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India highest recipient of remittances at USD 79 billion in 2018: World Bank

Press Trust of India

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Washington, April 9:India retained its position as the world’s top recipient of remittances with its diaspora sending a whopping USD 79 billion back home in 2018, the World Bank said in a report on Monday.

India was followed by China (USD 67 billion), Mexico (USD 36 billion), the Philippines (USD 34 billion), and Egypt (USD 29 billion), the global lender said.

With this, India has retained its top spot on remittances, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief.
Over the last three years, India has registered a significant flow of remittances from USD 62.7 billion in 2016 to USD 65.3 billion in 2017.

 

“Remittances grew by more than 14 per cent in India, where a flooding disaster in Kerala likely boosted the financial help that migrants sent to families,” the Bank said.

In Pakistan, remittance growth was moderate (seven per cent), due to significant declines in inflows from Saudi Arabia, its largest remittance source. In Bangladesh, remittances showed a brisk uptick in 2018 (15 per cent).

According to the report, remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached a record high of USD 529 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.6 per cent over the previous record high of USD 483 billion in 2017.

Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, reached USD 689 billion in 2018, up from USD 633 billion in 2017, it said.

The Bank said remittances to South Asia grew 12 per cent to USD 131 billion in 2018, outpacing the six per cent growth in 2017.

“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 countries,” it said.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional inter-governmental political and economic bloc of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

However, the Bank in its report rued that the global average cost of sending USD 200 remained high, at around seven per cent in the first quarter of 2019.

Reducing remittance costs to three per cent by 2030 is a global target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10.7. Remittance costs across many African corridors and small islands in the Pacific remain above 10 per cent.

On ways to lower remittance costs, Dilip Ratha, lead author of the Brief and head of KNOMAD, said, “Remittances are on track to become the largest source of external financing in developing countries. The high costs of money transfers reduce the benefits of migration. Renegotiating exclusive partnerships and letting new players operate through national post offices, banks, and telecommunications companies will increase competition and lower remittance prices.”


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Crime Branch questions former PDP minister Naeem Akhtar

Press Trust of India

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch has questioned PDP leader Naeem Akhtar over alleged irregularities committed during his tenure as public works minister in allotment of contracts for the Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), officials said on Sunday.

The former minister has, however, denied any wrongdoing and said he has cooperated with police officials.

“I am sure that truth will prevail. I have done nothing wrong and all due processes were followed,” Akhtar told PTI in Srinagar.

 

The officials said Akhtar was questioned at his residence about giving out work at JKPCC to a specific set of contractors and making some appointments without following the due process.

The questioning revolved around JKPCC work, construction work at the Islamic University in south Kashmir and allotment of work for setting up the AIIMS in south Kashmir, they said.

It is alleged that the contracts were given to such people who had no experience in construction work and had floated companies barely a few days before the tendering process was initiated, the officials said.

The investigation was also into the air-conditioning work of the health department, they said.

“I have answered all the questions and clarified the matter. I am sure that the matter is sorted out. I have full faith in judiciary,” PDP leader Akhtar.

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Former Delhi Chief Minister and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit dies at 81

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NEW DELHI: Former Delhi Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Sheila Dikshit died at the age of 81 on Saturday. The veteran Congress leader was not keeping well from some time and died of a prolonged illness.

Former Delhi chief minister was on Friday admitted to Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in a critical state.

Three-time Delhi chief minister from Congress, Dikshit had cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and had to be immediately put on the ventilator, said Congress sources.

 
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Centre appoints new Governors in 6 states, Anandiben Patel transferred to UP

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New Delhi: The Centre Saturday appointed six new Governors in the states of  Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Nagaland and Tripura.

MP Governor and former Chief Minister of Gujarat Anandiben Patel has been transferred as appointed the new as Governor of UP. Bihar Governor Lalji Tandon was also transferred and appointed as the Governor of Madhya Pradesh.

Senior Supreme Court advocate Jagdeep Dhankhar was appointed as the new Governor of West Bengal, replacing Keshari Nath Tripathi. BJP member Ramesh Bais has been appointed as the Governor of Tripura, replacing Kaptan Singh Solanki.

 

BJP MLA Phagu Chauhan has been appointed as the Governor of Bihar while RN Ravi as Governor of Nagaland, replacing Padmanabha Acharya.

“The above appointments will take effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices,” said a communique from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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