Relocation not easy: Thanks to Indian work culture
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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 Last month, his job offer was withdrawn.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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Reader's comments(33)
1: In the whole world the only country provide chiken priyani to a terror is India.
Posted by:zcr - 02 Dec, 2009
yeah, yeah you want Indian monies to remain in Europe and America and you suck the blood of India like leaches. And stuff you tummy with Indian priyanis
the whole India will change for the best starting from poor/downtrodden to the highest Indians

kamal indiana Replied to: zcr - 03 Dec, 2009
3: I think India will improve only at its own pace. There is not one issue that needs to be solved but a plethora of them. So, if the NRIs are looking to come back to help India out...then they should do it selflessly and with not a complaining attitude but a fixing attitude. Coz with a complaining attitude, they would run there is not dearth of problems in India....but if they come with a positive attitude to fix things up....come wat may...they would survive....all d best...
Posted by:Ashish Malik - 02 Dec, 2009
well said, Ashish.every indian should contribute a little in the progress of india. whether they are NRIs or those indian who living in india.
K. Indiana Replied to: Ashish Malik - 04 Dec, 2009
5: Guys, there’s an article up on Nature.Com called Innovation Demands Freedom by V.A.Shiva Ayyadurai ( that REALLY gives the scoop on what’s been happening with CSIR and Samir K. Brahmachari. CSIR either needs to be shut down or Brahmachari needs to be held to task on all of this. Also, I found a blog where CSIR scientists have put up Ayyadurai & Sardana’s REPORT and you can download it.
Posted by:vpatel - 01 Dec, 2009
6: Change India for once and for all.

PM MMS can\'t change the Indian constitution and political system by himself. This is the responsibility of all Indians and NRIs to be politically aware and active.
Actually it is not the politicians who are responsible but I strongly believe it is ALL the general and common people of India including every single Indians who are responsible for every negative and positive phenomenon which takes place on the Indian Territory.

Who will take the initiative? We don\'t know. That’s the answer comes in everybody\'s mind. So what is the solution of essential Indian dogmatic problems? Think and react positively to change the India throughout.

Bring and a Political and Social revolution in India.
Posted by:Mr Kamal Indiana - 01 Dec, 2009
please stop this blame game. we Indians will keep blaming one another and rest of the world will capture the Martian territory.
kamal indiana Replied to: Mr Kamal Indiana - 03 Dec, 2009
8: Now Indian growth statments out smarting western move. But fact is completely different if you go into detail. We developed Healthcare systems even better than currently avilable in west, specially keeping in mind helping fellow Indians, but when I wrote to various govts with full information, desapointed by outcome. Now instead of bribing, I\\\'m much focused on other countries. Even if get projects in India, I doubt if it can be done properly and intime in this environment. Its OK for some one who just looking for any business.
Posted by:Indian - 30 Nov, 2009
9: Mr. Prime Minister before Inviting NRI's back to home. please change the politics in India and try to develop necessary Infrastructure every where in the country.
Posted by:Kumar - 30 Nov, 2009
It is the responsibility of every citizen
Riyas Replied to: Kumar - 30 Nov, 2009
first fix your family affairs mr Riyas. the whole country changes if a family changes. you know who i am
bt8czw Replied to: Riyas - 03 Dec, 2009
Can me and you join together and develop infrastructure in India? lol. never. btw if i return to india I will not be paid as I am paid now and I cant meet my responsibilites with that.
Shuaib Replied to: Riyas - 01 Dec, 2009
yes, it is responsibility of every citizens of india and NRIs need to join all the indians in this juncture. It is not only the infrastrutures we should care about but we should care about our coming generations in India in particular and the world in general.
Ahmad from London Replied to: Shuaib - 01 Dec, 2009
14: I think it is a big change to move back to India for an NRI. It is very very hard. Think the other way, in work, why should a non-NRI, who is king of his territory accept competition? Why should he change the way he works i.e. plan everything before implementing. The world inside India works without planning. Then why should someone suddenly accept an NRI's way of thinking? Success in India comes from how good you are in establishing relationships and not on good work.

So i think, rather than changing everything, its easier for an NRI to adjust his work and living style to that in India as long as he is in India.

Again Dr. Manmohan Singh's comment was just a rhetoric. He has seen the world enough to know that nobody will come back unless a great depression happens permanently.
Posted by:biju - 30 Nov, 2009
I completely agree with you, Even if highly educated loos job in west, may prefer to work at gas station then accepting technical job in India even in private sector. USA will be manage to correct their problem before even India change a beat. Look this article and other article from him:
DesBharat Replied to: biju - 30 Nov, 2009
16: I repeat the comment I made earlier. Prime minister should consult his home, foreign, and education as well as industrial affairs ministries and then invite Indian origin talent home after establishing in innovative approaches for the growth at home, especially the investmentments and banking policies that can foster entrapreneurial ventures that can grow high tech jobs and bring educational institutions in India par to its needs so that we do not have to read that 75% of Indian Techies are not employable!

