Brian Drain refers the situation when highly qualified and trained people leave a country to permanently settle in some other country. It is also referred to as Human capital flight.
Highly educated professional people immigrate to other advanced countries for better opportunities and a comfortable life style.
The problem of Brain-drain, in our age, has become very elusive. The developing countries like India are desperately in need of talents, especially in the field of science and technology but for one reason or the other the talents and fleeing their countries, leaving their native lands impoverished in the process.
Brain Drain is an extremely serious problem for a developing countries. The destiny of such countries lies in the solution to this great problem. India can be taken as an instance in point. After independence this country is engaged in difficult struggle against poverty. But struggles cannot be launched in papers; they require armies of trained personnel – the scientists, technical knowhow and specialists in the field of planned development. If, instead of contributing to the prosperity of India, the Indian scientists, research scholars, engineers, doctors and economists immigrate to other countries, it is difficult to see how India can implement her development plans and attain her goal of prosperity.
In ancient times the scholars of one country visited neighboring countries, and they often stayed there for years, both learning and teaching. The great scholars of China and Persia and other scholars from the West visited India during her prosperous days in the past and wrote memoirs which are precious materials for Indian history. But these were not considered brain drain then. For when Hiuen Tsang came to India or Shilbhadra visited Tibet, staying there for many years, their absence from their own countries did not make much difference. On the contrary, their experiences and wisdom gained from their visits enriched their countries. Such exchanges benefited the countries in those days and built a bridge of understanding and amity when communication between even the neighbours was not easy.
In the under-developed countries like India, the ambitious and highly educated people found it very difficult to climb the peak, for the obstacles were many and the bureaucratic bungling was irritating. Hence, the alarming exodus started in the fifties and in the seventies the brain-drain appeared to be complete. Hundred of talents emigrated to the U.S.A. and Europe which assured them of great opportunities for getting to the top, of secure and comfortable living, of satisfaction and of glory in their respective fields. If the emigrants could have all those assurances they would not think of fleeing their country.
But the problem is that a developing country like India could hardly afford to accommodate so many ambitious people, nor could the scope be made broad enough to secure affluence for all. Some of them, after training and experiences in foreign countries, return home with individual drams and when they fail to fit in with the evolving patterns at home, despair drives them away again.
But India needs these professionally trained people, so they should be persuaded to stay in India and be content with less lucrative jobs. When India is rich enough to reward them, they would not find much to complain about. All these people are among the fortunate few, enjoying the privilege of education, while some eighty percent of Indians languish in dark hovels – poor, ignorant and superstitious. It is they duty and responsibility of those privileged few to take them out of the morass, instead of jointing the mad rush for careerism. There may be many obstacles in their way, but their dedicated services and patriotic zeal will help them rise above them and restore to India her lost glory.
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Brain drain: Boon for developed countries, but bane for India - Brain drain has become a major concern of the developing countries, especially, India. The term, which emerged in1960s when the skilled workforce started emigrating from the poor countries to the rich countries in search of better job opportunities and living conditions, has become a hot topic of discussion over the years.
When the expatriates are going abroad in search of greener pastures, India has been losing its major skilled workforce that includes doctors, engineers, scientists and technicians. If we analyze the brain drain trends in India, we could find that there are many reasons why the country fails to hold back its talented youth. Check the reasons of brain drain to developed countries from below:
Brain Drain: Reason 1
Higher Education Scenario in India
In recent years, the cut-offs for admissions became close to 100% in the best Indian universities. While the institutes are in the race of getting the best students in the country, the ambitious youth who fail to meet the “irrational” demands had to compromise on their dream of occupying a seat in any of the prestigious Indian universities. This leads them to explore the scope of higher education abroad. Most of the students who try their luck in higher studies abroad get into good universities as they have an edge over the students from other countries in terms of skills and knowledge.
While this is the case of young students, the academically well qualified people prefer going abroad for higher research because they don’t get the best chances, resources and facilities for research in India.
A recent study conducted by Indian Institute of Management- Bangalore (IIM-B) shows that the students going for higher studies abroad has increased by 256% in the last 10 years. When 53,000 Indian students went abroad for higher studies in 2000, the figure shot up to 1.9 lakh in 2010.
The US is the most sought after destination for students, followed by the United Kingdom. There are many Indian students exploring study opportunities in countries like Australia, Germany and France as well.
Brain Drain - Country-wise data on the number of students going abroad for higher studies
Students going abroad (per year)
Republic of Korea
Source: UNESCO’s Report- Global Education Digest, 2009
A report by Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) pointed out that when a large number of students flocking to foreign universities, it costs India a whopping Rs. 95,000 crores per year.
The report further noted that there is a huge difference in the fees paid by students studying in the premier institutes in India as compared to students who study aboard. While an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) student has to pay an average fee of $150 per month, the fee paid by an Indian student studying abroad per month is anywhere between $1,500 and $4,000.
Still, it is a matter of concern that despite the highly subsidized rate of higher education, especially in engineering and management, India fails miserably in attracting the best brains.
Brain Drain: Reason 2
Better opportunities abroad
Most of the students prefer staying back in the host country due to better work opportunities and fat pay packages. After getting good global exposure and getting introduced to the high quality life and facilities, the students become reluctant to return to the home country.
These days, most of the developed countries act like organizations. When they fail to find good, talented and skilled workers in their country, they attract the highly skilled and qualified people from other countries. It’s very obvious that the skilled Indians prefer US Green Cards and EU Blue Cards over the not-so-attractive pay checks and average living conditions of a developing country like India.
Here, India is the loser and developed countries like the US and UK are gainers.
Brain Drain: Reason 3
Time for a reality check?
Over the years, India has become a major supplier of skilled and talented young people to the Western countries, particularly European Union. The major destinations for Indians in the EU in the beginning of the century were limited to the UK, Germany, Italy, Austria and Spain. But now, more and more Indians are immigrating to countries like Poland, France, Ireland and Sweden. A good number of these immigrants reach the host countries as students.
Comparison between first residence permits issued to Indians and total number of issues in EU in 2009 and 2010
Highly Skilled Workers
Other Economic Reasons
Source: Population Database – Eurostat
While 5,615 permits issued by the UK for Indians were for highly skilled workers, Italy issued 3,479 permits for Indian seasonal workers. These highly skilled migrants and seasonal workers become permanent residents of the host countries as the long term socio-economic benefits lure them.
Brain Drain: Reason 4
Wake up call for India
The increasing trend of brain drain of the skilled workers finally persuaded the government to take action. After witnessing a huge brain drain of doctors (among the 3,000 medical students went abroad in last three years, none returned), the health ministry has suspended issuing “no obligation to return certificates” to the medical students going abroad for higher studies.
Further, from 2015 onwards, the medical students going to the US for higher studies will have to sign a bond with the government, promising to return to India after completing his / her studies. If the student doesn’t fulfil the bond obligation, the ministry can write to the US and the permission for the student to practice in the country will be denied.
While India is putting the best foot forward to curb brain drain, there are signs of reverse brain drain where a few best brains are returning to India. With better economic policies and the human capital to execute them, there is still hope for India.
Be realistic while applying to study abroad: Kanika Marwah, University Options
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