Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently tweeted about the US President Barack Obama’s acceptance to grace the nation’s 2015 Republic Day Parade. However, if recent reports are anything but true, Modi may have gone ahead and invited his biggest competitor in the race for Human capital aka global talent.
India’s Brain Drain effect is not something new. It has existed for years and still continues to exist today. However, what Modi would need to worry about is how the recent relaxations in US immigration policies will fuel the effect even more.
It has been 24 years since India’s economic reform. However, studies indicate that even today, a lot of talented Indians wish to get jobs and settle down in the US which is considered as the highest among the significant economics in the world.
India not only loses its talented researchers, scientists, doctors and engineers to the US. It also loses a lot of skilled workers in the mid-level segment, including labourers, technicians, nurses, academics, economists and even journalists on a continuous basis. It’s not just the US who seems to brain drain India. These individuals tend to settle down in the UK, EU, and West/Southeast Asia as well.
The direct impact of this brain drain is India’s increasing need to import labour for high tech projects from China. It also forces the country to relax its own PIO/OCI regulations so that multinational companies can send back their Indian executives to start branches here.
Many debate that the original brain drain in India started way back in 1965 when the US relaxed its immigration laws. This was four years after the nation’s first IIM centre sprang up and nine years after the first IIT was set up. The sustained Brain Drain effect experienced since then also tends to point out the myriad reasons why India remains a less preferred destination to study and work.
One of the main reasons can be attributed to college admissions where potentially skilled students are forced to choose between substandard local universities and overseas education owing to ridiculous cut-off marks. Another reason can be skills training, an area where the Indian government readily plays spoilsport. Not to forget mentioning the substandard quality of life in urban India, which makes a foreign destination all the more lucrative.
Modi as well as every other politician before him had ample understanding of India’s Brain Drain. This could probably be the reason behind the Swachh Bharat and other similar campaigns that are aimed at improving the quality of life in India. Obama’s move to relax the immigration laws would therefore, dismay Republicans and be a major cause for concern for his Indian host as well.
US President Barack Obama’s move to relax immigration laws may spell trouble for India, which is fervently trying to reverse the nation’s brain drain effect. Modi has a lot to do before raising India’s standard of living to match global standards if he wants to halt brain drain.