Relocation not easy: Thanks to Indian work culture

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 30 November 2009, 02:22 Hrs   |    33 Comments
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Relocation not easy: Thanks to Indian work culture
New Delhi: In recent years, India has welcomed back tens of thousands of former emigrants and their offspring. When he visited U.S. this week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh personally extended an invitation to all Indian-Americans and nonresident Indians who wish to return home. But, many Indians who spent most of their lives in North America and Europe are finding that they can't go home again.

Take for instance, Shiva Ayyadurai who left Mumbai with his family nearly 40 years ago, and promised himself that he would return to India someday to help his country. In June this year, Ayyadurai, now 45, moved from Boston to New Delhi hoping to make good on that promise. An entrepreneur and lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a number of American degrees, he was the first recruit of an ambitious government program to lure talented scientists of the so-called desi diaspora back to their homeland, reports New York Times.

"It seemed perfect," he said recently of the job opportunity. But it wasn't. As Ayyadurai sees it now, his Western business education met India's notoriously inefficient, opaque government, and things went downhill from there. Within weeks, he and his boss were at loggerheads. Last month, his job offer was withdrawn. Ayyadurai has moved back to Boston.

About 100,000 returnees will move from the U.S. to India in the next five years, estimates Vivek Wadhwa, a Research Associate at Harvard University who has studied the topic. These repats, as they are known, are drawn by India's booming economic growth, the chance to wrestle with complex problems and the opportunity to learn more about their heritage. They are joining multinational companies, starting new businesses and even becoming part of India's sleepy government bureaucracy.

But a study by Wadhwa and other academics found that 34 percent of repats found it difficult to return to India - compared to just 13 percent of Indian immigrants who found it difficult to settle in the U.S. The repats complained about traffic, lack of infrastructure, bureaucracy and pollution.

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