Saturday, March 18, 2006

Times of Mind - Open The Borders

Times of Mind - Open The Borders

I very much agree with views of Subroto Bagchi that India should open its borders for talented people from neighboring countries. Apart from supplying a good talent, this step will work more towards making India as a regional power. Our neighbors would be lured to be a part of our success story rather than envy it and try to sabotage it.

Though critics may talk about Indians who are un-employed and foreign nationals taking away their jobs, but I think this fears are not profound with reality. Actually there is a big shortage of talented people in IT / ITES sector and this change would be welcomed by whole Indian industry. Also a confluence of regional talent would do more good for our industry to climb up the global value chain.

Another opposition to this idea may come from the argument that we would be raising competition for ourselves as the foreign nationals will return back to their countries and start out on their own taking away our business. Well this is a fact of life. Why do we crib to US to increase their visa quotas. But I think competition is always beneficial to bring out best in us. And such a productive competition should be very much encouraged than a arms or nuclear weapons race. Its a race to top and not to bottom.

Any fears on national security to allow professionals from neighboring countries should not be great concern as there are already a large number of illegal occupants. Those are the people who stay in India with no official record while professionals would be coming in with proven credentials which could be easily verified and checked. Also the professionals would themselves be careful so as to not brush up on the wrong side of the Indian laws. It would be in better interest of national security to curb illegal immigrants and welcome legitimate and talented ones.

15 comments:

Kapil said...

I wonder what makes u think tht opening up borders will bring the bright minds here ??? What would definately happen that the lowest strata of their society will come here for a better life ..You must aware of the Bangladeshi immigrant population issue...
As it is we have enough issues and enogh labour..every day trains bring the poor from UP Bihar to Delhi n Mumbai in quest for a bttr life..do u think we can accomodate aliens ??..Good brains in those countries would rather go to US...We Indians should actually help those countries by providing resources/technologies/investments so thatthe talent stays thr only so for the bttrment of society thr..way ..This my friend would be a bttr option..Imagine the kind of goodwill it would generate..and if our neighbours prosper..they wud reduce thr indulgence in disturbing activities ;).

Abhishek said...

I am a bit uncomfortable in providing plain monetary support to any of these countries fearing that money would be siphoned back to support terrorist activities in India. Instead I would better support idea of their talented people coming in and knowing India first hand. As these would go back and influence their leadership to be in good books of India. Its all on lines of current Indo-US relationship. We have come a full circle from an pro-Soviet era to now a friend of US one.

Of course, by open borders I do not mean "open without any control" but just that obtaining a work visa should be easy for technically sound people. This way we can regulate inflow of unwanted lower strata immigrants. Yes people go to US but again US do not give visa to all. We may still be able to find talented people.

The idea is not just about few people working in India but it is a small step towards a very long term goal of brand India. India has everything to be a place of choice for all.

Parthiv said...

First do the generalizations... Then blame the Government....

I agree with the point that there should be no restriction on the movement of Money / People. But these things are "ideal". "Ideal" means that the countries have good rapport and they want to go forward and providing benefit to all (almost all). That is the biggest catch. We forgot our neibours like Pakistan,Bangladesh doing to us. And in this fighting we lost some 5,25,000 people and still losing many more. This is not to portray grim picture. But the point is : their activities is still going on !! And if we really releax visa norms , anyone can come in and you will see more blasts like IISC... This (releaxing of norms) will create more problems for our RAW,IB,military etc.. (they are already in a dire state). So we have to be cautious about this way. Other point is : it is a myth that only uneducated people become terrorists... This is the biggest problem. If you just see how much sophistication terrorist use today (9/11,websites,encryptions etc..) , you will get the idea (there are many engg,doctors,profs who join this movements...)
So I have to say that I really disagree with this point.

Parthiv said...

First do the generalizations... Then blame the Government....

I agree with the point that there should be no restriction on the movement of Money / People. But these things are "ideal". "Ideal" means that the countries have good rapport and they want to go forward and providing benefit to all (almost all). That is the biggest catch. We forgot our neibours like Pakistan,Bangladesh doing to us. And in this fighting we lost some 5,25,000 people and still losing many more. This is not to portray grim picture. But the point is : their activities is still going on !! And if we really releax visa norms , anyone can come in and you will see more blasts like IISC... This (releaxing of norms) will create more problems for our RAW,IB,military etc.. (they are already in a dire state). So we have to be cautious about this way. Other point is : it is a myth that only uneducated people become terrorists... This is the biggest problem. If you just see how much sophistication terrorist use today (9/11,websites,encryptions etc..) , you will get the idea (there are many engg,doctors,profs who join this movements...)
So I have to say that I really disagree with this point.

Abhishek said...

Hey Parthiv

Sure your concerns are genuine and realistic. What I am suggesting has never been tried before. But what you imply has been tried n no of times before and has never been foolproof. While I am suggesting an Utopian scenario.

You will agree that Israel's Mossad is arguably among the best intelligence of the world. But even then it cannot stop all attacks to its country. If people around us are determined to attack us then they will. We can just defend ourselves including defence by offence. But we have to acknowledge that at times we may fails also and disaster like 9/11 may happen.

