A White Plains, N.Y.-based economist and a Houston-based critical care specialist are among 14 individuals and a Canada-based institution that received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, the highest award for a non-resident Indian conferred by the Indian government.
President Pratibha Patil Jan. 9 conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards to 14 eminent overseas Indians, including Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, and a Canada-based institution, for their outstanding contributions in enhancing India's image globally.
Pace University economics Prof. Surendra Kumar Kaushik and Kalpalatha K. Guntupalli, who practices in critical care medicine, internal medicine and pulmonary disease, were among the U.S.-based recipients of the award.
Kaushik got his B.S. in commerce from the University of Rajasthan in 1965 and a Ph.D. from Boston University in 1976. He joined Pace University as a professor of economics in 1984.
Guntupalli has 36 years of medical experience. In addition to the specialty of critical care medicine, she has expertise in four areas. This includes asthma, adult respiratory distress syndrome, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Patil lauded the achievement of the overseas Indian community.
"Indian overseas community is not only large, but is becoming increasingly influential in the economic, professional and political fields in the country in which they are now living. We are proud of their accomplishments," Patil said while addressing the valedictory function of the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here.
Bissessar is a person of Indian origin who became the first female prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
The other Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awardees include: P.V Radhakrishna Pillai from Bahrain, Sachchidanand Sahai from Cambodia, Deepak Naraindas Shivdasani from Cote d'Ivoire, Victor Shahed Smetacek from Germany, Prakash Lohia, chairman of Indorama Corporation, Jose Parayanken from Mozambique, Kiran Navinchandra Asher from Oman, Hassan Abdulkarim Chougule from Qatar, S.R. Nathan from Singapore, Khorshed Noshir Ginwala Rustomjee from South Africa and Rajesh Kumar Saraiya from Ukraine in addition to Kaushik and Kalpalatha Kummamuri Guntupalli.
The Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and Industry was also honored for its contribution in bettering business and economic relations between the two countries.