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.”
Day 39: Normal life still out of gear in Kashmir; schools remain shut, public transport off roads
Srinagar: Normal life remained affected in Kashmir as the stalemate following the abrogation of Article 370 entered its 39th day on Thursday with schools closed and public transport off the roads, officials said.
Restrictions on the movement or assembly of people have been lifted from most areas of the valley, but security forces continued to be deployed to maintain law and order, the officials said.
They said the authorities were also considering easing out restrictions on mobile communications and restoring voice call services.
While landlines across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir.
However, normal life remained severely affected across the valley due to shutdown which entered 39th day on Thursday, the officials said.
Markets and other business establishments remained closed, while public transport was off the roads across the valley, they added.
Internet services remained suspended across all platforms, the officials said.
The efforts of the state government to open schools have not borne any fruit as parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.
Most of the top-level and second-rung separatist politicians have been taken into custody while mainstream leaders including three former chief ministers — Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have also been either detained or placed under house arrest.
NC leader Akbar Lone ‘appreciates’ Pakistan’s role in raking up Kashmir issue
SRINAGAR: National Conference leader and MP Akbar Lone has “appreciated” the role of Pakistan in raking up the Kashmir issue internationally and “putting pressure” on India, even as he said that his party must contest elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Lone told IANS in an interview that contesting elections has been compulsion in the past though “Kashmiris don’t belong to India”.
“We will have to first understand what powers the new Assembly will have in the event of any elections taking place. As a man from National Conference, whatever the elections, we must contest elections,” he said.
Batting for a united stand by political parties against the abrogation of Article 370, Lone said that all parties must stand together for the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
“All parties like the Congress, National Conference, PDP and other small and big groups must join hands to carry out agitation against India for the return of the special status of the state,” Lone added.
Lone said the clampdown in Kashmir is stopping people from showing their resentment against the scrapping of the special status.
“It is military rule in Kashmir. Every nook and corner of the state is guarded by the Army, by paramilitary forces, people are not allowed to come out, if they would have been allowed to come out, they would have showed their resentment,” Lone said.
He said that he “appreciated” the role of Pakistan and other countries in raking the Kashmir issue internationally and “putting pressure” on India.
“It is a good thing that Pakistan or China or US any other country rakes up the Kashmir issue internationally and supports the cause, they have exposed India, otherwise India would have taken the move as a success without caring about who is who,” he said.
Lone demanded the release of former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and said the party leadership must be allowed to meet these senior leaders to decide the future course of action.
“We must be allowed to see our leaders and they must be released, we will sit down along with other parties to chalk out a joint course of action,” Lone said.
Kashmir integral part of India, says Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind
Top Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JuH) on Thursday came out in support of the Centre’s decision of abrogating provisions of Article 370, saying Kashmir is an “integral part” of the country and the welfare of people in the Valley lies in their integration with India.
In the resolution passed in its annual general meeting held in New Delhi, JuH rallied for a united India.
“It is our belief that the welfare of the people of Kashmir lies in getting integrated with India. The inimical forces and the neighbouring country are bent upon destroying Kashmir. The oppressed and beleaguered people of Kashmir are stuck between opposing forces,” it said, without mentioning Article 370.
“JuH stands steadfastly for the unity and integrity of the country and has accorded it paramount importance. As such it can never support any separatist movement, rather it considers such movements not only harmful for India but also for the people of Kashmir,” it said.
It also said that the current situation in Kashmir demands that peaceful initiatives be launched to maintain peace and security in the region, especially in the view of the repercussions of clash of “atomic powers”.
The Muslim body also appealed to the government of India to protect the people of Kashmir and their property while respecting human rights.
“It must use every possible constitutional means for bringing back normalcy in the region and winning the hearts of the people of Kashmir,” it said.