Why Do NRI Professionals Find India So Difficult ?

22 11 2016

As Indian companies want to expand overseas and become globally competitive, one often cited prescription is to get the best people particularly NRI professionals to work in India.

Some NRIs are keen to return to India for various reasons, sometimes professional and sometimes personal or both. Compensation at the top is hardly a constraint these days for top professionals.

Yet, I see from several anecdotal evidences that the NRIs who choose to return to India taking plum assignments in top corporates or even government, wish to return back and many do.

Raghuram Rajan is back to teaching at Chicago. Kaushik Basu is back to US as a World Bank Economist. The recently fired Nirmalya Kumar after being in Mumbai for three and a half years is also leaving India, though he has not announced where he is heading.

I have spoken to a few friends who chose to return back after spending a few years here and this is their gripe about India and Indian organisations.

1. Professionalism in even the so-called professionally managed organisations is a 3 Micron gold plating. Beneath the coat is feudalism, bureaucracy, nepotism and a deep seated hatred for outsiders. Factions based on state, caste, village and colleges prevail. Merit is often the casualty. Mutual respect and valuing other persons time is more an exception than a rule.

2. The families find it very difficult to navigate the daily life in India. Be it the school or the traffic or getting simple things done at home. Unlimited patience and perseverance is required. Also, one can hardly trust anyone, because falsehoods and promising more and delivering less is the norm here.

3. The high pressure school environment in India with almost total focus on academics often puts off children who started studying in a western system.

4. India is no longer inexpensive. For global class goods and services, you pay dollar prices.

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