Every once in a while we hear about how the brain drain affects India and takes away the intellectual capital from the country. The United Nations Development Programme estimates that each year India loses out on $ 2 billion because of the emigration of computer scientists to the US. It also loses out on $ 10 billion in foreign exchange outflow due to students travelling abroad for higher education. Almost every year there seems to be a prediction that there is brain drain or reverse brain drain occurring.
People leave and return for many reasons. Usually the market forces, better job opportunities, and better quality of life drive them. For students/ academics it could be due to better research opportunities, better intellectual dialogue and better facilities. Whichever country provides these sources will appeal to the masses and this regulates the flow of human capital .
Against - There are two schools of thought when it comes the debate what the brain drain means for India. The first is that the brain drain impacts India negatively by taking away knowledge sources and in turn causing the human capital flight. The belief is that brain drain takes away the people from the country who could benefit it by staying and working in India.
For - The other school of thought and one that the Indian government subscribes to is that the Brain drain actually benefits the country. The people who leave in search of better job prospects and opportunities send the money that they earn back to India. Furthermore, they gain new experiences and learn more and when they return to India they bring back more knowledge than they left with !
Opinion - I personally am a bit sceptical about the second school of thought. If the Indian government worked hard to keep its intellectual capital in the country by providing better opportunities it would benefit the country more. More research, better jobs, more industries would be created. It would also mean that people could work at improving the infrastructure of the country (which is sorely lacking at the moment.) The knowledge that they say is gained through experience in other countries can still be in place through educational, research and business exchanges.
Bottom Line- India is doing really well economically, and though the popular saying states that ‘money makes the world go round’. There is more to a nation’s development than economics. I believe that a country will only have sustainable development if it manages to retain its intellectual capital.
What do you think?
Written By Ila Bharatan