Migration of the Minds
Brain Drain and Reverse Brain Drain in India
Why in the news?
The Global Talent Competitive Index 2020 highlighted that India’s greatest challenge is not just to attract talent but also to retain them in the country.
But then 2020 itself saw something called reverse brain drain. Interesting, right? But let’s figure out what brain drain is, how does brain drain affect us and now that we are witnessing a reverse flow, exactly how can India benefit from that.
What is it?
Brain Drain is a colloquial term used to indicate migration of qualified and skilled personnel from their land, which is usually a lesser developed country, searching for a better and secured future. Reverse brain drain is migration from developed countries to developing ones.
What can be the possible causes?
Globalization made mobilization possible all over the world and it came to India with the 1991 reforms. We are now a liberalized economy yet we fail to benefit from it in the context of sustaining our talent.
Now we can understand this phenomenon with the help of specific terminologies from sociology known as the “Push-Pull factors”. These factors differ from country to country. The push factors being higher education, better employment and in general, a better standard of living. One such reason can be the level of freedom of expression enjoyed in western countries and freedom of identity. It relaxes a person from a lot of daily life struggles and simply minding their own business.
Unemployment in India has always been a major concern. India has witnessed something which the economist prefers calling the “jobless growth”. It suggests that our growth is not reflected in our employment rates and there has been a concentration of wealth. This is also increasing the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor. According to a report by the Centre for Economic Data and Analysis, our unemployment rate has risen to 7.11% in 2020.
The pull factors are affordable lifestyle, cheap health care and a sense of belongingness. And since no society is free from biases, we happen to hear about racist attacks daily in western counties. And in our case, usually, the push factors overpower the pull factors.
But with immigration rules changing, as in the case of H1-B visa in America, people are rethinking their decisions. Covid-19 has also brought in an economic crisis primarily due to job losses; subsequently, people turn to their family businesses.
Loss for us
A family does not just raise an individual; the state also has a role in it. Hence excellence and skill must contribute to the nation’s growth, and it becomes all the more important when the country is short of resources, and only a few can manage to excel while the rest are deprived of such changes either by luck or the so-called “merit”. An estimate by UNDP suggests that we lose ﹩2 billion every year because of the migration of just computer experts from India to the US.
Well, some regard it as a boon since these NRIs become a source of a handsome amount of remittances but the point is that these remittances are mostly spent in the form of household expenditure and not some major investment.
It can also be seen as part of the “Neo-colonialism” that the developing countries are currently going through. As we can comprehend from the term that it is a newer way to colonies the other countries by practically taking all the wealth and this time it is more about skill so “Drain of wealth” seems to have come back again.
Some also believe that Globalization is nothing but a tool to serve the developed economies since after the Second World War these countries had to give political independence to their colonies.
Our efforts can be…
Our New Education Policy can be a ray of hope since it promises desirable reforms in our education system, especially in higher education. Since it proposes to transform higher education institutes into multi-disciplinary universities. It will possibly loosen the rigid distinction of arts, science, commerce and law, etc. Our healthcare can be the reason for the reverse brain drain and open a venue for medical tourism. Newer initiatives giving a sense of security in terms of Human Rights can also be helpful.
The talent returning can be helpful in consultancy, investment, innovation and a better understanding of global markets. Tax reforms can also regenerate the manufacturing industry, whereas world-class technology can help us upgrade our machinery.
In the end, we must not forget that India is a budding economy with the advantage of Demographic Dividend and we must make every effort possible to utilize it.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri