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Rotting Roots With No One Left To Nurture

How many of us have left or wish to leave our hometowns for further studies or better work opportunities? When we leave home, we also leave with it a part of our hearts, our parents. But little do they realise, ‘Home once left is left forever.’ As we grow older, in fulfilling the varied responsibilities, we unknowingly lack in delivering our commitments as sons and daughters. Though there exists a constant worry lurking at the back of our minds, along with the guilt for having left our parents behind, the most one can do from a distance is to look after their financial needs. They just visit each other twice or thrice a year as guests. This relationship so developed remains only that of a long-distance caretaker and the true essence of the relationship fades away. We now come back to the question asked above.

In India, most students prefer to pursue their bachelor's and master's degrees away from their hometowns. As per reports, in just the first three months of this year, 133,135 students went abroad chasing better academic pursuits. But what are the possible reasons for this human capital flight? The causes are twofold. One reason is that many children prefer to escape from the obligation of looking after their parents as they consider this responsibility a burden on them. Another main rationale is the tempting glitter of raised living standards, better job opportunities, higher salaries, and advanced technology in developed countries.

This trap doesn't let you return home. This is why the increasing brain drain from developing countries to developed nations hampers the economic health of these developing nations and de-accelerates their growth process. The degree of investment in education, training, medicine, and migration determines the human capital formation of a country. The greater this degree, the greater the country's potential human resource. In the Union Budget 2022-23, the government aims to create sixty lakh employment opportunities and provide digital training for the workforce while helping sharpen the employees' further skills by investing in the field of human capital. All these strategies go in vain when even after training and investment, the potential human resource takes off to raise the economy of some alien country rather than serving their own.

In India, it has been a tradition to produce intellectuals like Aryabhatt and Amartya Sen, who have made remarkable contributions to world history. Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella are examples that the tradition continues even today. But there has been a shift. The past generations worked for and in India, but today potential human capital of the country finds better growth and development prospects in firms located abroad. Developed countries like the U.S.A. and the U.K. provide perks such as working insurance, along with enhanced pay to their employees, which is a pulling force. As a result of which by 2019, Indian immigrants accounted for approximately 6 per cent of the U.S.

In India, it has been a tradition to produce intellectuals like Aryabhatt and Amartya Sen, who have made remarkable contributions to world history. Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella are examples that the tradition continues even today. But there has been a shift. The past generations worked for and in India, but today potential human capital of the country finds better growth and development prospects in firms located abroad. Developed countries like the U.S.A. and the U.K. provide perks such as working insurance, along with enhanced pay to their employees, which is a pulling force. As a result of which by 2019, Indian immigrants accounted for approximately 6 per cent of the U.S.

foreign-born population, which is a matter of great concern. This way, budding talent has moved out of the nation, and what remains in the majority is the untrained or undertrained workforce. ‘As per reports in 2022, the average annual salary of a person working in India is Rs.3,87,500, which is too low in comparison to the world economy, where innovation finds its way almost every year. The average annual income required to be an eligible taxpayer in India is Rs. 2,50,000, which automatically brings the majority of its citizens under the slab, and they can be exempt from paying the tax. This lesser availability of funds to the government pulls back the scope for investment initiating development, creating a vicious cycle. Though major steps taken in the past decades have bought a considerable inflow of progress to the country, we still have not been able to achieve the objective of ‘equity’ in our five-year plans. However, the country only offers great packages to engineers and technicians and thus, artisans feel neglected.

While abroad, the central focus is on the service sector, keeping in mind that the tertiary sector has attracted the most employment and development over the years. Government should launch attractive programs to prevent young talent from moving out of the country. The 18-25 age group population determines the future of the country. This strata of the population should be the priority of government agencies, and favourable steps which strive towards productivity should be considered which satisfy their wants and interests. Mere investment in human capital formation is worthless if the skill and knowledge are not provided with an environment to cultivate themselves.

Technical and institutional reforms are the need of the hour as most of the migration occurs because of the unavailability of good educational facilities. If good universities and institutes are set up in a considerable amount within the country, there will be no need to move out with ageing parents left behind. The age of 60 and above is delicate. It needs the same love and care that an infant does. Trees that gave us fruits, fresh air, and shadow when they were young and green have no one to water them when their roots have weakened and their leaves shredded. An India, where Shravan Kumar was the ideal son once inhabited, who carried his blind parents on his shoulders as he took them on pilgrimage, is now an India where around 15 million senior citizens live alone with children settled elsewhere. But there are two sides to every coin.

Even though the glass is more empty than filled, it still has some water, the water of goodness. Needless to say, brain drain is also of great benefit to countries. It paves the way for significant integration of the world economy, i.e. globalisation. The human capital exchange enables the exchange of ideas, culture, and technology. Globalisation today has become an integral part of the world economy, making room for increased global cooperation and cross-border investment. Talent should not be burdened by restrictions of national boundaries. Brain drain pulls people into a productive atmosphere and promotes their growth. As it is rightly said, some exceptions always exist; not everyone who moves aboard to study also plans to work and style there, some also have different plan books. As per surveys, 20% of students plan to come back to India after completing their degrees.

Those who return, bring along new skills and vivid visions to serve their home countries. However, the negative impacts of brain drain outweigh the positive ones. Therefore, it should be considered a negative concept, rivaling the country’s economic progress. Summing up, the exchange of human capital among nations is integral, but its pace should actively be monitored.

Purvi Lath
High School Student

References

• https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Americans

• https://theprint.in/features/this-is-the-next-generation-of-indian-intellectuals/168750/

• https://www.jobted.in/salary

• https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1275994/#:~:text=Brain%20drain%20is%20defined%20as,conditions%20in%20different%20places%20worldwide.

• https://parentcare.family/founder-of-parentcare-a-story-of-one-nri-whose-parents-live-back-in-india/

• https://www.quora.com/How-do-Indians-live-in-US-with-aging-parents-in-India

• https://spinetechnologies.com/blogs/how-budget-22-will-affect-human-capital/

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