Washington, December 21
America’s legendary civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to promote the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr and sought a budgetary allocation of USD 150 million for the next five years.
Introduced to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi, the House Bill (HR 5517) affirms the friendship between the two largest democracies of the world and honours the legacy and contributions of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King.
Among other things, the Bill proposes establishing a Gandhi-King Development Foundation, which will be created by the USAID under the Indian laws.
The bill seeks a budgetary allocation of USD 30 million every year for the next five years to the USAID for this foundation.
The foundation would have a governing council convened by governments of the United States and India and would oversee grants to NGOs in the areas of health, pollution and climate change, education and women empowerment, the bill says.
It is being co-sponsored by six other Democratic lawmakers, three of whom are Indian-Americans--Ami Bera, Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal.
Three other Congressmen are Brenda Lawrence, Brad Sherman and James McGovern.
The bill proposes the establishment of a Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative with an allocation of USD 2 million for the next five years till 2025.
It will comprise an annual educational forum for scholars from India and the US held alternately in the two countries.
The conference will focus on the study of the works and philosophies of Gandhi and King and visits to historical sites.
It also seeks to establish a Gandhi-King global academy, which would be a professional development training initiative on conflict resolution.
The bill proposes an allocation of USD 2 million for each fiscal year from 2020 through 2025, implemented through the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).
Welcoming the introduction of the bill, India’s Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said it “reinforces the close cultural and ideological bonds” between India and the US. PTI
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