Updated: December 21, 2019 10:48:19 am
A bill has been introduced in the US House of Representatives to promote the legacy of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Introducing the bill, America’s legendary civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis sought a budgetary allocation of $150 million for the next five years, which is $30 million every year.
The House Bill (HR 5517), which has also been moved to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, affirms the friendship between India and the US and honours the contributions of Gandhi and King.
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. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has supported the bill.
The Bill also proposes establishing a Gandhi-King Development Foundation, which will be created by the USAID under the Indian laws. It is being co-sponsored by six other Democratic lawmakers, three of whom are Indian Americans — Dr Ami Bera, Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal. Three other Congressmen are Brenda Lawrence, Brad Sherman and James McGovern.
According to the bill, a governing council convened by governments of the United States and India would oversee grants to NGOs in the areas of health, pollution and climate change, education and women empowerment.
Proposing the establishment of a Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative with an allocation of $2 million for the next five years till 2025, the bill will comprise an annual educational forum for scholars from India and the US held alternately in the two countries. The focus will also be on the study of the works and philosophies of Gandhi and King and visits to historical sites.
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