How do we put an end to it all? Remove the cause of attack.

I know I am talking idealistic. But do we have a solution? Right now we are just fighting and loosing our brave men for status quo.

Abhishek said...

Coming to issue of educated vs non-educated terrorists, I agree that they have a bunch of highly talented but misguided people.

I am not certain but sure that the 9/11 guys were quite educated but still gave up their life in such a terrible cause. But I believe that is one such stray incidence else in most cases the "fidayeens" are always under educated ones while the more educated are up in the hierarchy plotting such condemned acts. Those guys are there as there is money. Money which comes from illegal trade like that of narcotics. But who buys the narcotics ? The economically underprivileged people. One who has no hope in life. of course there are well to do people as well but their participation is limited and also most of them have their near and dear ones who at times intervene and get them off.

I feel that all these vices like terrorism, corruption etc are linked to poverty and in turn to opportunities in terms of education and making ones dreams come true.

These are the root causes which we should try to contain. Not only for us but for our enemies also. As Sun Tzu wrote in his "The Art of War" about 2500 yrs back "The supreme act of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting..."

Kapil said...

no 1 would trust them with money ...but wht v cud do is to build and set up stuff..colleges ,transportation..like v doin in afghanistan ..im not sure how mch wud the neighbours allow us ..but its a hope...
thrz not much 2 entice padosi minds here nehws coz as i said ....US is still utopia..not 2 mention India being percieved a sub continental bully..so first rather generate goodwill thn mayb v cud even have somethin on the lines of EU

Abhishek said...

I guess I did not made my point clear. My prime motive in supporting the idea is to make India a more powerful economy which can attract good people from around the world and sustain its economic rise. And this trend can be started from neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, SriLanka etc which has a good supply of talented people and those countries are definitly not the best place to live in. So there is definitly a scope of "pulling out" some good people who can contribute to Indian economy. The idea is similar to what we call 'brain drain' in India where cream Indian talent is lured by US primary because those people are frustated at opportunities and situations in India.

I am not against philanthrophic activities of building schools and hospitals, but lets first get such things in order in our own country. And to do that what we need? Strong economy and good talented people primarily among host of other things.

On a side note I am hoping that if India is succesful in this pursuit, then probably at some point those expariates from neighbouring countries may return back and make people there understand the power of India and it would be in there interest then to keep good relations with India.

I fully acknowledge that this is something which cannot happen tomorrow but it promise a better future.

And we are not just opening our border for any Tom, Dick or Harry but hand pick talented people and give them work visa.

May be in this light you may find my views more agreeable. Not?

Kapil said...

well what u r saying sounds sweet...and I appreciate the thought..but my dear friend ..you are surely overrating the capabilities of our neighbours..they simply do not have the pool to make ur idea feasible..sure pakis r good at IT..the made the world's first comp virus for heavenz sake...but we can't force them to like us ...even if we offer them more money and opportunities than US..I have interacted with some Pakistanis on internet forums and get the idea that they are ambivalent abt thr feelings twrds India...but they don't see themselves contributing to its success in any way....whtevr ppl may say bout similar culture n wht not ,the fact remains tht deep down they hold a grudge againstIndia..opportunities here won't make a difference ..unless we overcome the mindblocks....nehows we should rather look at gettin brains from the developed world rather than play messiah to the neighbourhoods downtrodden...

Abhishek said...

Attract talent from developed world to work in India? Why would a person come here? Migration usually happens from less to more. We have to be more developed than the developed to attract their talent.

Computer Virus, hmm.. but can you see the positive side of it? It means that they have ability and talent to work with internals of a computer/network system. Can we regulate some of this type and put to more constructive work? Probably we can.

Nobody migrates with thought of contributing to success of another country, but they do for their own. The Indian contributing to America are not inspired by that thought, but the dollar dreams are very real and the help it provides them back home in terms of raising their social status and style of living is a very big motivator.

My Friend Kapil, we are already close to 60 yrs post independence and have not gone much ahead in terms of our economy and living standard. In fact overpopulation, pollution etc are degrading our life. We need to break out of this vicious cycle of "developing economy".. Let us rest some of our fears aside for time being and try a different strategy. We might have a better chance of winning.

Military may not be the best method to win wars, Else how would have US lost its face in Vietnam and to an extent in Afghanistan and Iraq. We need to win and win it all fast.

Don't you think so?

Kapil said...

