Philanthropic Indian Americans Pledge USD100 Million for Amritsar's Transformation

Indian-Americans have committed USD100 million to support startups in Amritsar. They have formed the Viksit Amritsar Initiative, inspired by former Indian envoy to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu. The initiative aims to provide mentorship and funding to entrepreneurs, focusing on job creation and economic development. The investment fund will prioritize socially and environmentally responsible startups in various sectors, including agriculture, healthcare, and technology.

PTI | Washington DC | Updated: 03-05-2024 10:46 IST | Created: 03-05-2024 10:46 IST
Philanthropic Indian Americans Pledge USD100 Million for Amritsar's Transformation
  • Country:
  • United States

A group of eminent Indian-Americans have come together to announce a commitment of USD100 million for startups towards the socio-economic development of Amritsar, the first of its kind initiative for any Indian city by the diaspora.

In collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) and the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), a group of eminent Indian-Americans and Indians living in the US had their first meeting in a Maryland suburb of Washington DC to announce the formation of Viksit Amritsar Initiative.

The mega initiative, its founding members said, is inspired by former Indian envoy to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who after an illustrious diplomatic service, including the last four years in Washington DC, has returned to his home town with the mission of helping the city develop as one of the best in the world both in terms of economic and industrial growth but also as an attractive tourist destination from across the world.

Soon after his return to India after retirement, Sandhu became the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Lok Sabha candidate from Amritsar.

He also held a conclave of eminent Indian diaspora members in the city which eminent Indian-Americans from the US attended.

US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) President Mukesh Aghi specially flew to Amritsar from the US for the day-long brainstorming session which was co-hosted along with FICCI.

Weeks later, the group gathered in a Maryland suburb of Washington and formally announced the formation of the Viksit Amritsar Initiative headed by eminent Indian American Sanjiv Lakhanpal from Amritsar.

It aims to provide the entrepreneurs in Amritsar mentorship and access to up to USD100 million to get their socially and environmentally responsible startups to succeed, a statement said on Thursday.

"We have pooled in roughly a hundred million dollars to be invested in Amritsar Startups. We have over 250 applications. We are reviewing all of them. We have more coming through. We would like to see more startups create more jobs in Amritsar, create more technology and build a whole ecosystem," Aghi told PTI.

Entrepreneurs could be in the fields of farming and agriculture, industry and commerce, skill development, information technology, health care, tourism, and home building.

"Essentially anything that allows an entrepreneur, especially women and youth to thrive in Amritsar," the statement said.

It added that all investments will be approved by VAI's investment committee made up of investors and independent advisors.

"I have a commitment from a group of up to USD100 million of investments in startups in Amritsar. We are excited about how the meeting went," said Sanjiv Lakhanpal, founder and CEO of Viksit Amritsar Initiative.

The meeting was virtually addressed by Sandhu during which he said the scope of connectivity and all-round development of Amritsar was huge.

"We are truly looking at this as our giving back; our taking care of a fraction of the debt that we all owe to Amritsar and India. That's what we are working with. We are excited that we have a partner like Ambassador Taranjit in Amritsar who we can trust as we put our resources and our efforts into Amritsar," Lakhanpal said.

"A USD100 million has been pledged to develop and invest in small startups and other projects in Amritsar to develop the city. We thank Taranjit Singh Sandhu for giving us this idea and vision," said Jasdip Singh Jessee, an eminent Indian-American Sikh leader from Maryland.

Viksit Amritsar Investments fund is to allow investments in socially responsible and fiscally viable projects that will help entrepreneurs from different fields to economically grow and develop Amritsar, the statement said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback