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Brain Drain: How Can We Reverse The Trend

We must realise that brain drain for any country is like attrition in a corporate set up which is happening at relatively higher levels of the skill pyramid. Let us objectively look at ways and means of containing this.

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Apart from resident Indians, many of our fellow countrymen residing in foreign shores have also left an indelible mark in every sphere of life including space research, intellectual thought leadership, academic prowess, visionary entrepreneurship, medicine, economics, leading global corporates, etc. 

On one hand, we feel proud about their success stories but sometimes we really wonder why they couldn’t achieve the same feat in their native shore and what made them leave home to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

In a globalised economy, resources need to move freely across man-made borders to ensure optimal utilisation, and thus global employability has its own share of benefits (including foreign remittances), however the problem occurs in case of selective picking i.e. if most of the best and brightest start packing their bags for greener pastures after being educated in the coveted educational institutes which are highly subsidised with public funds.

The solution to these can’t be through any restrictive legislation but by an honest assessment of the problems and then trying to arrive at a solution in the long run which will not merely aim at reverse migration, by drumming up nationalistic sentiments but by creating better opportunities at home and systematically working towards talent retention.

What we must realise is that brain drain for any country is like attrition in a corporate set up (which seriously harms the company and make entire training investments a bottomless pit) and unfortunately, in this case, most of the attritions are happening at relatively higher levels of the skill pyramid.

Some may argue, on the contrary, stating the remittance benefit that the sending country receives, but the long term strategic losses far outweigh the meagre short term economic gains. 

Let us objectively look at ways and means of containing this to a level where this graduates to 'brain circulation' rather than a 'one-way movement' of the talent pool. The answer perhaps lies in upfront honest recognition of the issues because of which people move out and trying to solve them in medium and long run.

Political opportunism has to give way to the rule of law

A firm 'no-nonsense attitude to governance' as opposed to any kind of appeasement policy with an aim to reap in electoral benefits will ensure that fairness and meritocracy prevails so that people’s belief in the system is intact. The government has to rule without fear or favour.

Bringing in transparency and professionalism to governance

There has to be far more transparency and professionalism at every level of government dealing and the “holier than thou attitude” of the exchequer needs to be replaced by more accountability of public money and better social security net in terms of education, health care or old-age pension.

Also Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship need to be encouraged, the youth need to dream big and take risks to take the nation forward, they cannot be left to suffer in the hands of mid-level bureaucrats (most of whom have myopic world views with very little long term vision and strategic depth) who develop a cold feet when it comes to encouraging any out of the box thinking.

Recent policy announcements about promoting Start-ups and R&D is indeed a step in the right direction.

Invest heavily on public infrastructure  

Contrary to public perception, most people who immigrate to foreign shores do not do so to only earn more, in many cases they leave in search of cleaner cities, robust public infra and better quality of life that includes lesser pollution levels, free quality education, better public health care, and a safer environment to raise their kids.

The government's recent initiative to promote cleanliness is indeed a welcome initiative and if it is effectively implemented on the ground it will go a very long way to improve quality of life.

Long term national commitment to promote education  

Very often, whenever we aspire for any kind of improvement in the living conditions the only answer that we get is the huge population, the majority of whom are well below the tax net and hence making it impossible for any government to significantly improve living conditions.

Now, whether we discuss employability or better civic sense, the only long-term solution is a genuine and serious commitment to educating the masses, this may not be a very lucrative electoral investment as the returns will come only in long term.

Investing in quality education is the only way forward if we seriously want to graduate from the everlasting tag of “developing nation” to that of a 'developed nation' someday in future.

Invoke a Sense of Patriotism

We indeed live in a great country which in spite of all its limitations have surged ahead relentlessly by the aspirational force of more than a billion dreams. We should inculcate and nurture more idealism and principles in our next generation by regularly hosting cultural festivals, online competitions etc so that the youth actually understand and appreciate the fundamental values, principles, and sacrifices based on which the foundations of this great country were built and are able to appreciate and connect to our history and traditions.

We need to motivate and inspire our youth to take an ideological pledge to contribute their bit in building this great nation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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