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Retro: Swades: NRIs, Leapfrogging and the Indian Future
Jamais Cascio, 27 Aug 05

Non-Resident Indians -- NRIs -- represent a remarkable diaspora. Leaving India largely for reasons of economic opportunity, some NRIs are returning to their home. In Swades: NRIs, Leapfrogging and the Indian Future, Dina Mehta gives us an insightful review of the movie Swades (which means "our country"), discussing not just the story of the film, but the larger question of what is driving the return of the non-resident Indians.

I’ve spoken to many returning NRI’s about their reasons for coming back to India. Very few speak of wanting to give back to the country. Typically they speak of today's opportunities in India -- of great salaries and a good standard of living. Supporting these is a certain global lifestyle now easily accessible in our towns – schools for kids, malls, recreation, communication, utilities, entertainment etc. There are bold plans to revamp direct and indirect taxes, e-governance in several states with the lead coming from Southern states, e-medicine, a new metro rail system in Delhi built in record time, a huge plan to wire up the whole country in the next few years. Just some examples. And when coupled with the lure of familial and community ties “back home” it’s a very attractive proposition.

I am not really sure how many are returning to help India progress or give back to the country – many may just be recognizing that India is indeed a nation that is leapfrogging ahead and hence the opportunities are here, now.

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