Victoria wants India’s tariff on lentils removed


By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE,19 March: Thirty percent Indian tariffs on chickpea and lentils imposed in January this year and later increased to 60 % are hurting farmers in Victoria and Australia. The issue came up during an update the Victorian Minister for Trade and Investment Hon. Philip Dalidakis gave today relating to his recent visit to India and Sri Lanka at the Victoria Investment Centre.

Talking to SAT, the Minister said,” The issue of tariffs was not raised at the political level but I have asked our High Commissioner in New Delhi to deal with the issue.”

Addressing a select gathering of business and community persons the Minister said “There are huge opportunities for Australia in India. We want to look and grab all the opportunities”

In an obvious indirect reference to Indian tariffs on chickpea and lentils, the Minister said, “Trade is not one way. It is two ways.”


The Minister welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to introduce a new entrepreneur visa which he said will help in business and trade.

The gathering was also addressed by President Australia India Business Council (AIBC), Sheba Nandkeolyar. She explained the role played by the different chapters of AIBC in enhancing business ties between the two countries.

Rashi Kapoor, President AIBC also addressed those gathered and thanked them for attending the event.

Education partnerships the way to go forward between Australia & India: Sheba Nandkeolyar

Photo: SAT/NN.

By SAT News Desk

Melbourne, 28 November: India and Australia have much in common but partnerships in the education sector are the ones where going forward is the way. This was the opinion of Sheba Nandkeolyar, National Chair Australia India Business Council & founder MultiConnexions. She was addressing a panel discussion on “Connecting Australia & India Through Education Partnerships” at the Indian Consulate, Melbourne, organized by the Indian Consulate and the Women in Business Chapter (WIB) of the AIBC Victoria.

Sheba set the tone for the discussion emphasizing concentrate on the education ties between the two countries while detailing other aspects of the emerging engagement between the world’s biggest democracy and Australia.

A message from the Indian Consul Manika Jain was read out by Mr. Malhotra and Anushka introduced the subject. Rebecca Abharam, student conducted the panel consisting of Jane den Hollander, Vice Chancellor – Deakin University, Jaffa Mckenzie – Senior Market Development Advisor, Victorian Government, and Julia Evans – Project Manager – Project Manager – Australia Academy of the Humanities & Co-Author of the Australia’s Diaspora Advantage report.

There was a lively discussion and it was felt more placements is not the solution, Indian students generally want to settle in Australia, we are two different cultures but still Indian international students are extraordinarily successful. Placement for those going back to India after completing studies here are good and the Indian government has its own pathway with qualifications. It was agreed education partnerships are not just enough and it means jobs also.

The panel discussion was wrapped up and all participants and panelists thanked by Molina Asthana.

Abbott meets AIBC leaders

Photo shows Sheba Nandkeolyar – National Vice Chair Australia India Business Council, Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and Dipen Rughani – National Chair Australia India Business Council. Photo: PM Office

By Neeraj Nanda

Melbourne, 29 August : A delegation of Australia India Business Council (AIBC) consisting of Sheba Nandkeolyar – National Vice Chair and Dipen Rughani – National Chair today met the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and presented him a copy of the White Paper – Australia India Trade Relationship – Past, Present and Future, jointly prepared by the Australia India Business Council and the Australia India Institute.

The White Paper presented to Prime Minister Abbott before his visit to India starting 4th September next month, says that there was an urgent need to reverse the declining trade with India which dropped by over 26 per cent between 2009 to 2013, sketches a blueprint for the federal government to take the bilateral relations to a higher level.

The paper says that despite improvements in political and strategic fronts, trade relations were declining and if steps were not taken to correct both nations would stand to lose.

Talking to SAT by phone from Sydney, Dipen Rughani said the Prime Minister was ‘very much looking forward to meeting India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

” Tony Abbott will be the first foreign Prime Minister to meet Modi in New Delhi after he took over as India’s PM”, he said.

The White Paper is embargoed for publication till Tony Abbott returns back home on 7th September.

