Kerala hit hard by drop in remittances as 1.2m workers return: World Bank

Prime News, International (United Nations), May 14:- Kerala has been hit hard by the drop in remittances from the Gulf countries from where about 1.2 million workers returned to the state due to the Covid-driven layoffs, according to the World Bank.

Overall, though, the total remittances from Indian workers abroad were $8.3 billion in 2020, a drop of only 0.2 per cent from the previous year, the Bank’s Migration and Development Brief released on Wednesday revealed.

India’s remittances from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recorded a steep decline of 17 per cent, but it was offset by resilient flows from the US and other host countries, it said.

India remains the world’s top recipient of remittances in total value, a status it reached in 2008, according to the brief.

However, remittances to India are nowhere near the top when it comes to their share of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Remittances make up a far more important share of the GDP for smaller countries like Tonga and Lebanon.

The exodus of foreign workers from the seven-member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) last year hit Kerala hard, according to the brief.

The Bank said that in “Kerala, an estimated 1.2 million migrant workers, out of more than 4 million who worked in the GCC countries and contributed 30 per cent of the state’s income, returned in 2020 after the global pandemic left them jobless. Low-skilled workers were the hardest hit”.

In that state the monthly remittances to families receiving them fell on average by $267, the brief said.

The brief listed the US as the largest source of remittances, followed by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

For the South Asian region, remittances rose by about 5 per cent because of increased flows to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, according to the brief.

Like India, Nepal also experienced a small drop in remittances, it added. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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