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Brain Drain or Brain Haemorrhage

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By Bindu N Doddahatti:

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report in 1969, had defined brain drain as, “An abnormal form of scientific exchange between countries, characterised by a one-way flow in favour of the most highly developed countries”. Almost four decades later, the definition of brain drain has not changed a great deal with talented students still leaving the shores of developing countries in pursuit of better opportunities in the developed nations.

A report by the World Bank had placed India third in terms of brain drain, even ahead of China and Germany. The first two slots were taken up by Britain and Philippines. The percentage of Indian immigrants to foreign countries represents more than five per cent of the total graduate population, which in numbers count to millions. The UNDP estimates that India loses $2 billion a year because of the emigration of computer experts to the U.S. Indian students going abroad for their higher studies costs India a foreign exchange outflow of $10 billion annually. Well, this just can’t be called brain drain, this is Brain Haemorrhage.

Unemployment in India has been an overused excuse by the one’s who are responsible for such brain drain and also by the ones who are desperately trying to contribute to the same. The opportunities inside the country suddenly seem small and worthless in front of the starry image of the West. More than anything else, better lifestyle and a developed country name to flaunt, has lead people into migrating their working areas from their native place to a western country. But the question remains is it really so starry as it seems? Are there seriously no “good” job opportunities in India? Well, had this question come a decade earlier the answer would have been a tragic yes, but today when many multi national companies are desperately trying to establish a branch in India, the verity differs.

Our nation is spending hugely on the training of the Intellects of our country. The country has already achieved the nuclear status as well as become a space power. There are enough opportunities for all the Indian scientists and engineers settled abroad, if they come back to India. They should play an important role in future progress of our country and share the honour of participating in this sacred task.

But it is not right to say that India has all the infrastructure needed by those pursuing higher studies in different subject matters. Ph.Ds and the Master Degree holders will need access to state of the art laboratory infrastructure. Now, until we can create a conducive platform for them to deliver results, how do we expect them to relocate to India. There is a serious dearth of quality education/research institutes and even though infrastructure is being ramped up, still it is below par. It is worrisome that a premier education body of the stature of IIM is finding it difficult to maintain its standards in its new branches.

If you look at the issue of brain drain closely, it is not that people are betrayers of the country if they work for foreign companies or go to foreign countries to work. They want to live with self-respect and they don’t want to see all this mess lying here. The unwritten rule is to protect yourself and your family and provide them a good quality of life. Law and order in India is forcing all those who can escape, to escape from the system. If you are living in this country, you must have seen lines of people around MLAs, MPs, Ministers and if you want to lead a good quality of life, you ought to know these people. Then, why are we always asked for bribes? Why are licenses issued easily to powerful people and a common man has to fight it out? Why are we supposed to pay bribes for every government work? When are we going to find answers for these questions?

It is not difficult to find the ways to solve the problems existing in the country. Generating employment, opening new sectors and streamlining the system can solve the problems. For most of this, it is required to retain the brains of this country to remain in the country and work for it. If you want to retain the youth then you ought to give them respect and make leaders out of them and not coward, scary followers of our system. All that is needed is accountabilty if something wrong is done anywhere in the system.

The main thing to be remembered is, wherever we go and wherever we live, whatever we earn and whatever we become, patriotism should not be lost to personal fervor.

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  1. Mahesha Hiremath

    Whether one likes it or not, humans have always migrated to lands of better opportunities. No country (at least, democratic countries) can force citizens to stay in their country. In a world where boundaries are becoming thin, we should rather try to improve basic infrastructure. Instead of seeing emigration as a loss, if we see it as an opportunity where people migrated to foreign countries can contribute their knowledge and experience for the development of their country of origin, it will help everyone. A good article, though.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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