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Brain Drain Again: Read the Chinese Tea Leaves

A concentrated effort to woo and bring the brightest Indian students overseas back to the country is the need of the hour.

January 27, 2021 / 03:58 PM IST
The Joe Biden administration is gearing up to make it easier for graduates of US universities with degrees in STEM subjects to stay in the US. (Image: Reuters)

The Joe Biden administration is gearing up to make it easier for graduates of US universities with degrees in STEM subjects to stay in the US. (Image: Reuters)

In the late noughties, the Chinese government realised that the country’s best students went abroad to study and never returned to their homeland. These brilliant students found work at top corporations in countries such as the US.

To reverse this, China launched the ‘Thousand Talents Plan’, in 2008. Besides awarding academics willing to work in China with a fancy title, they’d also be employed at top Chinese universities, paid well, and given lavish bonuses, research funding, and help with housing and immigration.

Chinese Premier Xi Jinping said in 2016, “Great scientific and technological capacity is a must if China is to be strong and if people’s lives are to improve.” To that end, the thousand talent programme has brought back nearly 7,000 top scientists from different fields to buttress the country’s intellectual firepower.

The Chinese Playbook