Remittance is the money expatriate workers send back home. The high inflows will soften the deficit in the current account, expected to end up closer to 4 per cent as easier global crude prices are offset by a depreciating rupee. Worldwide, too, remittances, including those to high-income countries, the brief says, are expected to total $534 billion in 2012 and projected to reach $685 billion by 2015. While India has emerged as the world’s top recipient of this flow, China follows with $66 billion, while economies like the Philippines and Mexico lag far behind at $24 billion each. For India, remittance flow is the largest of the five streams through which foreign money comes into the economy. About the prospects for the others, the commerce ministry on Wednesday has acknowledged that exports will not reach the target of $360 billion in this fiscal. This means the trade deficit will widen. Inward tourism revenue is minuscule while the events of this past year hardly inspire confidence in India’s ability to attract FII and FDI flows. Thus, remittances play a significant role in keeping the robustness of the foreign exchange story intact.
Since remittances play so vital a role in India’s economy, trade mandarins are keen to keep the flow of workers from India unabated. This is also the reason why the government is eager to expand the ambit of the free trade or
economic cooperation agreements to include the flow of services or workers.