PM need to to invest in his home work!
Posted by:Mike - 30 Nov, 2009
17: I think there is a translation problem in that, in my opinion I think Indians in the past and PM Singh recently were simply WELCOMING Indians back home and not INVITING them back home.

I've never called anyone a repat so that word is strange to me but traffic is in the big cities along with commuter trains (the small cities hardly have the funds for even a bus system). The jobs are in the big cities and I don't know if repats are permitted to start their own small business and work from home but I can tell you that today people do work for companies but work from home so the traffic problem can be eliminated. Pollution comes from many cars and if you're in the berbs then the polution isn't a problem. As far as infrastructure is concerned the US does have ample infrastructure. Bureaucracy is only if one is concerned with the government as in filling out forms or updating things (like visas) but if you have an attorney then they do that for you. Certainly on the wages IT's earn here they could afford an attorney. So see, the problems could be solved easily.
Posted by:Christie Fox - 30 Nov, 2009
18: Dear friends:

I myself am a recently returned NRI from Sydney Australia. After completing my PHD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Post-Doc in the USA, I then emigrated to Australia in 1995 and had a stint with the Australian Govt. Recently returned back to Bharath and now working as a professor of Organic Chemistry at a college here in Southern Bharath... Yes, there are lots of problems and the salary is just a fraction of what I used to make... But the enormous satisfaction of being close to my family (my old parents), my older sister and her family, and most importantly being able to converse freely in my beautiful sounding mother tongue, TAMIL at work and with collegues, being able to instruct students in Tamil now and then when they don't understand a particular concept, my son now speaking good Tamil and calling me Appa and calling mother Amma (not mummy and daddy) and calling grandpa and grandma (thaatha and thaathi), being able to physically serve my parents.... NOTHING CAN BEAT THIS FEELING...

Posted by:Shiva - 30 Nov, 2009
Excellent Master...Very well said :
yes we will Replied to: Shiva - 03 Dec, 2009
20: You can live in the west for a 100 yrs but still u remain a brownie.Come to think of it , you even have to change your name in order to make it more pronounceable to westerners.No matter how efficient, clean,transparent,etc etc the system might be there , its not your own country.all nri's have had put up with various kinds of subtle and not so subtle racism for all their lives.Just ask any one in UK/Australia,etc.US was different but the recession and bad blood created by the code coolies is ruining things there also...
Posted by:Ankit - 30 Nov, 2009
21: goverment , politic , bussiness , law and order , etc is so bad in india that i just cont belive i will be able to survive in india. i have made plans to go back to india several times and every time i get to india things look so difficult and out of control that i just run back to africa
but i would love to stay back in india around my own people

Posted by:Shyam Sundrani - 30 Nov, 2009
22: Well you can't expect India to be equal in transparency, governance etc, overnight as their western countries from where these NRI's are returning or thinking of returning. Yes there are a million problems but you should be aware and given thought to the main problems before taking the decision.

"The repats complained about traffic, lack of infrastructure, bureaucracy and pollution". Of course these problems are there. Didn't the NRI's find about these problems when they came for their 'holiday' in India?

The point is, every place has it own merits and demerits. Do your homework well and stand by your decision.
- Nisha (iITPRO.NET)
Posted by:Nisha - 30 Nov, 2009
23: First of all for guys her practical......
with absolutely no control over increasing commodities prices , rea estate and all basic commodities.......I think hardly any NRI would think of returning except that he had very good economic back up or condition for himself..........from my point of view in India everyone here is in the effort of looting the other .....fierce competition huh.......
The life of a common man is highly vulnerable here..if u take down the figures PRACTICALLY.......anything can be written on paper here......even the newspapers are bribed or politically inclined....

