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Facts about migration and remittances

  • Though India lags behind Mexico in number of emigrants (those migrating abroad), but it remains the largest recipient of remittances, with the figure rising from $49.6 billion in 2009 to $55 billion in 2010.
  • India and China (with $51 billion in remittances), account for almost a quarter of the worldwide remittance flows of $440 billion in 2010, the report estimated.
  • While the developing countries receive the bulk ($325 billion) of total remittances, high-income OECD countries account for just $107 billion of the global remittance flow.
  • Middle-income countries including China, Russia, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Egypt, and Turkey receive most of it ($301 billion), while low-income countries including Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Nepal, Uganda and Cambodia receive just $24 billion. Among these Bangladesh alone receives over $11 billion.
  • It is believed that the true size of remittances, including unrecorded money transfers through informal channels, is considerably larger than the official figures.
  • The recorded remittances in 2009 were nearly three times the amount of official foreign aid and equal to FDI flows to developing countries.
  • The US recorded the largest outflow of remittances in 2009 -- $48 billion -- followed by Saudi Arabia with an outflow of $26 billion and Switzerland and Russia accounting for less than $20 billion of outflows each.
  • Every year 11.4 million Indians migrate abroad, but during the same period 5.4 million come into the country, making India No. 10 in the list of nations attracting the most immigrants -- and No. 2 in Asia, behind Saudi Arabia.
  • India is among the most important destination for Asian migrants, second only to the US. But most of these come from Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.
  • Approximately 37% of Asian migrants move to OECD countries, 43% migrate within the region and the rest migrate to other countries outside the region.
    The World Migration Report 2010, brought out by the International Organization for Migration, says that about 57% of all migrants live in high income countries, up from 43% in 1990.
  • Migrants now make up 10% of the population of high-income regions, up from 7.2% in 1990.
  • The US remains the top migrant destination country in the world, with 42.8 million migrants in 2010 compared to 34.8 million in 2000. However, just over 2.2 million Americans live outside the US, less than 1% of the country's population.
  • For Asia too, the US was the main destination with 7.9 million Asian emigrants going to that country. Asians are the second-largest group of migrants in the US, next to Mexicans, with over 10 million people a 27% share of the total migrant population -- made up of nearly 2 million Chinese, 1.7 million Filipinos and 1.6 million Indians.
  • Many of the big destination countries are also origin countries like Germany, the UK, Ukraine, Russia and India.
  • The top immigration countries relative to population are Qatar where migrants make up 87% of the population, Monaco (72%), the United Arab Emirates (70%), Kuwait (69%) and Andorra (64%).
  • The total number of international migrants or people living outside their country of birth in 2010 to be 215 million persons, or 3% of the world's population, only a marginal increase over the levels recorded in 2005.

These facts have been compiled by the World Bank's just-released Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011.

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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