Migration has been a constant ever since humans were hunter-gatherers. Then the communities migrated in search of greener pastures and for reasons linked to survival due to existential threats.
In modern times, existential threats are no longer a reason for migration. Greener pastures, however, still are. Though now, the term is used as a metaphor.
In this article, let us look at the reasons that are accelerating the brain drain from India.
Why do Indians Migrate?
The linguistic prowess of Indians, their grit and determination to succeed and their solid work ethics are a source of attraction for countries looking for skilled workers to supplement their own.
Also, when meaningful opportunities dry up, the skilled Indian engineers, doctors, scientists, and other experienced professionals find it almost impossible to gain suitable employment.
Hence, these talented people become ripe for the plucking by nations aware of their potential and formulate policies that enable easy access to their shores.
Internal Factors Causing Brain Drain
Lack of Educational Opportunities:
The increasingly high demands placed on students to achieve academic excellence at the cost of everything else, including perhaps their mental health and the best years of their lives, leave them disillusioned with the education system in India.
The endless competitive exams, which are a significant hurdle, make access to higher education difficult in India. When these students head overseas to pursue education, they have an advantage over other students in relation to their skills and knowledge.
There is a growing sense of dissatisfaction and consensus among students in India that the Indian education system in its current avatar is inept at preparing them for the challenges thrust upon them in an increasingly globalised world. The courses and the subject matter taught at Indian universities are woefully outdated and have lacklustre content.
All these factors propel students to leave Indian shores to pursue better education overseas.
Lack of Financial Support For Research:
The financial support for research in India as of December 2021 was a mere 0.7% of the GDP and has been this way for years. This figure is the lowest among the BRICS countries. The best minds in R&D tend to migrate to more welcoming countries to pursue their research.
Below-par Income Levels:
Countries in the first world offer better incentives and pay to workers in sectors like health, IT, etc. Higher-income and financial stability are the main factors triggering emigration from India.
External Factors Causing Brain Drain
Better Standard of Living:
The developed countries provide better living standards and quality of life, which is a magnet for Indians reaching its shores. They get support in the form of free world-class education and healthcare, governmental benefits, a better sense of community, etc.
Indian youth are becoming more liberal in their outlook and prefer no interference in their personal lives. Society at large is yet to come to terms with this lifestyle and with the younger generation emphasising their individuality and their prerogatives.
The pressure to conform to what Indian society sees as the traditional and only meaningful way of life has stifled the Indian youth as it curbs their freedom. This encourages them to seek a better life in the west on their terms, and once they get there, they don’t look back.
Easy Migration Policies:
The developed nations ease migration policies to attract talent. This may be happening as their population ages, causing a decline in their workforce, or they are seeing a declining birthrate and are looking for ways to keep their country running.
Asians are solicited mainly due to their penchant for working in the STEM sector, for which the demand is perennial.
The pay in the developed countries is commiserated with the cost of living, enabling them to live a comfortable life without having to cut corners on their essential requirements.
Also, the high standard of living in foreign countries prompts Indians to seek greener pastures.
If the government doesn’t take concrete steps to stem the brain drain, there will be a severe workforce shortage in the coming years in all facets of the economy.
There is an immediate need to understand what compels talented Indians to leave the country. We need to introspect on the causes of the mass migration.
There are a lot of questions we need to ask ourselves about the quality of life, social structure, employment opportunities, development, gender equality, financial and social security, and even freedom in all walks of life. These are critical social parameters that mark the quality of life in a country. How do we stand in these aspects of life?
We should fulfil these aspirations of the young, else the yearning to break free from the rigid social diktats that society stuffs down their throats will see more of them fleeing the shores of India into the welcoming arms of the West.
With all the talents in the country leaking like a sieve, soon a situation may arise where there would be plenty of jobs to go around, but no one is willing or will be around to take up the offer.