Why are millionaires leaving India?

Monday, 20 November 2023 | in Guest Column


AK Srivastava

India’s financial condition is booming and we are among the top five economies in the world with 7.2 GDP. The government is painting a very rosy and fabulous picture of the financial growth of the nation and claims that our economy will reach $ five trillion in the next couple of years. All this seems very flattering and fascinating to us. It is true that the country has progressed in diverse fields in recent years and the standard of living has enhanced considerably. Many countries are or may face recession but India is in a very comfortable and stable condition.

According to Wikipedia, India has 7,96,000 millionaires. This is 1.2 percent of total millionaires in the world. Numerous factors have contributed to our vibrant and fast growing economy. We must ensure that their numbers go up and we retain them in India by all means. Recently, the Henley Private Wealth Migration report showed that a good number of Indian millionaires are leaving India in order to settle in Singapore, Dubai and Australia. Last year more than 7,000 millionaires left India and this year it is estimated that 6,500 will leave the country. Here, a millionaire means a person whose turnover is more than Rs 8.2 crore. Such a trend is also seen in China, the UK, Russia and Brazil.

Now we must explore the reasons for such a trend which is detrimental to the economy and prestige of our country. First of all, the tax structure of our country does not favour the rich and wealthy people. For example, an individual who earns Rs five million a year has to deposit Rs two million as a tax reduction. Tax slabs are too high and one has to pay many indirect taxes in addition to income tax. In other words, they have to pay 35 to 40 percent of their income to the government in terms of taxes. This really bothers the rich and smart people and they explore alternatives to this situation. On the contrary, tax liabilities are quite less in countries like Dubai and Singapore.

The present government is focusing on ease of doing business but still the scenario is more encouraging in other places. Hence, affluent businessmen are moving to greener pastures where they enjoy ease of business along with political and social security. Everyone will acknowledge the fact that political stability is a prerequisite to investment and social security is mandatory for growth and progress. UAE, Singapore and Australia offer better conditions as their law and order conditions are certainly superior to ours and this facilitates millionaires to invest their wealth with more confidence and peace of mind.

UAE, Singapore and some other nations are offering lifetime multiple entry visas and unlimited stays if one invests a handsome amount of money in their country. This facility has really attracted many rich people who wish to lead excellent lives. Children’s education is a priority for most of the enlightened and smart people all over the world. Unfortunately, our government schools, colleges and universities have not been able to offer world class education. No university stands in the top hundred universities in the world. Such a necessity is better understood and served abroad. Hence, ultra rich and affluent Indians do not want to make any compromises in this direction. Too much population and competition due to reservation policies are severe hindrances to the education of their children. Here, the student has to be exceptional to excel but in many places even an average student can achieve his dreams simply because there is not much competition for admission to desired courses.   

Medical services are quite good, cheap and consistent in these countries. In India government hospitals are overcrowded and old-fashioned. The millionaires who pay handsome taxes certainly need world class medical attention and multi specialty hospitals where constant and immediate attention can be paid to them in old age. It is true that things are improving in India but we have to be smarter and more compatible with other places in the world. Again, our large population is a big hindrance in this direction. Many other hassles in day to day life like lack of smart public transport, corruption in government offices, unsatisfactory road conditions and cumbersome laws in government procedures are some other factors which force the millionaires to find some other destinations where they have a better, elegant and stylish life. In conclusion, one can say that we have to do serious introspection in this direction. At the moment the number of migrating millionaires is quite less in terms of our population but this trend has to stop otherwise it will be a big dent to our growing economy. The government and the public in general should take this responsibility. The common man has to be more professional, tolerant and duty conscious towards national growth. Nation building is challenging and everyone’s obligation.

(The author is principal of DAV Inter College in Dehradun. Views expressed are personal)

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