Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said India has overcome the problem of ‘brain drain’ and is drawing on the global ‘brain bank’ of people of Indian origin.
“Today, we in India are experiencing the benefits of the reverse flow of income, investment and expertise from the global Indian diaspora,” he said at the Hiren Mukherjee Memorial Lecture in the Parliament House.
Welcoming the renowned economist Jagdish Bhagwati, who delivered the annual lecture, Singh said that the problem of ‘brain drain’ has been converted into an opportunity of ‘brain gain’.
“We are drawing on the global ‘brain bank’ of people of Indian origin world wide”, he said, adding Bhagwati was one of the shining stars of that community of global Indians.
The Prime Minister said that Bhagwati was among the first to study the phenomenon of ‘brain drain’ and identify its benefits for the country.
Noting that Bhagwati was among the architects of the World Trade Organisation and continued to guide it, Singh said Bhagwati and his wife were pioneers among economists who questioned the efficacy of the licence-permit control raj.
In his remarks, Vice President Hamid Ansari, apparently referring to the ongoing pandemonium in Parliament, said that founding fathers took great pride in the effective working of Parliament.
“It is in the arena of public debate that one looks back with a sense of nostalgia to the initial years of our Republic,” he said.
He said that Bhagwati has addressed the issue of societal inequalities and has argued that any discussion of inequality has to be in a social and political context and can not be an academic or statistical exercise.
“The ambit of the term ‘reform’ goes beyond correctives to economic activity. To what extent have Indian reforms alleviated poverty and addressed inequality is a subject matter not just for the economists,” Ansari said.
Observing that it would also be pertinent to explore the need for fundamental reforms in non-economic contexts, especially in governance, he said “we can ill afford the economic, social and political cost of not addressing reforms in these contexts.”