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28th-Feb-2014

BD 5th remittance source of India

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DESPITE India's so-called regional superpower status and Bangladesh's tiny economic outlook, one may believe it or not but Bangladesh is now the fifth largest remittance earning source for India. A Bangalore based magazine has disclosed that expatriate Indians working in Bangladesh have successfully drained away US$ 3,716 million alone last year as half a million Indians are now working in Bangladesh; mostly in the readymade garment industry and in NGOs'.
While most Indian media and politicians are continuously making the point that India is inundated by illegal migrants from Bangladesh, the report in Silicon India showed that the reverse is actually true . It tells us that it is not only the richer countries but Bangladesh also which is providing employment to the bulk of Indians and they are sending a overwhelming flow of remittance to their homes. The report mentioned about scores of illegal immigrants from the Indian states of West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram who have entered Bangladesh and joined the job market. The Indian central government's documents also confirmed the fact as per the news report.     
As we see, the World Bank figure showed that India earned the highest value of remittances  in the world. It earns US$ 71 billion annually followed by China which earns $60 billion. It is indeed surprising that Bangladesh rests in the list of India's top remittance sources along with the world's top developed nations. According to descending order of earning, Bangladesh stands fifth among India's top remittance providers only next to UAE, USA, KSA and UK. Last year Bangladesh provided 5 percent of the total remittance earnings of India which had a eight times larger population and a 23 times larger landmass. Estimations suggest that the rising flow of remittance will only exponentially increase in the near future.   
We know in an age of free trade and mobility of capital it is very natural that the two countries with a long shared border and economic potentials will reciprocally share their resources to develop the region. But, it does not take an economist to know that India only believes in one-way traffic and it wants to be at the receiving end. Apart from regular killings, rapes, intimidation and torture of unarmed people on the high rise barbed border, Bangladeshis' are clearly not getting similar treatment from India when it comes about job opportunities or duty free export access into the Indian market. India's exports to Bangladesh are now around $10 billion including remittances while our exports to India now stands at around $600 million. This is definitely not the win-win situation and can only be compared with a colonial trading system.
The breaking of the news by the Indian magazine has come as an eye opener to the nation and we suggest that the government take a review of the situation to apprise the nation of the reality in the ground. We don't know about the employers and the internal police verification system. We don't know how Bangladesh Bank is monitoring transfer of money by Indian expatriates. Some politicians may compromise, but the nation must take hold of its affairs.