India's Brain Drain

Outline of the Conversation:

Kavya and Devi will soon graduate from the Bangalore Institute of Technology and have both been offered jobs in India and in the United States. The girls have the option to work at Infosys in Bangalore or at the San Francisco Bay Area location in the U.S. They areindecisive about where to work, and discuss the ups and downs of leaving India to work abroad. In their conversation, Kavya and Devi discuss the phenomenon known as India's brain drain.

The Conversation:

Kavya: So Devi, we will graduate next month. What are you planning to do about this job offer? We are very fortunate to have such excellent options.

Devi: You're right. We can work at our dream job in our wonderful hometown of Bangalore or relocate to the U.S. and work for the same company in America's land of milk and honey. It is a tough decision. I love Bangalore, but who wouldn't jump at the opportunity to work abroad?

Kavya: I know; this is why I am having difficulty deciding. Well we know what to expect if we stay here, and won't have to make many adjustments. Although I would like to experience living and working in America, using our expertise here might be the best thing for us in the long run.

Devi: I know what you mean. Have you heard of India's brain drain?

Kavya: Yes, isn't that when many educated or professional people move to another country for better opportunities and living conditions? I think I was inadvertently referring to that.

Devi: Precisely! Many Indians seek employment in the West to escape India's problems and capitalize on the rich opportunities, social freedom, developed economy, and higher quality of life that the U.S. offers.

Kavya: I believe that this has been happening for many years. There are many NRIs living in the U.S. The other day I heard on the news that there were close to 28,50,000 NRIs there in 2010.


Devi: That's interesting! I've read that many Indian scholars have emigrated to the U.S. starting in the early 1960s. Many of these have been engineers and IT professionals.

Kavya: Isn't this bad for our nation? If many of our bright minds leave the country, they take all of their knowledge with them. This must benefit their new country and hurt India.

Devi: Let's think about it for a minute. The disadvantages are pretty obvious. As you just mentioned, our country's investment in higher education is lost as the educated population leave India and become an asset to another country. 

Kavya: Yes, all this intellectual power is helping a highly developed economy when it could really help our nation's economy which is desperately struggling to grow. Why help a world superpower like the U.S. when our homeland needs the aid so much more?

Devi: You have a good point! Also, the social capital that an individual has been part of is reduced by his or her departure.

Kavya: Social capital? Oh, you're referring to the social trust, norms, and networks that people can draw on to solve everyday problems. This issue was discussed in the news broadcast I saw the other day.

Devi: Yes, social capital is represented by networks of civic engagement such as neighborhood associations, sports clubs, unions, and cooperatives. When these parties lose members, they lose strength and influence, making them less effective in the community.

Kavya: This reasoning really makes brain drain seem bad for the country. But at the same time, it has good points, like the ability of emigrants to send money back home which helps alleviate poverty in India.

Devi: You are right! And this money is most likely invested in education, health, and housing, rather than spent on material goods. Also, just think about how many intelligent and industrious Indians and NRIs continuously build a good name for our country abroad.

Kavya: I'm kind of torn on the issue. It is just hard to decide whether to serve our country as Indians or NRIs. At least we have a little time to decide, but not much.

Devi: I would not worry about this too much because either way our talent will benefit our country. If we move to the U.S., we must always maintain a strong connection with our motherland, personally and professionally. Some westernization is inevitable, but we must never forget or neglect our roots.

Kavya: And if we stay in Bangalore, we can enjoy more and more shopping adventures at Commercial Street!

Devi: San Francisco, Bangalore'when it comes to shopping I think we both have no trouble finding excuses to visit the mall Kavya.

Kavya: You are definitely right about that Devi! We've worked hard and the salary offers in both places are desirable. We will be able to afford someindulgence at the shoe store from time to time.


Indecisive - Not able to make choices quickly and confidently.

Phenomenon - Something that is very impressive or popular especially because of an unusual ability or quality.

Inadvertently - Not intended or planned.

Capitalise - To use something in a way that helps you.

Emigrate - To leave a country or region to live elsewhere.

Asset - A valuable person or thing.

Alleviate - To make something less painful, difficult, or severe.

Industrious - Working very hard: not lazy.

Inevitable - Sure to happen.

Indulgence - something that is done or enjoyed as a special pleasure.

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