6,500 high-net-worth individuals are going to leave India this year, as per the latest Henley Private Wealth Migration Report. Last year, 7500 millionaires left India. Worldwide, a total of 122,000 millionaires are moving from their home countries in search of greener pastures, a number that is steadily on the rise since 2013, briefly interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. 

Dubai and Singapore are the top preferred destinations for Indian millionaires. Currently, India is estimated to have over 3 lakh millionaires. 

So why are they leaving? What motivates millionaires to move out?

As per the report, political stability, low taxation, and personal freedom have always been key metrics for millionaires when it comes to deciding where to live. The CEO of Henley & Partners also says that ‘an increasing outflow of millionaires often points to a drop in confidence in a country, since high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals have the means to leave and are usually the first to exit.’

It is not just the ultra-wealthy, but also the middle and working classes that are moving abroad. In response to a question in Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated that over 16 lakh Indians gave up their citizenship since 2011 including 2,25,000 in 2022 alone.

Cronyism in the Indian context is a factor that affects business people a lot. That means we have very few favoured businessmen, who get to expand their wealth due to their closeness with the state, while others are left out. India stood at 10th position in the British magazine The Economist’s 2023 ‘Crony-Capitalism Index’. And if this is the case, it is clearly a blot on the ‘ease of doing business’ claims of the government. 

If the situation is so bad for millionaires who are at the top of the wealth pyramid, how would it be for the ones at the bottom? This is a question we must ask ourselves as we read these reports and the rising number of outflows from the country. 

In an interview with the Wire on the same issue, economist Arun Kumar says that the new economic policies dictate that you become a ‘profit-maximising individual’ pursuing profit individually. He says that this era of globalisation has ushered in these rich individuals who have little faith in the country and enough resources to move abroad in search of better opportunities, so they would do that. 

With unemployment and food inflation plaguing the daily lives of the rest of the citizens, this is something to ponder. 

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