Rich continue their quit India movement
In 2020, 5,000 HNIs left India, as they felt stifled and frightened in their own country
Ravi Shanker Kapoor | April 13, 2021 7:44 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Just as in Ayn Rand’s classic novel Atlas Shrugged business leaders and innovators were mysteriously disappearing, India’s millionaires are leaving the country. But there is no mystery involved here: the situation is increasingly becoming hopeless for the rich.
Global Wealth Migration Review 2020 by the Mauritius-based AfrAsia Bank says that about 5,000 high net-worth individuals (HNIs), or 2 per cent of the total number of India’s HNIs, left the country in the corona-hit 2020. An HNI has been defined as one with a net worth of $1 million. The previous year, 7,000 had left.
This quit India movement by the rich didn’t begin in 2019. A 2018 report by investment bank Morgan Stanley said that 23,000 HNIs had left India since 2014.
Modi-bhaktas would call such behavior as cowardly and traitorous. But it will be wrong to berate and besmirch the escaping HNIs leaving their country with and using their sizeable wealth in foreign lands. The problem is not with them but with the powers that be in our country.
A few years ago, it was a corrupt and incompetent regime, under Sonia Gandhi and her pinkish toadies, that was tormenting the captains of industry. They complained of tax terrorism, policy paralysis, entitlement-crazy governance, venality, etc. They, along with Middle India and others, looked forward to Narendra Modi, hoping that he would effect a paradigm shift in statecraft and economy and usher in achhe din.
On his part, Modi too indicated of a meaningful change. A key slogan was ‘maximum governance, minimum government’—which suggested that he believed in small government. In an interview before the 2014, he had said that the business of government is not business; this was seen as an endorsement of free economy. Be repeated the same recently
But to what avail? All his promises have proved to be, to use Home Minister Amit Shah immortal words, “chunaavi jumlas” or “election gimmicks”—not be taken seriously. At any rate, the promises have been observed in the breach. Businesspersons should be deprecated if they believe that ‘maximum government, minimum governance’ is the hallmark of Modi rule.
The size and scope of government has only increased. In the name of fighting black money, businesspersons are regularly tormented. Raids by taxmen and government agencies are ordered for political reasons. The upshot is that the environment has become oppressive and hostile for the rich in India; honest rich persons, which means an overwhelming majority, feel stifled and frightened.
Hence the exodus of HNIs from India.