NRI remittance share: Maharashtra pips Kerala, US now top India remitter

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New Delhi: The share of inward remittances to Kerala from Non-Resident Keralites (NRK) has dwindled by half over the past 5 years, as per a research paper presented by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Going by the statistics in 2020- 21, Maharashtra has overtaken Kerala which topped the list for the highest NRI remittances share in 2016-17.

Five years ago, 19 per cent of the total NRI remittances were to Kerala. This has dwindled to 10.2 per cent now. Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s total remittance which was recorded at 16.7 per cent has grown to 35.2 per cent now.

Even the sum of the share of remittances to Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, which have many NRIs native to these Southern states, would come to 25.1 per cent. In 2016, it was 42 per cent.

While Gulf immigration was mostly from the Southern states for years together, in 2020, 50 per cent of those who received immigration clearance to the Gulf regions were from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odissa, and West Bengal, says the RBI article, citing the External Affairs Ministry’s statistics.

The increase in the number of Gulf returnees who lost their job, the challenges created by the COVID pandemic and changes in the immigration patterns could have led to this shift, the RBI researchers point out.

As per the NORKA data, 14.7 lakh NRKs have returned to Kerala from many countries across the world due to the Covid situation. Of this, 59 per cent returned from the UAE.

A major dip in Gulf deposits

While the total remittances from Gulf countries to India was about 50 per cent of the total NRI remittances 5 years ago, now it has dipped to 30 per cent.

Five years ago, the UAE topped the list of NRI contributions to India. Now, as per the new data, this position is held by the US, at 22.9 per cent. The deposits from UAE that stood at 26.6 per cent in 2016 have reduced to 18 per cent.

As per the statistics in 2020- 21, 36 per cent of the NRI remittances to India is from the US, UK, and Singapore.

There has been a decrease in remittances above Rs 15,000 and an increase in deposits below Rs 15000. The RBI says it could be a reflection of the financial crunch faced by the NRIs or continuous remittances to support the families back in India during the COVID crisis with smaller deposits.

Gulf immigration reduced

As many as 7.6 lakh people had completed emigration clearance in India to leave for Gulf countries in 2015. In 2019, it has dipped to 3.5 lakh. In 2020, amid the COVID crisis, it further dwindled to 90000. Most immigrations were to Saudi Arabia. While 3.1 lakh people migrated to Saudi Arabia in 2015, the numbers came down to 1.6 lakh in 2019. UAE immigration also dropped tremendously from 2.3 lakh to 80,000 people respectively.

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