India has retained its position as the world’s top recipient of remittances – money sent back home by its nationals working abroad – in 2018, the World Bank said in a report on Monday, according to PTI. The Indian diaspora has sent $79 billion (approximately Rs 5.5 lakh crore) home.
“Remittances grew by more than 14% in India, where a flooding disaster in Kerala likely boosted the financial help that migrants sent to families,” the global lender said. In 2016, India received $ 62.7 billion remittances and in 2017 it was $65.3 billion.
China is at second spot ($67 billion) and Mexico at third ($36 billion), according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief.
According to the report, remittances to low-and middle-income countries rose 9.6% from 2017 and touched a record high of $529 billion in 2018. Global remittances reached $689 billion in 2018, up from $633 billion in 2017.
Remittances to South Asia grew 12% to $131 billion in 2018. “The upsurge was driven by stronger economic conditions in the United States and a pick-up in oil prices, which had a positive impact on outward remittances from some GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries,” it said. The GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The United Nations had in 2015 said that it wants to reduce the cost of remittances to 3%. However, banks on average were charging 11% in the first quarter of 2019 while post offices charged 7%. “The high costs of money transfers reduce the benefits of migration,” said Dilip Ratha, the report’s lead author. “Renegotiating exclusive partnerships and letting new players operate through national post offices, banks and telecommunications companies will increase competition and lower remittance prices.”