Ever since 1960s, immigration of medical doctors to America and other western countries continues unabated. It is noteworthy that India supplies the largest number of medical graduates to the U.S. With 59,523 physicians of Indian origin working in the English speaking Western world (the U.S., UK, Australia and Canada combined), India is by far the single largest source of emigre physicians in the world. There are more than 40,838 doctors of Indian origin in America today. The actual number could be higher. It is very nice that Indian doctors are highly rated and respected in America and the western world. We all are proud of this fact.
But it is worth thinking about what India gains by producing thousands of doctors every year and a good number of them emigrate to other western countries, especially to the U.S. The cost of producing a medical doctor to the government is quite high. The seats to medical colleges are very limited. There is fierce competition in getting admitted in a medical college in India. Medical education is burdened with noble responsibility. When a student gets his/her education in this vital field, he/she owes certain responsibility to the country. So, when a medical graduate such as an MBBS doctor emigrates to the U.S. or other country, India is the loser. Yes, the student who has immigrated to other western country will have a better life. But his/her country will be the big loser.
According to data by the Medical Council of India, as of March 2016, the doctor to population ratio in India is very poor and stood at 1 doctor to 1681 persons. As reported by The Times of India, between April 2013 and March 2016, 4,701 doctors who graduated from India chose to go abroad. Those who have emigrated abroad have denied another Indian the same limited seat in the medical college. Government data shows hundreds of posts of doctors, including specialists, continue to remain vacant in government-run hospitals which cater to the needy.
Similarly, the IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) is an exclusive school for training engineering students who are the brightest amongst all Indians. Admission there is fiercely competitive. The seats are limited. It costs India lots of money to educate an IIT graduate. So, when an IIT graduate, after getting his degree, emigrates to the U.S. or other western country, India loses big. Lately, however, there has been a slight decline in international students seeking admission in U.S. graduate schools. Those who want to go abroad should not go into medicine or join IIT in the first place as these seats should be allowed to go to those who plan to live in India and serve their country.
So, what is the solution? The solution is simple. Before admitting any student in a medical college (private or government college) or at IIT, the Indian government should obtain a written pledge from that student that he or she will work and serve in India for ten years (exact number of years could be decided by the government) before emigrating abroad. The violators could be fined appropriately. This way, India gets the benefit of educating that student who is going to serve India. A poor country like India can’t afford educating its students in key sectors and ultimately losing them to other rich countries.
Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.