State Absenteeism in India's Reverse Migration? A Comparison with the Chinese Experience


Afternoon in Kandivali Train Station, Mumbai
David Zweig,A Didar Singh
9 Apr 2018 (Monday)
12:00 - 1:30 pm
IAS 2042, 2/F, Lo Ka Chung Building, Lee Shau Kee Campus, HKUST

Eventbrite - State Absenteeism in India's Reverse Migration?


[2017.03.22]  The event will end at 1:30pm instead of 2pm as previously announced. 


Circular migration is by no means a new phenomenon; however, it has become a perceptible trend in the recent past. Emerging economies like China and India are witnessing increased rates of return migration of their people belonging to various skill levels. Noticeably, many returnees are moving to their countries of origin with the intention of starting their own enterprises. There are also those who are attracted by new opportunities especially at the senior level in sectors such as IT, technology, healthcare and pharma, among others. Research and development options have also opened up and there’s greater opportunity to work with new technology. And there are those who return with the hope of contributing to national growth and development.

While a major contributing factor for this is the growth in the domestic markets of their countries of ancestry/origin, which in turn has opened up many new opportunities, some others return due to the lack of integration, protectionism leading to hostile visa policies in countries of settlement, and job redundancies. In the case of China, in addition to market forces and more organic reasons for returns, reverse migration of highly skilled and specialized individuals has to a large extent been induced by the government by provision of incentives to lure returnees back. In India, while the policy view has gradually shifted to become more favourable to those belonging to the Indian Diaspora, there is a lot to be done at the local levels in order to make these policies work and benefit those who choose to return.

Dr A Didar Singh’s seminar will explore these differences in experiences based on the results of a primary research project carried out in 2016-17. He will also trace the change in the Indian political view on the importance of the Indian Diaspora over the past six decades.

About the Speakers

A. Didar Singh, author and earlier civil servant (Indian Administrative Service - IAS) served as Secretary to Government of India (2009-11) and former Secretary General (2012-17) of India’s largest apex business chamber, FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry).

Dr. Singh has functioned as a member of the Global Agenda Council on Migration (2011-15) of the celebrated World Economic Forum (WEF). He also served as a Member on the India-Indonesia Eminent Persons Group (EPG) nominated by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India (2016-17). Dr Singh functions as Chair of the Diaspora group of KNOMAD (Knowledge Network on Migration), World Bank and in 2017 was named as Global Fellow at IC2 Institute of the University of Texas at Austin, USA. He has served on the International Working Group on Financing Pandemics Preparedness (IWG), established by the World Bank and is presently member of the ILOs ‘Global Commission on the Future of Work’. Dr Singh is also member Governing Councils of St. Stephens Hospital and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi.

Dr Singh has been conferred an Award for his service to the Indian Diaspora by GOPIO International (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin). He was named as Distinguished Alumnus of the prestigious St Stephen's College in 2012 and was in July 2014 also awarded Hony. Doctorate (DUniv) from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Dr. Singh is an internationally known strategy expert in e-Commerce, Trade and Migration and has done several studies for international agencies, including the World Bank; International Trade Centre; World Health Organization; and South Centre, Geneva as well as the Commonwealth Secretariat, London.

Dr. Singh has a Bachelors and Masters from St. Stephens College, Delhi; a Masters in Development Administration from Birmingham University, UK; and has the distinction of having done the first PhD in India on the Policy and Administration of e-Commerce (Panjab Univ, 2006). Dr. Singh has four books and several publications to his credit and has given talks and lectures in over 50 Institutions and 20 countries around the world.


David Zweig is Chair Professor, Division of Social Science, and Director, Center on China’s Transnational Relations, HKUST. He is a Senior Research Fellow, Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada, Adjunct Professor, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha, Hunan, and Vice-President of the Center on China and Globalization (Beijing). He has authored four books, including Internationalizing China: domestic interests and global linkages, and recently edited, Sino-U.S. Energy Triangles: Resource Diplomacy under Hegemony, with Hao Yufan. He is writing a book about China’s returnees. Kang Siqin worked at a Research Assistant for the Center on China’s Transnational Relations for four years and is currently an MPhil student in the Division of Social Sciences.





This seminar is co-organized with the HKUST Center on China's Transnational Relations (CCTR).

Eventbrite - State Absenteeism in India's Reverse Migration?

Email Subscription

Get updates from HKUST IEMS