New Delhi: India not
just continues to rank first in terms of remittances from its diaspora, just short of $60 billion in 2010, but has also seen a
huge jump in migration of its workers to North America, Europe and
the Gulf despite economic turmoil there, says a World Bank expert.
"Of late, there is a significant increase in migration of workers
from India to North America, notably the US, as also Europe and
the Gulf countries," says Dilip Ratha, an expert on migration and
remittance issues with the World Bank.
"This is a bit surprising because India is doing reasonably well,
while the destination countries are in financial trouble," Ratha,
who has co-authored the latest World Bank report on remittances
and migration, told IANS in an interview over phone from Geneva.
"This is probably the reflection of an increased access to
information and a rise in the income levels of common people,
which has enabled them to buy the air tickets and pay for the
Ratha said although there are no official figures, the information
gathered from Indian embassies and other sources indicate such a
trend in migration to different parts of the world. They include
young women as well.
But this comes with a cost.
"We had a lot of unskilled migrants going to the Gulf region, but
fewer to the US and Europe. Things are changing. They are also
going to the US and Europe. The Indian missions and the government
have greater responsibility to protect their interests," he said.
Ratha, who co-authored the World Bank's latest "Migration and
Development Brief" -- that places remittances to India at $58
billion, ahead of $57 billion for China -- said both in-bound and
outbound migration from India was set to increase in the coming
According to the World Bank expert, India's remittance flow, which
was $55 billion in the previous year, against $51 billion into
China, may be more this year, given some developments on the
currency markets front.
"Our estimate is based on the average currency rate of three
quarters. The recent sharp depreciation in the value of rupee is
not factored into it. Considering the last month development, I am
sure remittances will be higher," he said.
At 25 million in some 140 countries, India also has the second
largest diaspora after China. Over five million Indians are
employed as labourers, especially in the Gulf and Southeast Asian
countries, where they generally fall victim of exploitations.
Ratha said Indians have been able to mostly save their jobs in the
US and European countries during the economic crisis mainly
because of their skills and the niche they have carved for
"Skilled Indian workers are impacted by crisis in terms of their
income level but not much in terms of employment. Indians are
withstanding the crisis reasonably well and most of them are able
to save their jobs."
(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org