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Most preferred destination of Tamil diaspora is Singapore

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image source: www.ijassingapore.com

By Sanu George

Thiruvananthapuram: A study has revealed that 410,000 of the 2.2 million Tamil diaspora were residing in Singapore in 2015, hence, Singapore has emerged as the most preferred destination among NRIs from Tamil Nadu.

Coordinated by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) here, the survey of 20,000 households across Tamil Nadu was commissioned by the Non-Resident Tamils (NRT) Welfare Board under the state’s Commissioner of Rehabilitation.

After Singapore, the largest number of Tamil Nadu diaspora is settled in the Gulf region with both the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia accounting for 400,000 and 350,000 people respectively. The US, with 300,000, and Malaysia, with 190,000, are the other top countries that Tamil emigrants preferred.

Speaking to reporters, S. Irudayarajan of the CDS, who coordinated the study, said the Gulf region (the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait) accounts for 1.1 million Tamil emigrants, half of the total emigrants from Tamil Nadu.

“One difference with the Kerala diaspora is that 2.1 million or 86 percent of Kerala emigrants are in the Gulf. In other words, 50 percent of the Tamil diaspora is in Southeast Asia, the US and other countries, the rest of the 50 percent is in the Middle East,” said Irudayarajan.

The total remittances to Tamil Nadu in 2015 were estimated at Rs.61,843 crore (over $9 billion), while Kerala’s remittances were much higher at Rs.68,000 crore.

At Rs.61,843 crore, this translates to an average per capita remittance of Rs.8,500, given that Tamil Nadu’s population is 72 million.

For Kerala, the per capita remittance was Rs.21,000 in 2014.

According to the study, the remittances to Tamil Nadu are equivalent to 14 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.

The remittances were 6.8 times what the state received from the central government as revenue transfer and 1.8 times the entire government expenditure.

“In other words, 85 percent of the households received remittances for their day-to-day needs. Another major share was used for the child education. About 31 percent of the households deposited the remittances into banks as savings,” Irudayarajan said.

“About seven percent of the households in Tamil Nadu used money for purchasing or building a house,” Irudayarajan said, adding the study report has now been handed over to the Tamil Nadu government.

The study found the emigration is a phenomenon observed throughout Tamil Nadu with Chennai (320,000), Coimbatore (190,000) and Ramanathapuram (140,000) districts with the largest number of emigrants. Theni (13,802), Dharmapuri (14,594) and Nilgiris (5,868) districts are ranked the lowest.

According to the TMS, the return emigrants in Tamil Nadu are estimated to be 1.3 million with 6.1 return emigrants per 100 households. (IANS)

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Halimah Yacob is Singapore’s First Woman President, Elected Without a Vote

"I am a President for everyone," said the newly elected Halimah Yacob, whose post is more representative than executive

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Halimah Yacob
Halimah Yacob who was the only candidate to get eligibility certificate, is now set to be Singapore's next President Wikimedia

Singapore, September 13, 2017 : Halimah Yacob became on Wednesday the first woman President of Singapore, being the only candidate who met the requirements for the presidential elections.

However, Yacob’s selection was overshadowed by criticism that it was undemocratic to give her the top post without a vote. Halimah Yacob, a 63-year-old Muslim of Malay descent, will take her oath of office on Thursday in a ceremony due to be held in Istana, the presidential residence and office, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s office said.

Yacob was the only presidential hopeful among three potential candidates to qualify for the post. This year’s election was reserved for Malay candidates. Two other contenders, businessmen Mohamed Salleh Marican and Farid Khan, did not meet one of the minimum requirements to run, Channel NewsAsia reported.

Yacob, accompanied by her husband and greeted by about 750 supporters, spoke outside the People’s Association building and called for unity in a speech delivered in English and Malay.

“We need every Singaporean to stand together shoulder to shoulder … we have not reached the peak yet and the best is yet to come,” Yacob said, urging citizens to “focus on the similarities that we have and not on the differences.”

In 2016, Singapore’s Parliament approved a constitutional reform which stipulated that the presidential elections would be reserved for one of the ethnicities of the multicultural city-state if no candidate from this group has occupied the post in the previous 30 years.

