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GOPIO introspects for better prospects

A revised Constitution to suit the local environment, projects to tackle family violence, promoting greater awareness of Indian culture and heritage and better interaction with Indian organisations are among the priorities set by the new officials of a global body.

Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has lately been in the news for all the wrong reasons but a new team that has just taken charge at the national level believes that the existing issues can be solved through mutual respect and discussion among its Chapter Presidents and officials.

Rakesh Gupta, a popular Pranic Healer and community leader, who was appointed to the post of GOPIO National President at a special meeting held last month, was confident of resolving outstanding issues with officials and members through “goodwill and understanding.”

“Prominent lawyer Shobhna Golian is chairing a Sub-Committee to consider appropriate changes to the Constitution to make it more dynamic and responsive to the specific needs of the New Zealand Indian community,” he said.

Among the other members of the Sub-Committee are Harnam Golian, Virinder Aggarwal, Area Coordinator Satish Sharma and Mr Gupta.

Ms Golian said there was a need to establish better systems and procedures relating to the functioning of GOPIO, its various Chapters in New Zealand and have in place better organised systems and procedures.

She said GOPIO had done well in New Zealand but the current Constitution fell short of clear guidelines in a number of aspects, including appointment and re-appointment of office-bearers, the nomination process and the convening and conduct of AGMs.

“With an organisation such as GOPIO, we should have practical mechanisms and procedures in place that are necessary to move forward and to enable compliance in all respects,” she said.

Priority Projects

According to Mr Gupta, while Family Violence is an issue that must be tackled in conjunction with other Indian associations, the Police, Government and Non-Government Organisations, there was a need to promote greater awareness on matters relating to health.

“The Indian community is prone to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stress and other ailments. GOPIO plans to raise awareness on these issues and encourage people to visit their family doctor or a General Practitioner for regular check-up and lead healthy lives,” he said.

He said GOPIO New Zealand will also implement ‘Management in the Indian Community,’ an international project of GOPIO International.

“The main aim of GOPIO is to protect the rights of the People of Indian Origin (PIO) and to promote awareness, understanding and resolve issues of concern of Non-Resident Indian and PIO communities around the globe. We hope to involve other Indian community organisations in our projects and programmes and be proactive and responsive to the needs of our people,” Mr Gupta said.

A truly global body

India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh paid tributes to GOPIO International during an interview with this reporter in Chennai last year.

“This Organisation has proved its worth over the years and has been a great supporter of India’s policies and programmes,” he said and lauded GOPIO’s role in securing nuclear supplies to India in 2008 after lobbying with the then George W Bush Government.

Established in 1989, the Stamford, Connecticut-based organisation has been active in raising the voice of PIO in all areas of its operation.

Its initial mission was to network the global Indian community, monitor and address the interests and concerns of PIO and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

The UN has accredited GOPIO to participate in the world conference on racism.

GOPIO has the potential to grow in New Zealand.

As reported earlier, there is no single organisation in this country, which provides a common platform for Indians from many parts of the world (especially India, Fiji, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, East Africa and Zimbabwe) to work together and share a common culture and heritage.

They belong to different organisations, although claiming “allegiance to their motherland and the land of their forefathers.”

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