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Meet the new India-bound NRI

Indians returning home for better jobs and fuller lives is hardly an anomaly these days, writes Meeta Chaitanya.
None | By ATLANTA DIARY | Meeta Chaitanya
UPDATED ON NOV 01, 2005 01:18 AM IST
When Mohan Bhargava in last year's critically acclaimed Ashutosh Gowarikar film comes back and stays for good in his village in India, Indians, most Indians, especially those residing overseas lauded the victory of the spirit of patriotism and its overt manifestation in this manner.

It wasn't a contribution of time, money or effort made by well-off Indians abroad to the community back home that won the day; instead it was a physical, geographical relocation in order to benefit one's country that had the thinking man do a rethink.

Does it really happen?

In its pristinely inspirational form, maybe not - but Indians returning to India, in search of better, yes better jobs and fuller lives is hardly an anomaly these days. India may still live in villages, (and that's not even a primer to the grim reality in the remotest of colonies), but it has become simultaneously, a veritable option for those wanting to revisit the urban habitat.

Even for those of us who have the advantage of annual back-to-base holidays off work, places as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, even Jaipur, Hyderabad, Pune, Chandigarh etc to name a select few, have become rapidly transforming entities that are growing as viable economic, social, residential and commercial hubs.

To cite an example of this trend of relocation that has gripped the imagination of a lot of Indians in this area alone, one needs only to look at the increase in the number of L-1 transferees voluntarily going back to their parent companies in Gurgaon, Noida, Chennai, etc. While some sort of parity in terms of salary, benefits and growth remain major concerns even as a family relocates to India, the very fact of relocation is scarcely regretted.

Even as the US makes steady efforts to increase the number of H1-B visas for technical workers and other specialised personnel from 65,000 visas annually to 95,000, the reverse trend of well-settled Indians exploring, and happily accepting similar opportunities in India has been in motion and is gradually being accepted as a looming possibility.

This movement, which is yet to be an exodus across industries, is seen primarily in the IT sector - and not without reason. With India as home to new endeavours in this industry such as the setting up of Microsoft Research India Lab, Scientia, a facility for research in computer systems and software engineering among other such instances, the IT community abroad is optimistic of options back home. MS is reportedly to increase its headcount in India manifold in the near future.

Another development that is seen as a positive thrust for opportunity is the much-touted forthcoming acquisition of the life and pension businesses of the UK-based Pearl Group by TCS. According to published reports, TCS' UK subsidiary is set to absorb most of Pearl's current employees as also focus on business process outsourcing for its insurance policies. Headcount at Intel's Bangalore facility is reportedly set to increase by year-end.

Similarly iGATE Global Solutions, another growing tech operations company operating out of its headquarters in Hyderabad is reportedly ready to double its employee strength at its development centre at Banjara Hills over the next couple of years.

Whether or not software professionals relocating to India may gain directly by such expansion, acquisitions and mergers, the indirect and voluminous growth in the sector per se is reason enough for hope. That, and the availability of an equivalent quality of living such as NRI cities, top of the line facilities and services, superlative education and employment opportunities for spouses and children, recreational avenues and products being available, even if they come at a dear cost.
 
The returning Indian from Atlanta may not be the Mohan Bhargava of an idyllic marquee, but the very fact that his return to India is made possible because India can give him almost all and any that he can buy abroad with the added scope for useful contribution, makes this more than an achromatic milestone.

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