India continues to be the top nation with $69 billion of remittances that it received last year from the large pool of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled Indian migrants across the world, with four southern states in the country accounting for almost half of its total remittances, according to a study by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had a share of about 46% or $31.74 billion (Rs 2,30,900 crore), of total remittances of $69 billion that India received last year from its citizen working overseas.
Kerala topped the list of states, accounting for about 19% share or $13.11 billion (approximately Rs 95,000 crore) of the total remittances, it showed.
Of the total $69 billion in 2017, about 58.7% was received by four states — Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. After Kerala, Maharashtra had the largest chunk of remittances at 16.7% (11.52 billion), followed by Karnataka 15% (about $10.35 billion), Tamil Nadu 8% and New Delhi 5.9%.
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In terms of countries, 82% of the total remittances came from seven countries – UAE, the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the UK and Oman. Indians working in The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – mostly semi-skilled and unskilled workers – sent more than 50% of the total remittances in the financial year 2016-17, it added. It may be noted that over 90% of Indians overseas work in the Gulf region and South East Asia.
On the other hand, Indian residents working in the US, considered highly skilled, were the second largest contributors.
According to the study by the RBI, over half of this amount was used for family maintenance (consumption), while 20% deposits in banks, followed by investments in land and property and shares (8.3%), it added. The Rupee Drawing Arrangement (RDA) is the most preferred mode, accounting for about 75% of remittances, especially from the GCC countries.
The study by the central bank was largely corroborated by surveys conducted by various multilateral agencies such as ILO 2018. These agencies have also indicated a shift in cross-border migeration flow from states like Karnataka and Kerala to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which comprise of semi-skilled contractual workers having a low level of income. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh accounted for 4.4% of total remittances in 2016-17, it added.
In April this year, the World Bank said in a report that India grabbed the top position with about $69 billion of remittances in 2017, followed by China ($64 billion), Philippines ($33 billion) and Maxico ($31 billion).
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