 2011
Senior Executive, Associate Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India, 2010

Education/Training: M.S., Business Economics, Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, 2008
B.A., Commerce, Allahabad University, 2004

Address: Observer Research Foundation
20, Rouse Avenue
New Delhi 110002


Languages: Hindi (native), English

U.S. Travel: No previous U.S. Travel

Professional Background: Mr. Ashish Gupta focuses on energy issues as an Associate Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). His current portfolio includes energy security, water, regional cooperation and peace building through energy and resource infrastructure integration, climate change, renewable energy use, sustainable development, environmental awareness and economic development. Mr. Gupta has spoken at several international conferences such as the Indian Business Chamber on “Energy Infrastructure Management,” has published articles, and provides consultancy services to energy utilities and associated stake holders. Established in 1990, ORF is an independent think tank examining the critical problems facing India and developing policy responses in a rapidly changing global environment. It is closely associated with major international think tanks, including the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation.




Present Position: Assistant Professor and Head, Centre for Corporate Governance, Institute of Public Enterprise

Previous Positions: Assistant Professor, Badruka College PG Centre, 2003-05
Assistant Manager, SREI International Finance Ltd, 2001-01
Senior Accounts Officer, Kolmak Chemicals Ltd, 1996-99

Education/Training: Ph.D, Philosophy, Osmania University, 2009
Post Graduate Diploma, Management, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, 2002
Chartered Accountant, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, 1995
Cost Accountant, Institute of Cost Accountants of India, 1995 B.Com., Calcutta University, 1992

Publications: “Intertwining CSR with Strategy – The Way Ahead,” Corporate Governance Vol 14, Issue 2, 2014
“Diversity and the Effective Corporate Boards,” Elsevier, 2013.
“Women on Boards – The Statistics Speak,” Chartered Accountant Journal, January 2013
“Boards Should have Members With Diverse Experience,” Asia-Pacific Journal of Management Research and Innovation, Vol 8 No 3, Sage Publications, 2012
“Companies go Global, Boards Remain Local,” co-author with Dr. Mishra, Indian Management, Vol 51 Issue 8, August 2012
“Board Diversity and Corporate Performance: The Indian Evidence,” IUP Journal of Corporate Governance, Vol XI, No. 3, July 2012
“Gender Diversity in Singapore Boards,” co- author with R.K. Mishra, Research Journal of Economics and Business Studies, Vol 1 No 8, June 2012

Address: Flat No 302
Pragati Apartments
1-2-300 Gagan Mahal Road
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh 500029


Languages: English

U.S. Travel: Nevada, New York

Professional Background: Dr. Shital Jhunjhunwala heads the Centre for Corporate Governance (CCG), Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE) in Hyderabad. She is involved in conceiving and executing training programs for corporate and industry representatives on issues like strategic decision making, social responsibility, and regulatory compliance. The IPE offers research, training, and consulting services for public and private organizations and industries. Recognized as a ‘Centre of Excellence’, the IPE is funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), the Government of India, and the Government of Andhra Pradesh.



Name: Mr. Subodh KANDAMUTHAN, Ph.D.

Present Position: Associate Professor, Health Studies Area,  Administrative Staff College of India

Previous Positions: Finance Consultant, Department of Health, Medical and Family Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh, 2007-08
Assistant Professor, Health Economics, Institute of Health Systems, Hyderabad, 2006-07
Assistant Professor, Health Policy Research Unit, Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi, 2004-06

Education/Training: Ph.D., Economics, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru, 2004
M.Phil., Applied Economics, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, affiliated to Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 2000
M.S., Development Economics, Pondicherry Central University, 1998
B.A., Economics, University College, Kerala University, 1996

Publications: “Public Private Partnerships in Health Sector,” Creative Handicrafts group, December 2013
Book Review, “Poor but Spirited Karim Nagar: Field Notes of a Civil Servant by Sumita Dawra,” ASCI Journal of Management, March 2013
Book Review, “Interlacing Water and Health,” ASCI Journal of Management, September 2012
“Recurrent Costs of India’s Free ART Programme,” Indrani Gupta, Subodh Kandamuthan, M.Trivedi, ‘AIDS – An Economic Development Risk in South Asia,’ World Bank, December 2008
“An Analysis of Recurrent Costs of the Free ART Programme of the Government of India,” Indrani Gupta, Subodh Kandamuthan, Mr. M Trivedi, in the book ‘Growth, Equity, Environment and Population; Economic and Sociological Perspectives,’ Sage Publications, November 2007

