"We have received USD 66.13 billion in remittances in 2011-12," Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said today in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha. The remittances to the country through private transfer of funds have been on the rise in the last few years.
India received USD 53.63 billion in 2009-10 while in 2008-09, the amount was USD 46.9 billion.
Quoting a recent study conducted by Reserve Bank of India, he said remittances from Gulf countries accounted for an average 27 per cent of the total remittances to India during the first half of 2009-10. Listing initiatives to benefit overseas Indians, he said the government has launched the "Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana" to help in resettlement of the overseas Indians on their return to the country.
"By providing a co-contribution from the government, this scheme encourages and enables overseas Indian workers to save for their return and resettlement and to save for their old age. This also provides a free life insurance cover against natural death during the period of coverage, under the scheme," he said.
The scheme is for Indian workers holding Emigration Check Required (ECR) passports and a valid work permit in an ECR country. As per the Emigration Act 1983, Emigration Check Required (ECR) categories of Indian passport holders need to obtain "Emigration Clearance" from the office of Protector of Emigrants (POE) for going to 18 countries.
The countries where ECR is mandatory include United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Brunei, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria, Lebanon and Thailand.