Reality Check India

PIO University – what about PSLIs ?

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on February 24, 2007

PSLI = Persons Still Living in India 

When I started this blog, I resolved I would not fall into snarkiness.  However, I dont know if I can stay cool in the face of outrageous policies such as the SEZ – the most egregious spawn of which is the proposed PIO University.  See my earlier post on the PIO University.

Look what our president said the other day –

PIO University on the anvil – Kalam 

New Delhi, Feb. 23 (PTI): The Government is working on a proposal to establish a university for people of Indian-origin (PIO) in the country, President A P J Abdul Kalam said today.

The Government would take steps to encourage a “reverse brain drain” so that some of the brightest and talented children of the country return here, he said in his address to a joint sitting of Parliament marking the start of the budget session.

“We are now working on a proposal to establish a PIO University in India,” he said.

The President said that the government had paid special attention to the protection and welfare of overseas Indian workers, especially those in West Asia and the Gulf.

Source : The Hindu

PIO vs NRI ?

A PIO is a “person of indian origin” – he need not be an Indian citizen or even born in India.  If either of a kids parents, or grandparents, or even great grandparents were Indian – he is a PIO. See here for more. An NRI is an Indian citizen who is just abroad on a visa (temporary such as H1B or permanent such as a Green Card).  Let us be clear we are talking about PIOs here.

What about PSLI (Persons Still Living in India) ?

Do they have enough avenues for higher education ? Are we so developed and burdened with over capacity that we can patronize kids of other much advanced countries ? What is the obligation for India to meet the requirments of foreign citizens (okay brown foreigners) ?


Whats the realitycheck here ?

Since this blog is all about opening up the kimono, lets figure out where the demand for this university is coming from.

Here is my guess, the powerful desi lobby in the USA wants avenues for pre-med education for kids who fail to make it to American schools. Some go to the Caribbean , but ideally they would like to send them to India. These “rich bhangra kids” can stretch their dollars in India, easily get admissions here (because they dont have to compete with the wretched locals), and while they are at it – they get a feel for “Indian culture”. After their nice little jaunt here, they can go back to find a position at a hospital in Chicago or Pittsburgh. A bonus is if they can find a nice Indian girls to hang out with while they are here (should be quite easy because foreign desis can easily dominate the party scene here).

Is the above scenario true ? Probably not ! I exagerrate. There are a lot of desis in the Gulf , Nigeria , Malaysia who are in construction, welding, and odd jobs.

Should the Indian government look after them ?

My answer is an emphatic NO !! This is a classic bait and switch tactic that is used by the government in the social sector (use beggars and low castes as poster material but frame policies to benefit the rich landlords).

1 >> The welders, construction workers, are mostly NRIs (rarely PIOs) 

2 >> The kids and even wife of these workers mostly live in India. You see, they are saving up as much as they can.

In any case, immigration of all these people is purely voluntary. Most of the PSLI kids (people still living in india) would give anything to study in schools with equivalent quality even in Malaysia, Doha, Dubai, Nigeria, etc.  The PIOs must factor education for kids before taking up foreign assignments. The government cannot pick up the slack for them, atleast not until the “PSLI” kids have enough higher education opportunities.


Best and brightest , really ?

In his address to the joint session, Kalam claimed :

reverse brain drain” so that some of the brightest and talented children of the country return here

Reality Check to President Kalam :

Your PIO University will only be the last refuge for all desi kids who did not make it to *any* American/Canadian/UK med school.  You forget that Indian American kids are actually Americans. They live in America for a reason, their parents chose to live in a country that rocked !

One more thing, the reverse brain drain aint going to happen. The best and brightest PIO desis (from any country) still aspire to go to MIT, Johns Hopkins, or even to UC San Luis Obispo. The desparate ones who fail to make it would like to go to Anitlles, Bahamas, or other Caribbean med schools. Guess who will come to our PIO University ?

The PIO University is not going to encourage a “reverse brain drain” – it is only going to ensure a “reverse drain”.

First take care of PSLI – then worry about PIOs. Last time I checked, the United States, UK, EU, Middle East, Malaysia are taking really good care of Indians. So much so, our Indians break into a sweat at the thought of losing their citizenship.

Prove me wrong

If the government is sincere and if it wants to help welders in Selangor, Al Burj, or Nigeria – then they should do the following:

  • Bar kids from America, Canada, and all EU countries.
  • Make it a NRI university instead of a PIO university. Remember, an NRI is an Indian Citizen so at least there is an Indian getting educated.
  • If you want to admit foreign nationals (PIOs) – then make it a truly international university. We have a better chance of attracting talented westerners than talented desis. Do not discriminate on the basis of brown skin colour.
  • Admit minimum 80% locals ( I think Mr Vayalar Ravi said earlier that only 20-25% would be for “native dwellers”). Turn it around.
  • Lets face it – the whole deal is about Medical education. Let us have a PIO University without a Medical School. Does anyone want to bet how many would enroll ?

At the moment however, I am putting my money of the rich-bhangra-punk-desi-american kid from Virginia who failed to make it either in the US or in the Caribbean.


9 Responses

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  1. Reason said, on February 24, 2007 at 11:38 am

    They made you rant!

    BTW, if the president said this in his address to parliament, you can be certain that these were not his views and he was merely reading what the UPA government wrote for him.

    But if the UPA government is serious on this, should they have reservation in those PIO universities too?

  2. RC said, on February 24, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    I believe the 20-25% of “natives” will be subject to the quota laws.

    I forgot another *MAJOR* rule :

    1. Prevent the PIO University from poaching staff from PSLI Universities. We really dont want a top-notch IISC or IIT Prof to jump ship into a school that benefits 80% foreign national.

  3. Barbarindian said, on February 24, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    This is a total waste of time. Not likely to add a lot of money to the economy and instead will threaten local schools because of increased competition for faculty.

    The need of the hour is the rapid build up of primary and secondary education and opening up the higher ed to private sector.

    I think this is a move directed at winning support from rich Indian immigrants in the US and Canada and possibly election donations as well.

  4. Revathi said, on February 26, 2007 at 8:35 am

    This is just the kind of racist rubbish that you would expect from the government. After all, they have rules that say that non indians have to pay more for seeing the Taj etc. Given that most indians do not have any identity cards, whether you are an indian or not depends only on your skin colour. I once paid Rs 25 for myself and Rs 500 for my son ( what does Hritik Roshan pay?) Great way to segregate people. If there should be such a university based on some flimsy ethnic factors, let it be private.

  5. Jai_Choorakkot said, on February 26, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Good research, well argued, balance, NO historic status-quo 🙂 …

    Back to the RC standard. Good post.


  6. chacko said, on March 1, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Really good post. Loved every bit of it. Why should our tax money pay for people who have given up their nationality for economic gains?

  7. Reason said, on March 1, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Our tax money pays for a few other things too.

    Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday announced an additional cess of one per cent on all taxes to fund secondary and higher education and expand capacity by 54 per cent in all Central educational institutions for extending reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

  8. Blanche Watkins said, on March 14, 2007 at 5:10 am

    Your blog is on the very high level and includes a lot of very interesting information and was very useful for me.

  9. […] Sovereignty and Immigration, the Haneef case Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on the July 18th, 2007 Sometimes, I wonder if we Indians grok the concept of immigration at all. Perhaps we really do believe that the world is without borders, and that the immigration counters at airports are just inconveniences. Perhaps, we also think that the Government of India’s is sovereign extends to the affairs of all human beings with Indian blood (see my posts on the PIO University). […]

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