By Arul Louis
United Nations–Indians working overseas sent home $62.74 billion last year, an increase of 68.6 per cent in the last decade, according to a UN agency.
India received the most overseas remittances last year, a report by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) issued here on Tuesday said.
The money sent by Indians overseas amounted to 3.3 per cent of India’s gross domestic product, the report said.
Gulf countries were the primary destination for Indian workers going abroad, with the US as a “popular destination”.
The US led the world as the country from which the most remittances – $3.6 billion – were made, the IFAD said.
Releasing the report, “Sending Money Home: Contributing to the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), One Family at a Time”, IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo spoke of the impact the remittances had on improving the living standards of families in the home countries.
“The small amounts of $200 or $300 that each migrant sends home make up about 60 per cent of the family’s household income, and this makes an enormous difference in their lives and the communities in which they live,” he said.
More than 800 million family members are benefiting from the remittances by over 200 million migrant workers, IFAD said. It estimated that this year one-in-seven persons in the world will either send or receive a share of the $450 billion transferred globally.
“Remittances are expected to remain a stable source of finance to meet the immediate needs and aspirations of millions of families around the world,” the report said.
Even though the average cost of sending money home has decreased from about 10 per cent in 2008 to 7.45 per cent, it still takes chunk out of the remittances and IFAD said the UN development goals want it to be brought down further to 3 per cent by 2030.
“If legal and regulatory frameworks facilitate the use of technology and innovation, mobile phones, digital money, Internet-based mobile and Web applications will continue to drive costs down, strengthen financial access, and improve the possibility to deliver additional services,” the report added. (IANS)