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For citizens abroad, thriving India beckons

July 4, 2011 - 19:25 By 황장진
India’s booming economy is increasingly catching the attention of Indians who once migrated abroad for higher pay and a better quality of life.

So much so that job search portal this month launched Return2home, a site for overseas Indians looking for jobs in India.

Within 10 days, 700 job-seekers applied for the 277 job listings put up by 32 companies, including Tata Consultancy Services, Indian information technology major Infotech and engineering firm ABB.

“We have been noticing this trend (of returning Indians) in the last couple of years,” said Sanjay Modi, managing director for the portal’s India, Middle East and South-east Asia operations.

“It is a combination of turmoil in the Western economies with India showing consistent growth.”
Engineering recruits undergo training at the Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. training center in Trivandrum, India, on May 24. (Bloomberg)

Last year, the number of Indians ― mainly those working in the Gulf countries and the United States ― who applied on the website for jobs in the IT, banking and finance, construction, and oil and gas sectors rose by 65 per cent.

India’s economic growth of 8 per cent, rising salaries and an infrastructure that is slowly improving are making it attractive for Indians abroad who are uneasy with the uncertain economic climate in the West and the Gulf countries.

Sangita Srinivasa, her husband and their three children moved to Bangalore almost two years ago after 20 years in the U.S.

“Ultimately, it is about opportunities. When you compare the (economic) climates, I think it makes a lot of sense to be here rather than there,” she said.

Sangita, 41, who stopped working to raise her children, found no problem in picking up a job as a content writer while her husband works in the financial sector.

Neighbours and friends in similar situations helped them and their children, aged between five and 14, adjust to the change of living in a chaotic Indian metro.

A recent survey among Indian IT professionals in the US found that half of those surveyed had plans to return soon. Many want to rejoin their families, others seek better opportunities, and a small number plan the move for their children’s education.

Last year, around 60,000 Indians returned to India, but the number was still a trickle compared with the 641,000 Indians who emigrated to different countries in the same year.

“It works both ways. Indians also go on global assignments... and you have fairly good companies giving good salaries (in India),” said marketing manager Ravi Perti of Olive Telecommunications. The Indian company manufactures and designs mobile phones and computers, and has hired a handful of Indians from outside the country.

Though inflation and the rising cost of living remain a concern in India, the easy availability of domestic help and chauffeurs, being close to ageing parents and a return to their roots help ease the transition for many.

But chaos of a different kind awaits those who are used to a more streamlined system.

For blogger Tony John, who returned to India six weeks ago after 12 years in the US, the biggest hassle was getting a broadband connection in Bangalore. He got one only after numerous calls, complaints and e-mail messages sent to the company.

“We are quickly learning how to live like an Indian,” said John, who runs a number of websites. “I was stopped by the police for violating one-way traffic. I drove through that road because I did not notice the one-way sign and I was simply following other cars. I told the officer I am new here and didn’t know it is one-way. He simply said ‘Give 100 rupees ($2.2) and go’.”

So far, though, he has no regrets. “We do not think about going back,” he said.

By Nirmala Ganapathy

(The Straits Times)