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Reverse brain-drain, destination India

Author: ResearchFox

Last Saturday evening, one of my close friends received a call from his cousin aiming to pursue his master’s in business management while we were in sound mood of discussing the recent success of “2 States”- the recent Bollywood super-hit. What I derived from his one way conversation over the phone (though I assume that there were heated arguments from the other side) is that the young lad was desperate enough to live the American dream and my dear friend was awfully against his idea. What I ended up doing is leaving him alone in between his bad mood and myself heading towards home.

As next day was a bright summer Sunday; I did not dare to move out from my room and spent the evening researching about the inclination people from developing nations have towards going West. With my Googling skills, what I found was a terminology: Reverse brain drain. Though it is not something we have not heard about but, it is now that we have suddenly become aware of.

Recently, I read an interview about an Indian co-founder of a broking firm where he narrates about his return from USA in 2008. People around him have been asking awful questions about his move to India since then. But gracefully, he describes as to how he realised the true beauty of his motherland after having lived in four different countries with eight homes and managing to speak four languages.

Now the question arises as to what made people like him get back to India?

In the late 90’s (or by the start of the new millennium), the country saw young talented IT students and professionals heading towards the west in search of better opportunities. But soon after the dot-com bubble had BURST and the 2008 global meltdown had taken away enough jobs, there were flights landing in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore from the Bay area carrying back a section of the Indian crowd back to its land. May be the “honeymoon” period was over.

But certainly it was a blessing in disguise. All these people now had experience, exposure and understanding of the global economy which they could implement in the work. As per one of the studies published by Harvard Law School suggests:

  • Around 10% of the Indians that was surveyed held senior positions in United States, but 44% found jobs at the same level in India
  • 61% of the Indians found better opportunities for professional advancement in India than in US
  • A lot of them found better opportunities to start their own business in India than in USA
  • 79% of them were motivated to come back due to increase in demand for their skills in India
  • Just 6% of the Indian students surveyed preferred to stay back in US permanently
  • 86% respondents felt that Indian economy is soon to have the best days ahead
  • 53% of the people surveyed hoped to start their business  in India

One another reason as to why NRIs (Non Resident Indian) planned to return back to the country was the strict Visa norms. They were unable to get their spouses, parents and relatives visas abroad. Students on F1 visa were not allowed to get into entrepreneurship due to laws that forbid them to be self-employed.

It is not that India offers better career development only but the nation also provides few of the modern western comforts: gated community and individual villas, multispecialty hospitals, shopping malls, continental restaurants and coffee lounges. Recruitment consultancy firm Kelly Services India expects that by 2015 India would see the return of nearly 3,00, 000 NRIs.

With no doubt, there is certainly a huge section of the Indian mass residing on foreign turf and who would like continue residing there. A lot of these people who had spent their childhood in smaller towns and villages of India running behind the basic amenities of life like water, electricity and sanitation; bare not to visit India for the image instilled in their minds. One cannot blame them for lack of optimism about India though; life has changed drastically in the country over the last one decade.

With higher single digit GDP growth numbers, it is one of the nations which the world looks forward for opportunities. The return of the best Indian talent back to its homeland is the most significant factor that country can opt for. There are indeed opportunities in the country but they need to be recognized and acted upon skilfully. We can only hope for things to fall in place and look forward for a better shinning India.

(Note: We here refer to India).

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