From my point of view the human value in India is quite less that than in west........
Posted by:Dinesh - 30 Nov, 2009
Even US Govt had scams in India its at all level and in US its only in high level. indirectly affecting us. Why health care is so high so is the health insurance. they make us feel insecure and get insurance and make money. Why all the labour rate is so high. U pay more to others by force or legally . In india its thro bribe.. money wise its same.
Well there are hassles in india we knew it was here for centuries and were born and brought up in this so called tough world but thats what made us to face problems. US Govt calls americans as tax payer but not us although wepay more taxes than them and also SSN tax which we may not even use. Bull--it things are every where. US is money minded Govt taxes Insurances Services like Internet or phone charge a lot, Public Transport is waste, so u r forced to get car its insurance AAA etc etc Fuel prices will rise even if there is no price change in Gulf. Its all politics.. but played nicely. Wise politician in us plays clever and Indian politicians play illegally. Its all the happiness matter in the end. Good road, car and house cannot match the happiness to live free in own country with relatives or parents. We all go to earn and get absorbed by maya. Pollution US is major cause of world pollution by using more cars and more toxic things. paper is widely used by western countries. We can write lots of stuff. We are blinded by luxury. I am in US and planning to go back to india
Mano Replied to: Dinesh - 30 Nov, 2009
You are right what you said, but difference is, money you paying in USA is invested back in terms of creating infrastructure, walefare or jobs. But corruption in India goes directly to some ones pocket, but when corrupt peoples kids health get critical, that corrupt money they collecting for their kids or cripled systems can not save their life. I am not saying western system is right, Indian simple system is great but corruption is like viral infaction, it kills country.
Suresh Replied to: Mano - 30 Nov, 2009
dude u r absolutely right
Rahul Replied to: Dinesh - 30 Nov, 2009
27: HI I actually agree with with the author that it is difficult to return to India after living for a long time. Sure a lot of people will say it is comfortable over here compared to India but that is correct in its own ways. I travel a lot and a classic example is when one is looking for a taxi. In India either he will not take you or his meter is not working or they want to work the price out before. In Europe u jump in the local train, tram, bus or even the underground. Sure it is comfortable but it makes us more efficient.
Posted by:ranjit Bhagat - 30 Nov, 2009
28: While the infrastructure in west is superior and environment for start ups are much better in west, the trend I have seen in the US few of the startups have become companies rest were meant to be sold. In India that is not the case. Secondly there were organizations like CDOT which was a success for what it was set up and I know lot of people who left for US from CDOT even today recount that CDOT was their best phase. But real fact for not returning is the comforts they have got used to which is not here and the escape from family responsibilities ( I know I am touching raw nerves, but this a fact!)
Posted by:Athri - 29 Nov, 2009
29: The system should be blamed. what a shame indeed. i mean the case of Ayyadurai is really shameful.
Posted by:fiza - 29 Nov, 2009
30: On Brain Drain to Brain Gain I recall the views of Dr.R.A.Mashelkar, Former Director-General of CSIR at the 97th Convocation of Pune University in December 2003, From Brain Drain to Brain Gain: Beginning of a New Indian Journey,

Let us take the issue of brain drain first. Why does brain drain take place in the first instance? Why do our young students migrate to other developed countries, especially USA?

Invariably it is assumed that the main driving force for brain drain is economic. People go to the developed world in search of gaining a higher income – physical income to be precise. But I do not think that is the only reason. Otherwise, why would the proportion of scientists and engineers from Japan who went to USA, and never returned, would have increased by 50% in the last five years? Japan is a rich developed country unlike India.

I believe that for the young people, it is the ‘psychic income’ that matters much more. Their incentives are not just financial. The fun of creation, admiration received from their peers, the excitement and glory of taking part in the process of creation of something new and exciting, and especially one which can make a big difference to the nation, matters to them much more. That is why a computer engineer works on the challenge of the Param computer in C-DAC on a salary that is a small fraction of what he would get from IBM. That is why a space scientist in ISRO works on the satellite launching vehicle GSLV rather than joining NASA. That is why I came back to this country in 1976 on a princely salary of Rs. 2100 per month, leaving aside a prestigious professorship in a leading university in USA that was offered to me. And it is not only me, there are several others present here who have done it.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP)
Posted by:Dr.A.Jagadeesh - 29 Nov, 2009
Let consider for a while that From Brain Drain to Brain Gain is Beginning of a New Indian Journey, as said in above para. But what is the gaurentee that the brain that come back to India will have a secure jobs. Millions of Indian go out of India for a better prospects just because they were not able to find the same in India. Will they Come back? Will our PM gaurentee NRI the same/ similar Position in India. If NRI's are offered better position then they will be replacing some one. so in that case also this is increase un-employment and readudancy.
Nikhil Replied to: Dr.A.Jagadeesh - 30 Nov, 2009
OK Dr.A.Jagadees .. I also left high income salaried job in US and came back to India in 2008. and there are lot many people coming back her only to found that Indian techies have matured and its lot difficult to compelte with them. Amen
Saurabh Replied to: Dr.A.Jagadeesh - 30 Nov, 2009
Thanks Dr. Jagdish that you have preferred to stay back in India .The reason may be peace of mind that you are enjoying
here enen though your salary may be less than what you might have got there in usa.
I was an immegrant in England in year 1967.
I also preferred to come back and settled in India in1970
y p keshary Replied to: Dr.A.Jagadeesh - 29 Nov, 2009