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Solving India's Brain Drain

It wasn’t that long ago that India was facing serious crisis in keeping its academic talent within its borders. Even today a large amount of students are leaving India seeking better jobs and opportunities but a there is a growing population of those who are staying. Changes from the government coupled with ambition and good timing have allowed India to take advantage of the climate and build an IT Industry with the talent that stays.

Government Changes


During the technology boom in the mid-90s India increased its enrollment of students into its technical institutes. As the need for skilled workers increased around the world they decided it was best that they tried to meet that demand by increasing its number of attendees. The government plays an active role in these institutes as it provides most of the financial backing of the school, to insure that it has the best resources.


The government went through a large amount changes in order to grow this IT Industry. For a long time India had supported high taxes on foreign technological goods in order to keep consumers from importing. During the 90s most of these taxes were dropped. This allowed for tech graduates to actually begin their own start-ups, start-ups that would latter become the backbone of there industry.

Foreign Investors

The government also decided to open its borders to foreign investors setting aside huge tracts of land for industrial parks. They gave foreign companies reduced rates for land, discounts in energy, breaks from pollution regulation, and reduced Income taxes. What developed out of these policies was India’s own Silicon Valley. It created high tech areas with well paying jobs and suburban life comparable to that of Palo Alto. They even modeled these Industrial Tech Parks after Microsoft Campus in the United States complete with gyms, cafeterias, and leisure spaces. It was a successful attempt at transplanting the allures of overseas work to India. Not only did it bring technology jobs to India it started a culture of entrepreneurship among Indian graduates.

Present & Future

In order to maintain progress the Indian Government and IT Industry are working closely to direct the future to a more productive path. A task force was set up that complied three reports in the form of action plans that could help India nurture its growing industry: the first, deals with the production of software; the second, with the production of Hardware; and the Third, with Long Term National Policy. “These reports are forming a solid base for the present policy development to build India’s Infotech Industry and proliferate use of IT in the country. The industry and government are now working together to form suitable strategies to not only capture this market but also add value to it.” (Information Technology in India)


Today about half the graduates from Indian Technology Institutes stay in the country to work which is a lot better than the past but still has a long way to go. The lessons learned in India are simple but effective. The government needs to do what it can to support Internal Education. Policies in place must foster the growth of Industry. The goals of Government and Industry need to be the same or at least mutually beneficial. You need to give the people what they want if you want them to stay.

Thirty years ago the state of India was much like that of other countries facing currently facing a Brain Drain. They were producing scholars with various skills but none were staying. Most left seeking better jobs overseas or graduate school with the majority never returning. Even worse is that the number of students being produced relative to the population was small. As a whole, the number of educated skilled workers was extremely small and declining. “And despite India's growing status in the world economy, only 403 million of its 1 billion residents are employed, and nearly 60 percent of those jobs are in agriculture, according to the 2001 India census”(Seattle Times). India has made great gains in the last thirty years to keep its young talent in the country, though the retention rate may not be as high as other countries it has succeeded in many ways. Actions taken by the government have proven to be successful and if they can find ways to incorporate more people into their workforce they should be able to have a healthy sustaining talent pool and industry.

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