By Vaibhav Kathuria:
1. DIFFERENT FACETS
India is a diverse country and the issue of migration here is as diverse and widespread as the population itself in the country. A vast majority of youths in some ten countries of the world, including India, want to emigrate and secure a better future and believe that there should be no migration controls, a survey of 15 to 17-year-olds has found. Since the time the British ruled our country, people were sent as workers to other countries in the hope of a better life; travellers came to our country in search of knowledge, goods etc.
(This map shows the recent migration paths and lineages. India has one of the maximum lineages showing the importance of migration in the country)
1.1: ILLEGAL MIGRATION INTO INDIA
Today India is on the path of development but faces fundamental questions regarding youth empowerment and eradication of poverty. The youth in our neighbouring countries, some of which are extremely poor such as Bangladesh, face the same difficulties and cross the border to enter the country in search of greener pastures. Some of these migrants come with the hope of earning a living in urban areas while some others come with the hope to escape pathetic living conditions and start afresh. This migration is normally illegal but in some cases may be legal. Today our country has a large majority of population which has migrated from its neighbouring countries and this population at one hand is contributing to development of the country by exploiting opportunities and making the best of all the resources while at the other hand one segment of this population is putting their youthful energy in the wrong direction leading to a disastrous situation for themselves as well as the country.
While famous Sufi musicians have migrated to India and made it big, most of the population living in slums constitutes migrants from within and outside the country. There is a large slum about 2 km from where I live in Delhi and most of the people here are migrants, some of them like Sharda who does the household chores in our home spend their energies in generating income while others while away their time.
SHARDA: A CASE STUDY
Sharda comes to our home right at 6:30 am in the morning. She is a migrant from Bangladesh and had come to Delhi twelve years ago. Sharda is a very hardworking woman and has 2 sons — one of them goes to the school while the other one works as a security guard in an organization. But Sharda continuously complains to my mother that she has to move her living quarters continuously because the police do not trust the migrants as they have a reputation of committing petty thievery. She tells my mother that though her friends in the slum work really hard to earn a living many migrants in the slum while away their time playing cards or even stealing, pick pocketing etc. Sharda has been working in our home for eight years and even today when my mother gives her some old cloth or food she has to show it in writing to the security guard in the colony. Such is the state in most of the slums in the country where migrants are looked upon with suspicion.
1.2 STUDENT MIGRATION
India has the maximum youth population in the world and the youth are the soul of every nation. In BBC’ Generation Next series survey conducted in 10 cities, 64 percent of the Delhi youth voted that they should immigrate to another country for a better future. With the advent of globalization, our country has come in contact with the world outside in a big way. Multinationals have opened their offices in our country and Indian industries have made their mark in the world. Every parent in the country wants their children to choose professions which will secure them a very bright future in the industry. Engineering is on the rise and the country has thousands of engineering colleges. But the quality of teaching engineering is not up-to-the-mark and practical knowledge is not given thrust to. The most historical and industry linked colleges are the IITs and some other govt colleges; some private colleges and universities are also top of the mark but they cater to hardly 1 percent of the students who want to be engineers in the country.
And topping that is the fact that there are reservations for the different classes even in these limited seats. Hence the youth are left with no options but to migrate to other countries such as the USA, Australia, Britain etc. This migration I feel is in a way good as the youth being concerned about their careers, are given a platform of learning and they benefit themselves as well as the country they have migrated to.
But coming back to the scenario in the country, more than 50% of the IIT graduates go abroad for pursuing their dreams. Students are lured by the glitter of silicon valley and instead of serving their own country, contribute to the growth outside. Our country is in great need of specialized engineers, the CEO of an Indian construction company Larsen and Turbo remarks: Where have my engineers disappeared.
Such is the severity of the problem of brain drain in the country, but the grass is not so worn out either, as many Indian companies attract the youth of the country as well. The country has industries coming up and entrepreneurship in the fields of software, social welfare, investment banking, hospitality industry, are on an exponential rise as well. Hence one can be optimistic that migration will now be towards India and India will be able to retain its bright youth.