We have been crying hoarse about the brain drain from India over the last five decades or more, without going in for a well set blueprint to check the counter – productive phenomenon.
Hundreds of thousands of our qualified youngsters take off for higher studies or highly lucrative jobs in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Australia etc. and prefer to settle down there attracted by the facilities and quality of life provided by these countries. When these developed countries provide higher facilities, pay packages and perks, how can we dissuade them from going abroad ?
The decades long debate on the brain drain comes to the conclusion that our youngster leave India just because excellence is neither recognized nor rewarded in India. But this could have been partly true, because things have changed beyond recognition today and talented people can reach the highest position possible if only they are prepared to work hard. Innovations and managerial skills are getting recognition when one can view with others in excellence from any part of the world. Dr. Verghese Kurien, the father of White Revolution has catapulted India to the number one position in the world in milk production. Er. E. Sreedharan has completed the Konkan railway in record time and built up the world class Delhi metro. Take the story of the Ambani brothers, the Tatas, the Birlas and others who are having their footprints in different continents. We have had so many Indians who rose to the summit of Beauty pageants as Miss Universe and Miss World. Stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Amir Khan and Shah Rukh are no more the figures of only India, rather they have made them living legends of global proportions. Sachin Tendulkar, Sania Mirza, Narain Karthikeyan, Anju Bobby George etc. in the field of sports are household names across the world today.
In the wake of globalization, India has produced a galaxy of eminent entrepreneurs in IT, biotechnology, civil aviation, steel production and the like. Just mention a field and we are already in the vanguard or moving ahead at a frenetic pace. A time may come when India would be capable of reversing the so called brain drain to India’s supreme advantage.
And happily enough, this is already started happening now. According to a report of high-tech lobbying group in 2005, the highly skilled Indian born talent that once flocked to the US was returning home, turning ‘America’s brain drain into India’s brain gain’. The report said that countries like India and China, through the restructuring of their economies, were dramatically increasing the skill sets of their work force, thereby posing a challenge to the US leadership in the technology domain.
According to Mr. Dinesh Mohann, Professor IIT, Delhi about 356 to 40 percent of graduates from IITs in Mumbai and Chennai proceed abroad for higher studies and about a quarter of them return to work in India. This is indeed a happy news and indicates that our youth is absorbed in top jobs in India itself.
National Association of Software and Service COmpanies (NASSCOM), a trade group of Indian outsourcing companies, estimates that 30,000 technology professionals have moved back in the last months. Bangalore, Hyderabad and suburbs of Delhi are becoming magnets for an influx of Indians, who are the top-earning ethnic group in the US. These cities, with their Western style work environment, generous pay cheque and quick career jumps, offer returns what, until now, they could get only in places such as Palo Alto and Boston.
Even IITs have to change with the times to accommodate the growing fields and opportunities for our youngsters, thereby, making them realize that openings at home are more attractive for them than opportunities abroad. If a highly qualified alumnus of IIT can become a successful entrepreneur, he can wield greater money power and social status within his own country, while at the same time keeping intact his family, moorings. What are the skills one needs to become a entrepreneur? Technical knowledge, business acumen and a sound understand of law and economics. Most educational institutions in India are designed to address only one or two of these areas. IIT Kanpur is now attempting to blend all these together and produce top notch entrepreneurs. IIT Powai is planning to start 14 new special course in pure science, management and economics and both IIT, Mumbai and IIT, Roorkee have picked up some unusual subjects like waste water science and technology, nano-technology, natural resources, geophysics, polymer science and pulp and paper technology to run as degree programmes from 2006 onwards.
Like our IITs our IIMs too, have earned a pride of place in our specialized learning system. Top companies are making campus selection of the bright students from these institutes and many enter such fields as operations, finance, HR, marketing and systems.
With the state of the art specialty hospitals emerging in different parts of India, patients from abroad find that complicated surgeries could be had in India at a relatively lower cost. If doctors and specialists find the going good in their own country, why go abroad? Where India can stand good in comparison with other developed countries in a variety of fields, the youth in India would find that working in their own country is more rewarding than working elsewhere in the world. And even if they go abroad to better their specialization, they would still prefer to return home and peruse a life of their own choice in India. After all a home is a home and family ties bound the Indians.