Hope laces Indian diaspora


The present generation of  global Indians seek global infrastructure and global work ethics to come back

The programs like Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas need to deliver on ground to attract diaspora back

So the dragon is getting better of the lion in attracting its caretakers back to their own land. Love for the country? Hardly.

It’s been quite some time since Indian economy is being questioned as to why it has not been able to attract the Indian diaspora while the Chinese have. Indeed true it is but the answer to this why has a number of perspectives.

With this let’s get to the detailed picture. Two parameters – Better opportunities and conducive environment are what these non-residents of any particular country look for.

As globalization progressed, more and more of the developing nation’s people were offered jobs in the developed nations. For these people it was great opportunity and for these countries it was cheap labor. They saw progressing career, good standards of living and a better life.

It’s all about opportunities. The present generation across the globe is career-oriented and will flow wherever opportunities are in sight. “I was working at the Indian office of a Swedish company. I was offered a promotion to move to HQ in Stockholm, Sweden. So, for my career progress I took the offer to move out. I am ready to go wherever my career takes me!” said ManikKarn, Business Development Manager (Sales & Marketing), Business Sweden.

Karn has worked both in India and in China. Talking on if India was better or China, he says that it’s only in terms of opportunities that China has certainly managed a leap.

“I have lived in China. There is strong law and order there. But that’s more due to fear of government (stick) than their own sense of responsibility. Pollution is bad but you have incentive to live there, due to huge professional opportunities,” he shares.

Talking about India, some of the NRIs (from England, Sweden and USA) said that it’s all very scattered and translucent. Apprehensions dot the initiatives; service industry is “less customer-friendly”; people do not respect time. All in all the work culture is very different.

Archisman Banerjee, senior application engineer, explains his life after shifting to India: “I had to return to India after four years of my work in England. I would have been happy if my salary wouldn’t have been reduced to a quarter, working hours stretched to over 10 to 12 hours, and in the name of incentives there was hardly anything, rather reduced to one-tenth of what I used to receive in UK. Why still ask the question why people prefer working abroad?”

Apart from the professional part there is a social part to it. Talking about life in the developed nations, the Indians staying abroad say that it’s the social and economic environment which attracts people. “For example, Sweden is one of the most developed countries in the world. Here they also have one of the best welfare societies. Education is free, healthcare to kids (upto 18 years) is free, heavily subsidized for rest of the residents, excellent daycare facilities (almost free), paternal benefits of almost 1.5 years for mother. In addition, it’s a very safe place with robust law and order and super clean environment (zero pollution),” explains Karn.

Another challenge that an individual faces after returning to India is school education for their kids. International schools have come up in most of the cities, but they are expensive and not always high standard. Also, if one has stayed long outside India, he or she (especially children born there) might have issues adjusting to the social behaviors. “In west, people are individualistic with less interest in neighbors. In India, we are nosy and noisy neighbors!!” says a researcher based in US West Coast.

So, it’s not only higher salary than India (which is not true in my case!), most people would like to have peace, clean environment, law and order, good education and healthcare.

Chinese have been able to make their citizens return and contribute to the growing dragon. It has grown five times India’s economy with much more opportunities. “I won’t be surprised if many entrepreneurs are returning to their countries (here China) to tap the most of the opportunities. I see a parallel with the “Startup India” initiative. If government provides conducive environment, Indian will not leave India in the first place and thus all these IFs and BUTs will be eliminated, says Karn.

He further explains, “We live in a globalized economy. Those who work in Multi-National Companies (MNCs) with offices in multiple countries, have a greater opportunity to move around. IT industry is yet another catalyst of people working abroad. But to me, it’s a natural progression to find opportunities of greater impact wherever they are possible.

He cites the movement of students moving from a village to neighboring city and then to Delhi, Mumbai or the other metro cities. Same analogy could be extended at international level. Also, if an individual is educated abroad, there is greater possibility to staying longer in foreign country.

Sagarika Ranjan