Kerala lags behind six states in migration to the Gulf

Popular belief about Kerala’s finance sector is that the state always tops in sending the maximum number of people overseas for jobs. While the assumption keeps hopes of an ever-increasing foreign remittances alive, latest statistics coming out just shatters the myth as the southern state is nowhere in the picture when it comes to top states sending people to the Gulf.

Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab and Rajasthan have been the top six states sending people to the Gulf in the past two years, as per statistics released by the External Affairs Ministry. Notably, in this period, emigration from India increased by 24 per cent.

There are 8.54 million workers in 17 emigration check required (ECR) countries across the world and they remit $69 billion annually, which constitutes 3 per cent of the GDP. MEA statistics show that 40 percent of the total remittances come from the GCC countries.

Kerala received 40 percent of the total remittances that came to India in the third quarter of 2015-16, according to a news report.

Remittances, an outcome of the Gulf boom of the 1970s, continues to be the backbone of Kerala’s economy with it financing as many as 20% Kerala households, or 2.4 million families. It is yet to be seen how the drop in the number of emigrants is going to affect the state’s economy.

Aiming to facilitate better living conditions for the diaspora, the foreign affairs ministry has asked states to set up an NRI department to protect the interests of their citizens.