India's missing generation

One thing that struck me on my recent trip to India was, Where is the next generation of kids? I remember there were at least 10 of us playing cricket in the narrow lane in front of our house during my school and college days.

On this trip home, we could hardly manage to get 4 guys to play the game or even to hang out. Agreed that most of the people are working and find no time to come together. But a random count of the kids in our lane gave out an interesting finding. More than 50% of my cricket buddies are out of India. Some in Ireland, London, Australia, US and myself in Singapore.

brain drain

In the 80s and 90s there was a favourite word used by the media and that was about “Brain drain”. After enjoying subsidised education, people moved on to the US, Europe etc for higher education. After finishing the education, they took up jobs, got their green cards, bought property and settled down in the foreign lands. They visited India only for short holidays.

Today, 25 odd billion USD is being pumped back into India every year, by these same people who once went out of India to study. What was once considered by the government as the worst crisis to hit India has slowly changed into an asset. This unlimited flow of foreign currency has lead to a consumption boom in India.

All the billions that flow into India are being consumed in the form of constructing houses, buying automobiles and other luxuries that were once beyond the reach of the common man. People are ending up with bigger houses, more money to spend and this in turn has fueled a retail boom. Real estate is booming, insurance, mobile telephony, ports, airports, infrastructure, aviation etc has moved the Indian economy from the so called hindu rate of growth (4%) to a blistering 8% growth annually.

Even though the missing generation of kids are not in India, they still seem to be reluctant to cut the umbilical cord that connects them to their birthplace. Isn’t it funny that the same media/government that railed against “brain drain” today felicitates them by organising events like the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.