The Problem of Brain Drain In India:
The expression brain drain means the migration of a country’s intellectuals, its best brains such as scientists, doctors, engineers, and other highly trained and skilled persons to other countries. Our country is one of the worst victims of brain drain because lakhs of its trained and highly skilled scientists and doctors have migrated to several foreign countries and settled there. The result is that such competent people as Dr. Hargobind Khurana, Dr. Chandershekharan, and Dr. Jayant Narlikar have settled in other countries, although they could have contributed immensely to the development of India.
Why do some of the people of whom the country can be justly proud leave the country and settle abroad? The question has several answers and all of them have a varying degree of validity. First of all, many competent people go abroad to seek a better career. Trained and intelligent people are welcomed by rich and developed countries. They are willing to pay much higher emoluments to such people. So there is the lure of money, comforts, and luxuries. Secondly, the job opportunities in our country are quite limited. So some people who do not find satisfactory jobs here think of going abroad. Thirdly, there is a lack of well-developed and equipped laboratories. Research in science is a very expensive affair. Our country cannot afford many good laboratories. So some genuinely research-oriented brains go to those countries where such laboratory facilities are available in plenty. Finally, there are general corruption, mismanagement, and bureaucratic interference in matters of appointments, transfers, and promotions. Those who have some godfathers in the bureaucracy or ministers reach top positions; others are left to their fate. This situation forces some competent but otherwise frustrated people to leave the country and go to another country where their talent is valued.
Of course, one may say that as citizens of free and democratic India, such talented people have every right to go abroad and display their talents, especially in countries that are willing to receive and honor them. One may even advance the argument that, in a way, these people solve the problem of unemployment in India and, what is more, bring her a fair name abroad. But this is to ignore several vital factors. First, it is usually the highly qualified and skilled people who go and settle abroad; others are simply not welcome. The country spends a lot on their education and training but receives nothing from them in return. Secondly, these are the very people who can definitely contribute to India’s development and bring her a fair name. Their migration is thus a definite loss to the country. With the departure of such people, the country has to make do with the mediocre talents of mediocre scientists, engineers, and doctors. The effect is harmful not only in the present but also in the future.
What must we do, then, to check this trend? We must, first of all, create conditions in which the best brains of the country can work without bureaucratic interference, nepotism, and political manipulations. When this is at the expense of the country’s development, we must ensure that research work and research facilities are handed over to the people who know their business and not to the bureaucrats who are jacks of all trades but masters of none. Secondly, we should improve the condition of our laboratories by providing the latest equipment in the field. Thirdly, we must learn to respect and admire talent. If a great scientist is treated as a petty government servant and given neither freedom nor incentive for him to continue his work, we cannot get the best out of him. The people who go abroad can perhaps accept a little less money but they do expect to be treated well. Finally, the government can put some reasonable limits on the migration of the country’s best brains by insisting on their minimum stay in the country of five to ten years after the completion of their education and training. If all these measures are taken simultaneously, the flow of the best brains of this country to others can be minimized.