Good Read: On Remittances

If you follow the Economics of emerging countries you would know that remittances from other countries back to the home country is a significant contributor in the development of that country!

India has a huge population and equally huge number of migrants to various countries. There are regional pockets and affiliations based on decades of history of migrating to specific nations. For example, a lot of Gujaratis have migrated to Africa (remember Mahatma Gandhi?). Kerala continues to send thousands of people to the Middle-East. Tamil Nadu does the same for South-East Asia. Punjabis have made Canada as their second home! (And we, the Marathi community, are still reluctant to migrate to other parts of India…)


I came across an interesting article in the Times of India (yes, that rotten thing called newspaper). Here it is:


  • Remittances to India from abroad rose in 2017 and touched $69 billion
  • Outflows of remittances from India too continued to rise reaching $5.7 billion, according to a World Bank report
  • The data shows that Indians constitute the world’s largest diaspora population, making it the largest source of labour for world market

NEW DELHI: Remittances to India from abroad rose in 2017 after declining for two consecutive years and touched $69 billion, still a little short of the $70.4 billion reached in 2014. Outflows of remittances from India too continued to rise reaching $5.7 billion, according to a World Bank report.

The 9.9% increase in remittance inflows in 2017 was enough to ensure that India comfortably retained its long held position of the largest destination of remittances from international migrants, according to the Bank’s report titled ‘Migration and Remittance Outlook’, released late on Monday.

Of the $5.7 billion sent home by foreigners working in India, Bangladesh alone accounted for over $4 billion or about 71%.

The data also shows that Indians constitute the world’s largest diaspora population, making it the largest source of labour for the world market.


In 2017, there were 16.4 million Indians living abroad. Mexico and Russia had 11.9 million and 11 million people respectively working in foreign countries. China has the fourth largest overseas population at slightly over 10 million.

Although Bangladesh and Pakistan too have significant migrant populations, this doesn’t get reflected in their remittance receipts. Legal international migration is often seen as a rather costly economic investment and hence only relatively well-off sections of any country’s population are able to afford it.

The increase in income levels in China and India and the ever increasing presence of the expat community in the Western world helps augment migration from these countries to the West. China received $64 billion from its overseas citizens.

This was the world’s second highest and the two Asian neighbours accounted for more than one-fifth of the global remittances inflows. They were followed by the Philippines, Mexico and France.

Of the 131 countries from where India received remittances, UAE contributed the highest, $13.8 billion or about 20% of India’s total receipts.
The West Asian country was followed by the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UK. There were 12 countries from which India received in excess of $1 billion each. Among them, six are in West Asia, the region accounting for 55.6% of India’s total remittance receipts.

Other than Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka received 17.9% and 9.1% respectively of remittances flowing out from India. Thus, these three neighbours got about 98% of remittances from India. India was the largest source of remittances to Bangladesh, accounting for about 30% of its total overseas remittances

This article reminded me of a wonderful TED Talk on Remittances. You may also like it:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: