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Trends in Brain Drain, Gain and Circulation

February 24, 2016

Looking back into the 1960s and perhaps 1970s on the discourse and controversy of brain drain, there exists different perspectives on migration of trained (or to be trained) brains to more developed countries. From a contemporary perspective, one can see today that the issue and the phenomena of brain drain, still persists and there is plethora of literature on this subject.

The migration of skilled workforce is stemming as far back since 1960 and has undergone various phases in last five decades with important implications for both, host as well as receiving countries. Scholarship on migration of skilled workforce deals with the phenomena mainly, as three different but overlapping concepts, namely—‘Brain Drain’, ‘Brain Gain’ and most recently ‘Brain Circulation’ which is explained in this article from Science, Technology and Society Journal

The term ‘Brain Drain’ is used as a synonymous of the movement of human capital, where the net flow of expertise is heavily in one direction thus in context human resource development in developing economies the brain drain is treated as loss of human talent. ‘The basic idea of the brain gain hypothesis is that intellectual and technical elites from the third world who immigrated to an industrialized country represent a potential resource for the socioeconomic development of their home country.’

Investments in the education system and science and technology system have resulted in the endowment of highly qualified human resources. And therefore skilled workforce started leaving country due to lack of opportunities but study reveal that young Indian professionals, high on skills and in demand, are ready to move any time anywhere in the world but for short duration. They would like to keep in touch with their relevant professional world and develop links which would incentivise them and the country.

Therefore we can conclude that in Indian case brain drain, brain gain and circulation concepts are overlapping and continuous and directly or indirectly the improvements in R&D spending and strengthening of research and innovation ecosystem will go a long way to curb and arrest brain drain and aid brain gain and circulation.

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