“I am a President for everyone,” said Halimah Yacob, whose post is more representative than executive.

Yacob was born in 1954 to a Muslim Indian-origin father and a Malay mother.

The mother of five started her political career with the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has been governing the country since 1959, and entered the Parliament in 2001.

She secured her first portfolio in 2011, as State Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports, and became the Speaker of Parliament in 2013.

In August 2017, Halimah Yacob stepped down as Speaker and resigned from the PAP to be able to run for President. (IANS)

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JY Pillay: Indian Origin Civil Servant Appointed as the Acting President of Singapore

As CPA Chairman since 2005, Pillay has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip

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Acting President of Singapore
JY Pillay. Youtube
  • JY Pillay has been appointed as the acting President of Singapore
  • Pillay, also the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, is a veteran civil servant of Indian Origin
  • The Singapore polls take place on 23rd September

September 2, 2017: Indian-origin veteran civil servant JY Pillay on Friday took over as Singapore’s acting President until a new head of the state is elected later this month.

The temporary appointment of Pillay, Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA), follows the completion of President Tony Tan Keng Yam’s six-year term on Thursday, the Strait Times reported.

The nomination day for the Presidential election is September 13, followed by polling day on September 23.

According to the report, when the office of President is vacant, the first in line to exercise its powers is the CPA Chairman, followed by the Speaker of Parliament. This is the first time the office has fallen vacant since the elected presidency was introduced in 1991.

Pillay is no stranger to exercising the powers of the President. As CPA Chairman since 2005, he has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip. He acted as President in May, when Tan made state visits to Europe.

He has served more than 60 such “stints”– the longest of which was 16 days in April and May of 2007 when then President SR Nathan visited Africa. (IANS)


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‘Vanakkam!’ Tweets Canadian PM: Justin Trudeau Joins over 200,000 People at the Biggest Tamil Diaspora Festival in Toronto

According to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, the Tamil community has enriched Canadian multicultural society in a short period since its first arrival in large numbers in the 1980s

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Tamil Fest
Justin Trudeau attended the Tamil Fest organized in Toronto. Wikimedia
  • A Tamil Fest was organized in Toronto to celebrate Tamil culture, cuisine, and heritage.
  • The festival was also attended by Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
  • The month of January has been officially declared as Tamil Heritage Month in Canada.

Toronto, August 29, 2017:  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined over 200,000 people here at the biggest Tamil diaspora festival that showcased Tamil culture, heritage, and cuisine.

Toronto’s Markham Road turned into a little Tamil nation on the occasion as hundreds of vends came up to treat visitors to rare tropical Tamil cuisine, displaying cultural items and offering rare glimpses into Tamil way of life.

Some rare forms of Tamil dances were also performed.

“People generally associate Tamil dance with bharatnatyam. But there are over 50 old forms of Tamil dance which very few know. These were showcased here for our future Tamil generation and Canadians,” said Canadian Tamil Congress spokesperson David Poopalapillai.

A big attraction at the festival was one the two lifeboats in which first Tamil refugees (numbering 155) fleeing the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict had reached Canadian shores in August 1986.

It was the first time after 1912 that Canada accepted boat refugees who happened to be Tamils, Poopalapillai said.

“These refugees had reached Germany from Sri Lanka. From Germany, they took a ship, but were dumped in the ocean in two lifeboats to fend for themselves. Luckily, they drifted into Canadian waters off Newfoundland and were saved by Canadian fishermen,” said the Tamil spokesperson.

The Canadian Prime Minister posed with some of those who were on the two lifeboats.

Trudeau said Canada consistently raised its voice in support of Tamils during the ethnic war in Sri Lanka. Though the conflict has ended, he said, the long-term solution to Tamil grievances is yet to be reached.

He said the Tamil community has enriched Canadian multicultural society in a short period since its first arrival in large numbers in the 1980s.

In recognition of this contribution, Trudeau said amid applause, his government has declared January as Tamil Heritage Month in Canada.

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Numbering about 350,000, Tamils are one of the youngest and fastest growing communities in Canada, with their major concentration centred around the Greater Toronto Area. (IANS)