Indian talent's migration abroad: causes and consequencestext_fields
The time has come for India to think seriously about the causes and consequences of migration that has been happening at an increasing rate in these decades. Data prove that those who benefit from financial and educational privileges are at the forefront of trying to flee India and settle abroad. When the annual conclaves of the Indian diaspora like the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas usually turn a blind eye towards unemployment and economic recession, that will not be helpful in preventing migration.
The government has released recent data on citizens who have renounced citizenship. The figures are extremely distressing: more than 9.24 lakh Indians renounced citizenship over the past seven years and the count has been increasing steadily. The data below were released in July by the Ministry of Home Affairs in response to a question in Lok Sabha.
Besides relinquishing citizenship, a diaspora of 18 million lives all over the world for employment and a productive work environment that they perceived India failed to provide. However, 53 per cent of them are in Middle East countries, but they do not give up Indian citizenship and the remittance of 89 million dollars sent by them forms 3 per cent of India's total GDP.
Feeling neglected by their own country and not feeling at home in the host country, the unskilled and semiskilled workers consisting of 70 per cent are going through an identity crisis at a crucial stage of their life. Though a minority of them prosper up to the economically upper class, the majority of unskilled workers gain nothing more than food and the basic needs of their life.
The chart below gives the data of destination countries chosen by Indians with migration trends and stages of life improvement of middle-class Indian citizens with migration.
These countries, which demand better financial support for migration and higher education levels, will work out mostly for the upper class who enjoy socio-economic privileges. Along with them, the new upper middle class raised in countries outside India are also leaving India with plans to settle abroad, without any hesitation.
Classifying immigrants can throw light on the loss of human resources which India has been suffering over the years. Out of these people who renounced citizenship, the number of HNWI (high net-worth individuals) has been increasing recently as reported by London-headquartered global citizenship and residence advisory Henley and Partners. According to this, they are the most noticed emigrant group in recent years and the causes that make them leave their native country are relatively evident.
According to 2018 reports by Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley, 23,000 millionaires have left the country since 2014. In addition, 7,000 HNWIs are expected to leave India in 2023. Primary reasons for this include low passport index rates (travel freedom enjoyed by holders of each country's passport; measured by the number of countries they can enter visa-free) and severe tax regimes. According to the latest data of the passport index, India holds the 85th position due to less travel mobility, quality of life, and lack of investment opportunities.
The last decade of India exhibited strong growth as an economic power which resulted in the return of businessmen with Indian origins back home. But the latest data of HNWIs demand scrutinizing recent economic reforms including demonetization and GST reformation.
The suicide of VG Siddhartha, founder of Cafe Coffee Day and an elite businessman in the Indian market for decades, highlighted the witch-hunting of authorities and the compulsion felt by entrepreneurs to feed political parties to survive in business. In his suicide note, Siddhartha had said the Income Tax department attached "our shares on two separate occasions to block our Mindtree deal and then taking the position of our Coffee Day shares, although revised returns have been filed by us."
Likewise, The Supreme Court verdict on the 2G spectrum case which eventually set free every accused proved India is a country where anything can happen for simple political narratives and minor interests of political parties. Issues like the 2G spectrum auction caused the worst turmoil throughout the country and helped to establish the image of the country’s standing in “ease of doing business”.
The fleeing of vaccine producer Serum Institute's CEO Adar Poonawalla due to threats from politicians for personal priorities in vaccines shows things are not improving anywhere.
Along with those with money, skilled and educated teenagers are also eager to leave the country before reaching their 20s. According to data from the Ministry of External Affairs, in 2020, 2,59,655 students left the country, and surprisingly with a growth of 41% in 2021, 4,44,553 youngsters migrated abroad for academic pursuits. A recent survey of INTO University partnerships shows 8 out of 10 Indian teenagers are planning to study and settle abroad and 42 % of students prefer leaving the country even if the same teaching quality is offered in India.
S Irudaya Rajan, Chairman of the International Institute for Migration and Development says, "So-called experts come from foreign countries and hold so-called education festivals, in which they pick up the best talent available and whisk them away. While it is India that is spending on teaching students (the IITs, IIMs, and other institutes), the foreigners find ways to wean them away”
News channel WION showed that more than half of first-rank holders of standard 10th and 12th board exams between 1996-2015 went abroad. These data point out the loss of our country in human capital and billions of rupees spent in the education sector.
Time has transgressed to discuss the reasons behind “the escaping mentality” of Indian citizens. The young ones who complete higher education are witnessing unemployment along with a society filled with hate and violence. India will have to pay a heavy price if she fails to address this brain and wealth drain. As a developing country with innumerable political and economical instability to be resolved, neglecting brain and wealth drain due to the fleeing of students, skilled and educated minds would slow down the progress of the nation.