Raise of automation and Trump’s new policies has caused many Indians to lose their jobs but has also interested few of the bright minds to return to India.
“It is high time that our brightest and best brains work for the benefits of India and Indians. We will see a reverse brain drain coming without doubt,” Ambani said while addressing at the India Today Conclave.
In a recent event organized by the Think India Foundation, a think-tank that seeks to solve problems which Indians face. When introducing the topic of skilled immigration, the discussion moderator, Sand Hill Group founder M.R. Rangaswami asked the obvious question. How many planned to return to India? It was shocking to see more than three-quarters of the audience raise their hands.
Even Rangaswami was taken back. He lived in a different Silicon Valley, from a time when Indians flocked to the U.S. and rapidly populated the programming (and later executive) ranks of the top software companies in California. But the generational difference between older Indians who have made it in the Valley and the younger group in the room was striking. The present reality is this. Large numbers of the Valley’s top young guns (and some older bulls, as well) are seeing opportunities in other countries and are returning home. And this is bringing a new vitality to R&D in India.
What propelled them to return home?
Some Indians cited professional opportunities. And while they make less money in absolute terms at home, most said their salaries brought a “better quality of life” than what they had in the U.S. (There was also some reverse culture shock—complaints about congestion in India.) When it came to social factors some Indians cited better “family values” at home. Ability to care for aging parents. For the vast majority of returnees, a longing for family and friends was also a crucial element.
A leading blogs, Tech Crunch surveyed 1,224 foreign students from dozens of nations who are currently studying at U.S. universities or who graduated in 2008. The majority told that they didn’t think that the U.S. was the best place for their professional careers and they planned to return home. Only 6 percent of Indian, 10 percent of Chinese, and 15 percent of European students planned to settle in the U.S.
This was not only in the case of Sillicon Valley Dwellers but also research scientists and scholars.
Ambitious and bright, a rash of scientists had left India for better opportunities and, over the years, gained vital exposure to the best global research labs. After years of experimenting and collaborating with some of the top scientists in the world, they have now chosen to return to their homeland.
Traditionally, such homecomings are driven partly by family compulsions, but of late it is a flurry of fellowships and incentives by the government that has helped the scientists relocate to India. The main attraction now is absorption into an institute where they can be part of the permanent faculty.
India is indeed rapidly becoming a global research, design and development hub. More than 1,000 companies from around the world have set up their R&D centres in India. Over 2,00,000 scientists and engineers are working there, at least a fourth of whom have returned from overseas.
Turning brain drain into brain gain requires creation of appropriate opportunities at certain critical stages in the progression of a one’s career. I hope we and the government can leverage this opportunity and give great contribution to our country’s economy.