Skill Spill

The subject of Brain Drain revolves around various issues. In general, it can be described as a phenomenon whereby people possessing specialized skills or knowledge, or both, immigrate to foreign countries where they are offered prospects of a better livelihood. They leave their respective countries for several reasons; political instability, unequal opportunity, inadequate development etc. Hence, the country where they acquired this technical knowledge does not gain from their emigration, as these people consciously make a decision to render their services to the country in which they decide to reside.

On the contrary, the phenomenon wherein the country which benefits from the knowledge and skills of the immigrants, is known as Brain Gain. Brain Drain commonly occurs in developing nations like Africa and Asia. It can be prevented by providing scope for personal enhancement and upward mobility to the people who have the knowledge and skills to serve their country. There is a general tendency to opt for immigration to America and Europe. However, in recent times, people have also been settling in places like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. Immigration laws have become more stringent in order to mitigate the harmful effects of a steadily rising population.

Speaking of its effects in India, there are two ways of observing the situation. The first, several trained professionals study abroad and pursue fulfilling careers over there. Secondly, the absence of professionals in India provides opportunities to those who wish to shine in their fields. Perhaps this is why India has benefited from the effects of Brain Drain, unlike many other countries that have been severely affected by it. As per the Economist: “Indian students had little reason to learn computer coding before there was a software industry to employ them. But such an industry could not take root without computer engineers to man it. The dream of a job in Silicon Valley, however, was enough to lure many of India’s bright young things into coding, and that was enough to hatch an indigenous software industry where none existed before.” Students took up the study of Computer Engineering with great zeal. While getting a job in Silicon Valley was a- dream- come- true for several Indians, the Indian IT industry boomed as well. E.g. Bangalore is known as the IT city of India. However, the Indian IT industry, I believe, developed for other reasons as well; such as the need to improvise on satellite and computer technology, for weather forecasting, agriculture etc.

Statistics provide that the Brain Drain in India represents only about 4.3% of the Graduate population. On the flipside, Guyana experiences almost 90% Brain Drain of their educated population. India’s situation cannot be compared to that of other countries; there are several reasons that distinguish it from rest of the world. It is a country consisting of people belonging to diverse backgrounds; therefore, the issue of Brain Drain in India should be studied in its totality. While several people take the decision to immigrate to foreign countries, there are a large number of educated people who continue to work in India as well. India has the potential to become a super power because of its strong economy and vast population. People may differ in their views regarding the effects of brain drain and methods of preventing it; while some think it is a problem, others feel that it is a solution to a problem.

A reverse phenomenon has been taking place since the last few years. Many professionals who chose to work abroad are now coming back to India due to the advancement of technology and prospects offered here. In fact, high ranking officials in the fields of banking, engineering, insurance and retail, are increasingly coming back to India; a rapidly growing economy. Several students as well, after studying abroad, find work here to serve their country from the knowledge they acquire in foreign universities. Several organizations recruit professionals with foreign experience, as it is believed that they possess the requisite skills to bring laurels to their respective industries.

It is very difficult to conclude whether brain drain is a gain or loss to the country, as we are sometimes able to strike a balance between its pros and cons. However, in order to fulfil the dream of ‘India Shining’, we need to be patriotic and proud of our country; willing to serve the country where were given the freedom to learn, explore and express.

Aditi Ghosh

[Image courtesy:]