Brain Drain — Reasons and Repercussions

‘Brain drain’ refers to the migration of educated and qualified professionals from one country or economic sector to another, for higher remuneration, access to advanced technologies, better living conditions and stability. In other words, it points towards the increasing tendency of young, energetic and talented youth to leave one country for another, in search of better fortune. This concept is a fairly recent one, that has surfaced prominently in the last few decades. It is something that is reflected more in the intelligentsia of a nation, as doctors, engineers, scientists, lawyers and other professionals prefer to settle abroad, which seems like a more profitable option as opposed to remaining in their own countries. Needless to say, this results in large scale migration from underdeveloped or developing countries to the so-called developed nations. This causes deprivation of intellectual capacity in the under developed or developing nations, as such countries are rendered intellectually impoverished and impotent. This results in loss of national wealth or Gross Domestic Product, further broadening the chasm between the countries of the First World and those of the Second and Third World.

Now the question that arises is this. What are the main factors which induce this large scale movement of intellectuals to other countries? An obvious answer would be lack of facilities and infrastructure required to exploit the potential of these people to the fullest extent. India, the second most populated nation in the world, also is a victim of this problem. To put it blatantly, we have failed in providing viable opportunities to our youth, and fallen face down when it comes to fulfilling their aspirations, ambitions and dreams. Ours is a country which does not have a dearth of talented and capable young minds who have the calibre to reach great heights, provided that they are granted the opportunities to do so. To state an example, the CEOs of two of the most prestigious conglomerates in the world, Google and Microsoft, are Indians. It is not a hidden fact that in companies particularly in the IT Sector, employees receive a lower amount of salary as compared to the same job for the same firm abroad. Why does India, a great and domineering nation in Asia, face this sort of a discrepancy? Isn’t it natural that anyone would be allured or drawn towards a country where your work is valued more? Countries like USA, UK, China, Japan, and France have developed tremendously in the fields of science and technology, computers, astronomy, electronics etc. Thus, these countries provide greater opportunities, both quality and quantity wise. The facilities, scholarships and income packages that they offer are far better than what we can provide.

Cynics allege that talents like these can never go unnoticed; a truly capable person will shine no matter what. That may be true, but the odds of such talents being nurtured to realise their potential are greater in places where they are subjected to a suitable environment. A seed cannot sprout unless provided with a sufficient amount of air, water and nourishment. It’s the same with people. They need to be provided with decent opportunities and facilities.

A major problem associated with this is that developing countries are the main source of healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses and nutritionists to the developed nations, and this outflow results in deteriorating health conditions in the not so developed sections of the population. This is something which needs to be looked into. Currently, wage differentiation between source and destination countries is so wide that small increases in wages are unlikely to improve the situation. However, merely harping on the problems instead of finding a solution is futile. It is time to bury the archaic concept of brain drain, and realise that in this globalised world, better communication and collaboration between developed and developing or under developed countries is getting significantly easier, and devising ways in which foreign professionals can contribute to their countries of origin is important.

We need to understand that it is imperative that we try to ameliorate the situation by creating better job opportunities and living conditions and increasing income levels to convince these people to stay back, and enhance their talents to contribute in the development and accelerate the progress of their own country. We need to give deserving jobs to students who return to India after completing their education abroad, and formulate policies which attract the professionals of our country. Weeding out dirty politics and corruption from the country is absolutely essential, so that an appropriate amount of funds can be channelised to the corporate society to put a stop to concept of brain drain and supplant it with wisdom gain.

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