In 2018, before the pandemic, the Afro Asian Bank in its Global Wealth Migration Review reported that 15,000 rich persons migrated out of China, 7,000 from Russia, 5,000 from India and 4,000 from Turkey. The report says that one main reason for outmigration from a country is safety. Religious disturbances are said to be the second reason. The presence of religious disputes leads to agitations and endangers the security. The third reason is freedom of media and entertainment. This is important because the rich may want to live in a “free” environment. They do not like that they may be prevented from obtaining information freely. Fourth reason is the low rate of economic growth. We may understand this to indicate the less availability of opportunities which again translates into social disturbances. The Indian economy has become like an inverted funnel that is sucking out the wealth and sending it to foreign countries. The Government must consider the following steps to manage these reasons of out migration.

First, The Government must institute external evaluation of all senior police officers. The Fifth Pay Commission had recommended that external evaluation be got done of all Class A Officers of the Government. However this was put in cold storage at the behest of the bureaucrats. Implementation of such evaluation would provide the Government with better information regarding the police officials that are more efficient in controlling crime.

Second, the Prime Minister had expressed his resolve to make Varanasi the global spiritual capital. Followers of different religions live together peacefully in countries like Malaysia and states like Kerala in our country. One reason is that the followers are more aware about the beliefs of the other religions and do not consider them antagonistic to their beliefs. The Government must establish “Indian Institute of Religions” on the lines of IITs and IIMs in each state. Departments of different religions may be stablished in these institutes so that a constructive dialogue takes place and better understanding is created between the religions.

Three, Kabir had said “Keep the critics near yourself. They cleanup your temperament without soap and water.” The Government must give special advertisements to those print media and TV channels that engage in constructive criticism of the Government. Such would create an atmosphere of freedom in the minds of the rich. The rich will then not be afraid and not want to migrate for this reason.

Four, our GDP growth rate has been declining in the last six years. At the same time the share markets have been rising and rising. The reason of these contradictory movements is that our economic policies are supporting large businesses and making it difficult for the small businesses to survive. This policy of killing the small businesses and handing over their market to large business on a platter was supposedly made to make it attractive for the rich to stay in India. It is having exactly the opposite effect, however. The killing of small businesses is leading to less demand in the economy, lower growth rate and less opportunities for the rich even though they may be making more profits immediately. This is like the plentiful availability of chocolates but no bread. In the end, the rich are leaving despite making profits because they do not see the economy growing.

Lastly, the Government must impose and “Exit Tax” of those rich and educated who want to surrender their Indian citizenship. The United States has the provision that any person surrendering the US citizenship has to may a huge “exit tax.” The idea is that the person has benefitted from the public services of the United Sates and she must repay to the United Sates the monies spent by the US on her welfare. Large numbers of rich along with graduates of IITs and IIMs are migrating to greener pastures in foreign countries. They must be required to pay a huge exit tax. Perhaps that will dissuade some. In any event, it may provide good revenues to India to compensate for their outmigration.

Bharat Jhunjhunwala, formerly Professor of Economics at IIM Bengaluru



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  1. Satya Vara Prasad Arundhati says:

    In a world that is knit closely together by internet and other innovations the idea of taxing the experts who migrate to other countries is anachronistic.
    Our government should take a leaf out of PRC.In the last 5 years chinese government has encouraged reverse migration of Chinese experts who migrated to west.They were promised all intellectual freedom necessary for their innovatieve pursuits in China’s “East Ivy league universities”.That explains the rich harvest of benefits which Chinese society has reaped off late.
    In our country during Manmohan Singh’s era we went on talking about reverse migration without creating a conducive atmosphere.
    Coming to Authors idea of international spiritual centres
    in India is nothing but Shahensa Jalaluddin Akbar’s Din-E-Elahi in a modern garb Old wine in a brand new bottle.

  2. countercurrents says:

    Nat Kallapadi writes,

    ” I agree with the reasons for immigrating out. The one other reason which is not mentioned is opportunities available. If you look at most successful immigrant folks in US, they find this country offering the most in terms of facilities and of course money. Without getting into the good and bad about Capitalism, this is a big driver for legal immigration.

    I checked about the exit taxes when you relinquish US citizenship. There is nothing like that. Yes, you have to follow a process to relinquish your citizenship and that includes paying all taxes due to the government. There is no penalty or taxes as the article seems to indicate. In this regard one of the things that will make folks not ‘run away’ from India or ‘relinquish’ their indian citizenship is because India does NOT allow dual citizenship. If India moves to that model, then you will find that very few will give up Indian citizenship.

    The last point is this, no matter what kind of tax or penalty you levy, people will find ways to get away from a place that does not suit them. In the past, lack of information of the available opportunities kept us in the dark. Now, in the age of the internet, information is freely available to everybody. Hence, folks will move to where ever that helps them most in getting them what they want. I think ‘patriotism’ will be a factor, but not necessarily the primary driver to be or not be in a country. Remember, there are milliions of Indians in foreign countries who are doing great things for the Indian economy, directly or indirectly.”