Congressman John Lewis has introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives to promote the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr and sought a budgetary allocation of $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 legacies and contributions of Gandhi and King.
The bill proposes establishing a Gandhi-King Development Foundation, which will be created by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Indian laws.
The bill seeks a budgetary allocation of $30 million every year for the next five years to the USAID for this foundation. This foundation would have a governing council convened by governments of the US 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.
The bill proposes the establishment of a Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative with an allocation of $2 million for the next five years till 2025.
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.
There are two other resolutions on Gandhi pending in the Congress - one by Senators Bob Menendez and Ted Cruz in the Senate and other by several other lawmakers led by Congressman Raja Kishnamoorthi in the House of Representatives.
"Mohandas Gandhi, who employed the principle of satyagraha or fighting with peace, has come to represent the moral force inspiring many civil and social rights movement around the world," the bill notes.