A near 50 per cent repatriation of Indian students from Australia is a gain for a fast growing Indian economy predicted to occur at a shortfall of 500,000 knowledge workers by 2010. Sarat C Das reports.
Indian government, which spends $ 11 billion on nearly 120,000 students for their education abroad thus significantly contributing to the $30-billion global higher education trade, does obtain dismal return on investment. Majority of students prefer not to return -- hence they don't impact India's bete noir of large unskilled manpower -- and also, their remittances to home are not extollingly high enough as China.
However, Australia appears to be a different story as nearly 50 percent of the students return home to become a part of a fast growing Indian economy, according to Australian Alumni Association. India's surplus of manpower in ICT sector is disproved a recent Nasscom-McKinsey report predicted a shortfall of 500,000 knowledge workers by 2010, mainly due to lack of suitable talent. Also the country is already facing of an imminent scarcity of skilled manpower in many areas which include some traditional engineering disciplines.
IDP Education Australia, the official student recruiting agency for Australian Universities, which forecasts the population of Indian students to exceed to cross 80,000 by 2020, too believes the return of large Indian students may become a feature. Indian students enrolment, which witnessed a boom in 1997, reached 18500 in 2007. Over 27,000 Indian students already were studying in Australia in 2007 and about 150,000 students had gone to Australia till last year.
"I reckon the permanent residency in Australia with an investment of two years allow many students to return India with the option to seamlessly travel between two countries at will either for employment or business," said Rishi Singla, President of Australian Alumni Association (AAA).
"Both India and Australia are growing economy and opportunities to do cross-country business is huge," said Rishi Singla who divides his time between Melbourne and Mumbai managing his logistics company.
The high number of repatriated students from Australia is emerging as a big social community. "Realising this, we created a social and networking platform in India for Australian alumni with chapters in all Indian metros and Melbourne," said George Cherain, Founding President of AAA.
"Also, we are expanding our base to second tier Indian cities such as Indore," said Cherian.
"We have created a huge online resource base and an interactive site
and it would be a single-window for all the requirements this community would require or other people who would like to associate with this community for business and socialsing," said Cherian.