Nobody migrates with thought of contributing to success of another country, but they do for their own.
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Fair Enough..but if ur talking in terms of money only then ur focussing only on the cabbie or the grocery store owner.
The Professional would leave for foriegn shores
a)Lack of opportunities here
b)Better available opportunities there
c)Better quality of life
d)Challange
I believe we can now actually provide all of the above..
The western markets have matured and most of them are now stagnating or posting negative growth.
On the other hand India is witnessing a boom so noone can afford to miss this.I dont just mean the IT guys ...but even the Mgmt.Maybe we will see Indian companies actively recruiting from the HBS or Sloan's of the world for opeinings in India.
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we are already close to 60 yrs post independence and have not gone much ahead in terms of our economy and living standard.
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well in the last 15 years of so we have seen tremendous improvements in infrastructure
Our telecom networks are amongst the best in the world.Our roads have become world class (even in the interiors )..People have a greater purchsing power than before ..
Im typing this text on my laptop connected thru a broadband in my office making an argument for recruiting westerners who have more or less looked 2 us as the land of snake charmers n ur sayin v have not progressed ???
Sure the benifits have not trickled to the poorest of poor,but that is due to the lack of will or application amongst the decision makers and not becuse we lack the resources ..having said that ,have u wondered we have so good relations with our former colonial oppressors while we have strained ties with one country wh was a part of us..

Abhishek said...

Hey kapil

>well in the last 15 years of so we >have seen tremendous improvements in >infrastructure
>Our telecom networks are amongst the >best in the world.Our roads have >become world class (even in the >interiors )..People have a greater >purchsing power than before ..

This sounds more like the former BJP govt's India Shinning campaign. What you are saying is correct, but is applicable only to a TINY part of the country. Don't believe me? try travelling on road through states like MP, UP and Bihar or even countryside of Maharashtra. See for your self how many people have cell phones in the hinterlands and how far their purchasing power have increased in last decade or so.

We are very fortunate to not experience the pain of having power for only few hours a week, or to walk kms for drinking water which cannot be called safe. but our Sensex still depends on rain gods. We are no where if you see India in a holistic sense.

But yes we have a very good prototype which seems successful and replicable and where India indeed shines. Its time now for us to make India fully shine. For this we need determination, discipline and some out of box thinking.

I am not sure of your argument. I acknowledge that you are skeptic to idea of opening up borders for some valid reasons. But opening up of borders is not the end, it is just one of many means to meet the end of a deserving position and say in world economics and politics. Are you suggesting that we have had enough of shinning and any further effort will take it away?

Lets take this debate towards some conclusion...

Kapil said...

well abhishek..my line of work involves travelling to remote places n training staff for the client...n i extensively travelled over rajastan punjab haryan mp n evn parts of UP..n these places are often 100 kmz frm nearest town....plz refer to my early posts on my blog archives during aug-sep 2005
If u rmmbr somethin like 5-7 yrz back...it used 2 take jugaad to get a phone connection early ,imagine thr was a waitin period of 2 yrz 2 get 1..now even MTNL has 2 advertise..
We talked abt the futility of having the 'last mile' connect in our villages..i believe tht soon thr wud b atleast 1 phn in every village of India..wireless technologies have significantly brt the cost of telecom deployment...
U must have noticed I lay a lot of stress on telecom...bcoz communication is the harbinger of growth...once u r connected ...prosperity will follow...govt becomes answerable...as ppl become aware
O
ur sensex is like our cricket team ..once it was totally dependant on Sachin (Monsoons)..no v have other things 2 look fwd 2..the fact was v were a primarily agrarian economy and totally dependent on rains ..now services contribute a major share of the GDP..more ovr v r farin bttr on agri front 2..read this months india today 4 some dope on tht...U must also b aware of ITC's e-choupal initiative ...so technology is the great levelller tht WILL bring prosperity .

Its a shame tht ppl still go foodless despite wht all i may say here...fact is FCI godowns are stacked with rations for something like 3 yrz stock in anticipation of famine ..a good lot of the foodgrain is destroyed by the rodents...n govt sits on it as a safety buffer.....pvt players are not allowed yet(this yr thr was somethin in the budget)...coz this mite encourage hoarding n black marketing (sic)
Abhishek .. When I say growth,it can't b in absolute terms of course ...my argument is tht now the realities have changed n we can no longer blame it on lack of resources or bhagwaan either..
The problem still remains the system...no matter how much 'India Shines's ..the babudom n netagiri would see to it tht curtains r still on ...
We are a nation of contradictions and being able to live at peace despite tht makes us a grt nation

As for the gettin the Padosi's here ( the orignal argument;)) well..i wud say its a futile cause..firstly they don't have the numbers...so any effort to enegage them wud b for posterityz sake ..can u imagine even if they r thr...wud they b allowed 2 grow beyond the glass ceiling ??wud ppl nb comftble dealing with em ..or takin orders frm em...for tht mattr even durin a indo pak cricket match ;)..i was watchin a prog on cnbc whr they talked bout the ceo crisis in india...thrz a vacum at the top n ppl r lookin at expatirates frm west...itz a win win situation coz those ppl have exposure n experience to the bigger game rathr thn nethin or ne1 else....Ur entitled to ur opinion ..but I dont see it more than something small artilce in the newspaper ...n u post some othr engaging topic or il argue wid u 2 eternity on this ...

Kapil said...

hey do read my earlier posts whr i mention my trips...mayb ul find sumthin intrstin

Shreedhar said...

I thought I’d share with you another of Mr. Bagchi’s recent articles. You could access it at the following link: http://www.mindtree.com./docs/Letter_to_Small_Bear_by_Subroto_Bagchi__final_.pdf