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Brain drain - a great loss to India
Everyone has heard about brain drain which means a loss to the nation of highly skilled professionals through emigration to developed countries.

Sometime back, another term namely 'brain gain' was familiarised with the country's reputation improving at the global level after over 1,000 Indian scientists working abroad returned to India in a span of two to three years. They felt that India was changing and they could fulfill their ambitions here also with the availability of better opportunities. From brain drain, the scenario changed to brain gain.

Another concept of 'brain circulation' – a movement of skilled talent in a way that the migration is beneficial for both the countries, that is for the destination country and for the country of origin as well – has also become highly discussed.

India witnessed a large scale brain drain from the 1970's to 1980's. But starting from 1990's, the situation reversed and India saw the return of highly skilled emigrants and them immensely contributing to India's development. As of 2017, over 30 million Indians are living abroad.

In fact, Non-resident Indians (NRIs) help to transfer advanced technology, knowledge and the best practices of education from the country they are residing in. At the same time, a part of India's success can be attributed to the Indian Diaspora which contributes in terms of knowledge and financial investments in India.

We cannot deny the fact that the development of Information Technology (IT) sector in India has contributions from Indians who returned from abroad.

It is estimated that approximately 80,000 NRIs have returned back to India in the last two years. Some of them established their own firms and created lots of jobs. Still more than 30 million Indians are settled in foreign lands; mainly in Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, Kuwait, Oman, Nepal, Singapore, UK, Australia, Canada, UK; out of which around 10 million are Non-Resident Indians and over 17.5 million are Persons of Indian Origin (PIO).

India is amongst the top countries that get large amounts of remittances from its citizens living in foreign countries.

No doubt, in India, opportunities for highly educated professionals are now improved tremendously and many graduates and post-graduates prefer to work in India.

But still, during the current academic session, it has been observed that admissions in all the institutions – industrial training institutes, polytechnic colleges, degree colleges and engineering colleges – have been far too less than their in-take capacities.

Now the question is, as to where the pass-outs from the schools are going? A closer look at the data of IELTS institutes running with over capacity batches, clearly indicates that the youth of India is interested in going abroad for studying and earning side-by-side by taking up part-time jobs.

On the other hand, India being one of the fastest developing countries in the world is doing its best as a pull factor for Non-Resident Indians. India has been celebrating 'Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas' from 2002 and is connecting to the Indian Diaspora all over the world. By this way, the Indian government is encouraging NRIs to contribute to the India's development.

Besides this, the Indian government has eased regulations for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) for NRIs. India has been issuing OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) cards to Persons of Indian Origin, making legal formalities easier for them while returning back or making investments in India.

Indian government is also planning to allocate short-term research projects to Indian scientists and technocrats living abroad to utilise their knowledge. These projects are about solving local problems. To connect to young overseas' citizens of India, Indian government has launched the 'Know India' programme.

Situation in other countries vis-a-vis India

While many countries like 'South Korea' and 'Taiwan' are reaping the benefits of brain gain, underdeveloped countries are at a disadvantage because most of their emigrants are unwilling to return to their home countries.

India has indeed been able to turn 'brain drain' into 'brain gain', but we have a long way to go. We cannot expect NRIs to sacrifice their better lives for the sake of developing their home country. There are people who do that for sure. But not all will do that and we have look into the push factors first..

India should be able to attract the best talent from all over the world by eliminating perennial problems like corruption, nepotism, red-tapism etc. Till then, India may not be able to transform brain drain into brain gain to full extent.

No doubt, difficulty in obtaining long-term work visas and slow economic growth of developed countries is also helping India in terms of brain gain but how long will this go on!

Talking about the negative side, still there is a large pay gap. India offers lesser salaries to highly skilled professionals when compared to developed countries. Still emigration of trained professionals is high in India.

Favorable policies in developed countries are attracting talented Indians. India is not giving enough competition to attract them.

Still, I hold good that India is producing engineers without making arrangements for their consumption in the market whereas the need of the hour is of skilled-workers. Such a workforce can be prepared only by giving training in short-term vocational courses so that they are consumed in the industrial and manufacturing units.

At the same time, the youth are frustrated with the existing set-up and the factors responsible are –lack of guidance and poor job opportunities at home. These factors are chiefly responsible for inclination of the youth towards IELTS institutes and going abroad.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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