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NRIs Opt for Direct Remittances
Thursday, February 28, 2008

India gets the largest recipient of remittances which is over $20 billion for almost four years now. But a chunk of this money is not new money sent by migrant Indians. Almost half the money is conversion of NRI deposits into the accounts of their relatives back home. But this year there is a slight shift in the pattern with NRIs opting for direct remittances, instead of parking them in deposits.

Remittances are reflected in `private transfers' in the balance of payments. It comprises remittances for family maintenance, local withdrawals from Non-Resident Rupee Account, gold and silver brought through passenger baggage, and personal gifts/donations to charitable/religious institutions.

Recent data of RBI reveals that out of the total remittances (private transfers) amounting to $19 billion during April-September'07, $8.3 billion was local withdrawals of NRI deposits while $9.4billion was on account of inward remittance for family maintenance.

The share of this component which contributed a significant share of remittance flow to India at about 60% in 1999-2000 dipped to 47% in 2006-07. In the first half of 2007-08, however, the share of inward remittances was about 50% of total remittance flow to India.

According to the RBI, in the recent past, a rising trend of local withdrawals can be attributed to the income levels of migrants, ease of transferring money through NRE deposits and rising investment opportunities domestically.

A recent survey on the pattern of remittances indicates that not all the money which comes in the form of remittances for family maintenance is actually used for the purpose it is sent for. With the Indian markets booming and offering attractive returns, NRI money is increasingly flowing into lucrative avenues such as stock markets and real estate.

 

 

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