- SAT News Service

Ashoka Award 2014 for Louise Asher & Amitabh Mattoo


By our reporter

Melbourne, 30 May : Victoria Minister Louise Asher, the Minister for Trade, Employment, Tourism and Major events and on Australia India Institute (AII) inaugural director Amitabh Mattoo were awarded the Australia India Business Council’s (AIBC) 2014 Ashoka Award for their contributions to India-Australia relationship.
The Awards were presented to Minister Asher and Prof Mattoo at a glittering function at the RACV Club attended by the Victorian Governor Mr.Alex Chernov and several Australian and Indian dignitaries. The event was also attended by a large number of prominent guests from businesses, government, media and the community.
The 2014 Ashoka Award is the third in the series that was started in 2012 by the AIBC President Mr. Ravi Bhatia and the Ashoka Award Committee. Prof Mattoo is the first Indian-origin person to receive the award.
Receiving the 2014 Ashoka Award from the Indian High Commissioner Mr. Biren Nanda, Minister Asher said the Victorian government has been working on a four-point engagement programme for building ties with India which included enhancing understanding between the two sides through cultural and student exchange programmes and also building strategic, trade and investment relations.
Minister Asher said that since 2011, she has been on trade missions to India six times from which “the reported exports were recorded at over USD 653 million dollars”.
Prof Mattoo, while thanking Dr Ravi Bhatia for the award, said though relations between Australia and India have improved and grown over past few years, there was still a big scope to further strengthen it.
Speaking on the occasion, the Indian High Commissioner, Mr. Nanda said the new Indian government has been assertive about trade and investment which Australia should see as a unique opportunity to build future relations.
“Because of it having its own majority in Parliament the present government will have greater ease in pulling its agenda but there might also be hurdles in fulfilling the many expectations,” Mr. Nanda said.
Dr Ravi Bhatia said that, quite coincidentally, the evening turned out by a celebration not only for Ashoka Award but also for the elections in India that have conclusively demonstrated the strengths of a democratic city. He said that the strong mandate given to Mr Modi had invigorated the nation for rapid economic growth and opportunities.

- SAT News Service.

Ravi Bhatia gets Hon. Doctorate from Swinburne Univ.


By our community reporter

Melbourne: Mr. Ravi Bhatia, President of the Australia India Business Council (AIBC) Victoria has been honored by the Swinburne Institute of Technology, Melbourne with an Hon. Doctorate in Technology (Doctor of Technology).

The honorary Doctorate was given on 20th December, 2013 during the Convocation of the university, Mr. Bhatia told SAT.


The citation printed in the Graduation Ceremony Program and read by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Linda Kristjanson, at the ceremony said:

“Ravi has contributed significantly to the use of high technology in Australia through founding of Primus Australia and served as its CEO till July 2011. He developed Primus Australia from the beginning into a highly successful and profitable facilities based telecommunications carrier generating over A$500m in annual revenue through organic
growth and acquisitions. Primus became the fourth largest telecommunications carrier and the third largest ISP in an environment of dominance by Telstra.”

“Ravi played a key role in development of a competitive telecommunications industry and Australia-US free-trade agreement as well as interaction with USTR and FCC which are agencies of the United States Government.”

“Ravi led the development and commercial deployment of Australia’s first copper-based DSL broadband services. More recently, he was responsible for roll out of first release NBN sites in Tasmania and NSW. He also pioneered the development of bypass and override codes to introduce competition in Australia’s international telecommunications.”

“He was responsible for development and deployment of indexable and searchable voice order recording systems that contributed significant increase in productivity in the industry. Earlier, he pioneered the use of inverse multiplexing to improve utilization efficiency of international cable bandwidth for internet.”

Mr. Ravi Bhatia founded the Primus Australia and retired as its CEO in 2011. He has held senior management positions in the US, Germany and other countries with Primus, MCI, OTC and Siemens in sales, marketing and public policy. Ravi is a member of the Board of the Alfred Foundation and the President of Australia India Business Council – Victoria.

- SAT News Service