People in the work force will always try to improve their qualifications and earning potential. The government restricts their travel and leave, and penalises them in an attempt keep them in office, which has acted only as a disincentive to work in the public sector. Thus the Punjab government has directed all administrative and attached departments to decide the leave extension cases of officers on time to facilitate them improve their qualifications abroad. This was in response to the fact that officers living abroad for higher studies were being penalised under PEEDA Act 2006, and some even had to face major penalties like compulsory retirement and removal from service. The problem is not just that the government penalises those on leave for educational purposes, but that it does not grant leave, or leave extensions in time. There are a plethora of cases in education and health sectors where people have opportunities for foreign training and education, but either miss out or leave the country without permission because of bureaucratic delays. These changes in policy are much needed.
The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis has said that over three million citizens, including a good number of doctors, engineers and scientists have proceeded abroad for employment opportunities over the last seven years. There is no incentive to stay, including poor salary packages, poor professional infrastructure, lack of professionalism and well as external factors like terrorism.
One of the biggest reforms has to be in the education sector. Many Indian students now prefer to stay in India for higher education than going abroad as the options for education and employment are as good as they are aboard. This has been fuelled by an intense focus on quality, and a heavy government subsidy for local students, along with employment opportunities. The state has to rethink policy if it wants the best minds to stay. People cannot survive on just patriotism, they need money to feed their families, and everyone does not have the stomach for politics.