Address: Associate Professor, Health Studies Area
Administrative Staff College of India
Bellavista, Raj Bhavan Road
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh 500082


Languages: Malayalam (native), English

U.S. Travel: Washington DC, New York

Professional Background: Dr. Subodh Kandamuthan is a senior staff member at the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) in Hyderabad. As a part of ASCI’s Centre for Human Development, Dr. Kandamuthan’s research has focused on projects in Health Economics and Policy that have helped different state health departments implement policy changes in the areas of finance and procurement. His current projects include Restructuring Kerala State Planning Board and Evaluation of public private partnerships in health in Odisha and providing policy suggestions for effective social protection for single women in India. ASCI trains civil servants, defense personnel, entrepreneurs, corporate managers, and academics with the skills to synthesize managerial theory and practice and respond to the ever-increasing complexity of managerial issues confronting Indian organizations today. It also undertakes independent evaluation projects for various state governments and engaged in research and management studies through its eight specialized research centers.



Name: Mr. Neeraj KUMAR

Present Position: Managing Editor, Centre for Economic Policy and Public Finance, Asian Development Research Institute

Previous Position: Senior Copy Editor, Hindustan Times, Madhya Pradesh Editions, 2011-12

Education/Training: M.Phil., International Relations, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 2006
M.A., Political Science, Delhi University, 2004
B.A., Political Science, Banaras Hindu University, 2000

Address: ADRI, BSIDC Colony
Patliputra Road
Patna, Bihar 800013


Languages: Hindi (native), English

U.S. Travel: No previous U.S. Travel

Professional Background: In his role as Managing Editor at the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), Mr. Neeraj Kumar is closely involved with research on policy issues. In Patna in the state of Bihar, ADRI works with the Indian government and various national and international organizations on development issues, and is dedicated developing resources for literacy and education, vocational training, and broadening inter-disciplinary social science research with a focus on economic policy and public finance. ADRI contributes significantly to the government’s efforts on development and empowerment of issues.




Present Position: Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd.

Concurrent Position: Special Adviser, incoming President, Associate Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India

Previous Positions: Chief Operations Officer, Centre for Civil Society, 2013-14
Independent Director, Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship, 2013
Chief Executive Officer, World Development Forum, 2013
Consultant, Planning Commission of India, 2012
Emerging Leaders Fellow, Australia India Institute, 2012
Vice President, Reliance Capital, 2010
Senior Vice President, Marketing, Feedback Infrastructure Services, 2008
Director, Confederation of Indian Industry, 2005
Research Officer, Prime Minister’s Office, 2002
Senior Correspondent, Business World, 1997
Manager, Corporate Communications, Hinduja Group, 1996

Education/Training: Post Graduate Diploma, Business Management (equivalent to an MBA), Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, 1995
B.A., Commerce, Mumbai University, 1993

Publications: “Business of Social Responsibility,” Co-author, 1998

Address: A-502, PMO C.H.S,
C-58/20, Sector 62
Noida 201309


Languages: Hindi (native), English

U.S. Travel: No previous U.S. Travel

Professional Background: Mr. Harsh Shrivastava is Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd., where he is focused on better understanding how politics and government, people and NGOs, and business all work together. Previously he was the Chief Operations Officer at the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in New Delhi. He spent the first few years of his professional career in the corporate circuit before becoming the deputy speech writer to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. During his time with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he was a member of the team that drafted the party’s election manifesto for the 1998 and 2004 elections. He believes it is crucial for India’s political and business leadership to be guided by well-researched public policy that only independent think tanks can deliver. Mr. Shrivastava is often a guest lecturer at various Indian educational and research institutions, and regularly writes columns in national dailies on public policy issues.