Indian Government’s myopia: cites the outflow loss due to overseas studies without considering the inflow from them later.

Kids take out Rs 27000cr: Govt – Estimate in HRD note for panel vetting foreign varsity legislation
BASANT KUMAR MOHANTY’s article in The Telegraph of this day is only half the story. The bigger story is that the amount that gets returned to India later by the very same students is much larger and inflow-outflow is certainly in India’s advantage. 

Basant is a friend and his “half-article” is on this link. I recommend that he does a sequel to his article now that I have pointed this out and I shall once again summarise at the end of this blog. Excerpts from his article below…












New Delhi, March 8: Indian students are spending abroad Rs 27,000 crore a year or more than twice the amount set aside in the Union budget for higher education, according to an estimate by the human resource development ministry.

The specific figure was cited in a note submitted by the ministry to a parliamentary standing committee that is vetting a bill to allow foreign universities into the country.

The ministry has put the expenditure incurred by Indian students for overseas education at “$5.5 billion (Rs 27,000 crore)” a year. The figure is more than double the Rs 13,100 crore the Union government proposes to spend on higher education in 2011-12.

Weighed against the current total of 2.64 lakh Indian students studying abroad, the expenses per person on the basis of the ministry’s estimate come to around Rs 10. 22 lakh. The figure — the per capita count is only an indicator as fees vary widely from college to college and country to country — is on the lower side, compared with the annual bill in many well-regarded universities in the West.

The ministry note does not say so explicitly but the suggestion behind the estimate appears to be a reminder that the country can keep back a part of the huge amount if foreign universities are allowed to operate here. The ministry has suggested several qualitative reasons for doing so.

But some academics have pointed out that not all students go abroad in pursuit of studies. M. Anandakrishnan, an educationist, cited the example of Australia which hosts nearly 90,000 Indian students.

He said many students were pursuing courses like hairdressing and cookery — some in substandard institutions — with the objective of settling down there. “Most students going to Australia aim at permanent residency status. They want to migrate to that country as it provides better job opportunities,” he said.

An HRD ministry official said the US remained the most favoured destination for Indian students. Nearly 1 lakh Indian students are pursuing higher studies in the US, followed by Australia and the UK (around 20,000). Some other destinations are Germany, France, New Zealand and Singapore.

Full article is on this link

“Post Study Work Overseas” is one of the key consideration by Indian students when choosing to study overseas and also in the choice of the country. It should be read slightly differently to PR or Permanent Residency. Several countries allow students to work for a period of time to gain experience and/or repay their educational loans in India and/or recoup their investment in education. Some go on to seek settlement or migration. In all these considerations, the outflow of forex from India has been repatriated back to India either in short, medium or long term. In our excitement to count the inflow by NRIs into India, we  often forget that they all (most if not all) went out as International Students. There is also gain in non-monetory terms. The exercise of their clout in the various countries once they settle down, helps India’s global presence and helps it to exercise clout.

Overseas Education and the outflow of funds for it has long ceased being a drain… Wake up bureaucrats… Justify the foreign education bill but do present the full picture…



  1. Ha Ha Ha!
    India’s policy makers forget that in the 21st century only those country will prosper who acknowledge KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! The Know-how acquired provides Indian industries and society enough skills to build capabilities for developing products and services for the world. Our export earnings resulting from acquired know-how cannot be ignored.It is wellknown NRI’s are not equal to brain drain, but brain gain. NRI’s remit great sums back in to India.(Donot forget what CHINA has acquired from their citizens acquiring knowledge abroad)


  2. This is the problem with most policy makers, They sometimes stray away from the ground realities. The policy makers now a days are tyring change everything in a hurry,not realising that some existing policies are actually performing good.
    Similar Policy blunders have been committed by the Aussies, and now UK is bringing in change.


  3. Your blog reminds me of the 90’s era, where computers in India were seen as a threat to reduce employment and was widely opposed by the Govt staff. Just last week the SBI CEO mentioned that in 2010 they opened 1500 branches and recruited 30,000 people and all this would not have been possible without technology and computing.


    1. I think they know all sides of the coin. Just that they use arguments to suit their purpose and in this case it is to give arguments for the foreign education bill so that the left doesnot oppose. They say that it will save India money… Ha Ha ha


  4. The policy makers in India should understand that a good student usually goes to foreign universities for further studies. In addition to this Indian society gives high regard to a person who has studied or is working / living abroad. The NRI tag, foreign returned, green card etc, are held in high esteem in every part of India. There tags play a important role in the marriage market too

    The craze for imported furniture, electronics, cars and other household items has always been desired in India. People here believe that the quality of imported things is much better than Indian manufactured items and it’s the same in the education sector too

    Great Indian leaders like Late Sri Jawar Lal Nahru / Late Sri Mahatma Gandhi have all studies abroad and this scenario is continuing and will continue

    It’s a myth that once foreign universities set up campuses here in India, this will stop Indian students from going abroad to study (May not happen


    1. I agree that it is a myth that opening of foreign campuses in India will stop students from going overseas to study. The policy makers donot understand the reason why students go overseas to study and often think that it is a Plan B when the students donot get an admission in India. Some are like that but many aim at overseas education from early days itself and for them it is Plan A and not Plan B. Infact if they donot get the visa, they opt to study in India as their last option…


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