Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Human Capital

I stumbled upon a recent report somewhere on the internet, published by Rutgers University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences which said 53% of Indians, who had gone to the United States to pursue higher studies, want to come back. Or at least, they have said so. The report gave another number that could be of interest. Only 8% of them felt "they wanted to stay back". So the important thing to notice here is that 92% of people are either not happy or they just don't know if they are. This fact is interesting and it triggers a train of thought. Folks like me, who have chosen the alternative route by not opting to take an educational loan and get a Masters Degree from an ivy league university think these guys over there are having some good fun and they are not home-bound any soon. I mean, at least their avatars on social networks hint something of that sort. The trips and fun and frolic and what not.

One possible reason for this popular choice of moving abroad after under graduate studies is definitely explained by the money factor. The other is the plethora of "high-skilled" job opportunities out there as opposed to the situation here, where we still count more low-skilled ones, though we see ourselves as a "maturing economy" by the day. Basic economics suggests that a more educated population will bring prosperity to any economy. And that will also help the betterment of many other social indicators that define a country's growth. I read somewhere that though we can be happy about something like an 80% literacy rate in our country, there are only 4% of people who are "computer-educated".That is alarming.

With "local entrepreneurship" being the buzz word of modern times in our country, I think folks over there, on that side of the Atlantic, have a dilemma to ponder. It is probably one of the best times for them to walk back with their pockets loaded and try to make well advised technology investments in their homeland. Now, coming back to where I started, if 92 percent of them want to come back sooner or later, then what are they waiting for? What with the rumors about a possible second wave of recessionary times in the west, one should probably count one's silver and look up the air fares. What we as a country need right now, to avoid something like the middle east crisis where high rates of unemployment hampers growth, is for some quality people and quality jobs to sustain themselves inclusively as part of our growth story.

One simple reason why a country like ours still has so much more low-skilled opportunities than the high-skilled ones is the fact that most higher management positions in niche sectors are reserved for the advanced markets like the US and the Europe. But that situation is, more likely than not, prone to change because of the stunning increase in the number of quality entrepreneurial ventures emerging each day. One other aspect of this ideal scheme of things that I am defining, is how the government and the the educational system in India can do their part. About 20% percent of our population drop out after primary school, as yet another survey elsewhere points out. So to make people stick to the educational system to complete their studies, the system should mature and evolve. That will in turn apply the brakes on the battalion of under grads who were heading westward hitherto. I know I am not doing justice to practical sphere of politics, so to say, by weaving an extraordinarily ideal growth story for the future, like in those Shankar movie climax sequences. But I think that is the way forward.

P.S : I am not against going abroad and making a career out there. Neither am I claiming to be someone who would not put himself on the next flight if the situation calls for. I am just saying if a good number of people who want to come back, really come back and contribute to our story, then that contribution will definitely be one that will count.


Raagini said...

Like! :)

I would love to know one thing - How many surveys did you actually scrutinize to come to this conclusion?

As a result, yours, in effect, could be the most exhaustive survey then!

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Raagini: Lol! Three surveys I believe, about 6 different google searches to be precise! This is just an instance of deducing a few things from those surveys anyway :-)

vagabond911 said...

How do you think putting a stop on the battalion of Undergrads leaving the country will solve the problem or elevate India to a developed state? India and Indians can make more through remittances than staying back & wallowing in this fusty place.Though we certainly have been well-endowed in Human Capital, because of various reasons known & unknown, One has to agree to the law of diminishing returns which states that you can't efficiently increase Output by merely increasing one of the Inputs, here the Human Capital, while we are deprived of the other Inputs(Natural Resources, Oil & Infrastructure). So Let them go, Let them 'live'.

Arjun said...

:O :O Looks like we have another legend who can blog better! Is this an innocuous attempt to woo some girls himself?

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Vageesh:Firstly, thanks for your insight. Me being managerially challenged and what not,that was full of high level terms for me in some sense. But from what I gathered, it appears as though you are looking at it from just a macro economic perspective and are obsessed with this diminishing law or something. Whatever be it. don't throw heavy phrases like those. I am totally uneducated. My thinking faculties are diminishing now :-P.

The remittances as you chose to call it, are more valuable when they happen from outside, but I was focussing on investing in "Bharath" and not "India", if you get my drift. And as we all are aware of how the system consumes these investments and how the rural quarters become deprived of it in the end. My humble opinion is that they could possibly come back, just because "they want to".

To cut a long story short, investments in the developmental sector are being harried away by anti social elements in our system and it is important to invest and be part of the change rather than invest and sit back overseas. I may be wrong on certain fronts. But that's what I felt.

And as for my chosen title. you were spot on when you said we have loads of them. Yes, we have loads of "Human". But they lack the capital. Of course I am discounting those high tax payers in this country who we know of.

@Arjun: Where do you garner the guts to question the fact that there could be a better blogger in that legend? A legend is truly a "legend". See what I mean?

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Ray Grimm