India received $50.6 bn in private transfers in 2009


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The latest March 31 balance of payments data from India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), shows that India received $50.6 billion in private transfers in the 2009 calendar year.  This represents a modest decline (-1.4 percent) compared to private transfer receipts for the 2008 calendar year.

Perhaps more importantly, the data on private transfers - which comprise mostly remittances from Indian migrants - shows that remittance flows to India declined sharply in the first quarter of 2009, but then have picked up in the remaining quarters, with a clear upward trend in the fourth quarter of 2009. Whether this recovery will continue into 2010 is still an open question. Look out for our forthcoming Migration and Development Brief for some answers!      

The Economic Times erroneously reported last week that inward private transfers to India reached $55 billion in 2009. The correct figure is $50.6 billion.



Sanket Mohapatra

Associate Professor, IIM Ahmedabad

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April 23, 2010

The figures quoted by RBI includes Inflows into India into Resident Indian domestic accounts for purposes of family maintainence, personal gifts & donations to religious and charitable institutions, Gold silver part of passenger baggage and local withdrawals/ redemptions from NRI accounts into domestic accounts in India.

Thus it doesnot include remittances into NRI accounts from overseas but includes the withdrwals from these accounts into India.

I believe that what you report in your Bilateral Remittances statistics (which also differs typically from what is reported by RBI), takes care of the above i.e. includes Inflows into domestic/ NRI accounts and excludes the local withdrawals/ redemptions from NRI accounts into domestic accounts in India.

I wonder what's the explaination for this only marginal impact in this year vis-a-vis last year, the scale of crisis was huge. With news on salary cuts, job losses, lower outflow on new migrants from India, the money sent would have been for meeting the essential family maintainance needs in India, some amount of savings may have been transferred by NRIs into their accounts in India owing to the unstanble economic situation overseas. This would be especially true from the developed world countries like US, UK, EU etc. Then which region has contributed to the higher inflows, is it the Gulf...will be great, if you can share your views/ analysis