Except to left ideologues and academics who the global rejection of communism/socialism notwithstanding, continue to dominate the academy and public discourse, the data is alarming, if not horrifying. According to a front-page banner headline in The Hindu (February 10), 225,000 skilled professionals and/or HNIs (high net worth individuals) renounced Indian passports, migrating abroad last year.
Moreover, despite differential tuition fees levied by American and British universities having risen precipitously in recent years, the number of Indian youth venturing abroad for higher education hit the highest 7.5 lakh in 2022. The great majority of them are likely to use every legal and other stratagem to work and live abroad.
The prime cause of the continuous brain drain of well-educated youth is expansion of the country’s post-liberalisation middle class, almost totally unschooled in cultural nationalism and idealism. This new bourgeoisie sees no wrongdoing in availing highly subsidised public education funded by millions of poor citizens as a springboard to study and if possible work abroad. And even though India’s middle class is currently experiencing unprecedented standards of living, millions of them continue to aspire to live abroad without the convenience of domestic help while taking racial discrimination in their stride. In India’s elite clubs that provide HNIs every convenience and facility at affordable price, every second member prides on having children settled abroad.
Although the new amoral middle class neck-deep in effete epicureanism is migrating abroad in ever greater numbers, successive governments at the Centre and states have failed to improve public services — clean air, water, electricity, law, order and justice delivery, traffic management — and the ease of doing business by reducing official corruption.
This is a major cause of a large number of HNIs and well-qualified professionals with globally marketable skills fleeing India. Coterminously, OECD countries experiencing economic recession, declining and ageing populations are rolling out red carpets for taxes and employment-generating HNIs and trained professionals from India. Meanwhile, latter-day Neros in Delhi and state capitals encouraged by business-illiterate academics and media pundits, continue to vilify and excoriate successful India Inc leaders committed to national development.
Fifty years ago, after it was voted to power in West Bengal in 1977 and ruled the state for 34 years uninterruptedly while continuously hounding and harassing industry and business, the CPM (Communist Party of India-Marxist) government triggered a massive flight of capital from West Bengal and destroyed its sizeable industrial base. Since then, Bengal’s brightest and best have migrated abroad and to other parts of India, leaving the state’s economy floundering in shallows and misery. There is a clear and present danger of this history repeating itself on a larger scale.