Visible signs of distress as expats dip into non-residents’ deposits in Kerala banks – The New Indian Express

Express press service

KOCHI: Bank deposits by non-resident Keralites have declined, perhaps for the first time, indicating distress in the state’s large expatriate community. NR deposits in banks in Kerala decreased by Rs 593 crore to Rs 235,897 crore for the quarter ending September 2021 compared to the previous quarter, according to figures made available on Saturday.

Experts said the decline indicates that expats are dipping into reserves as large numbers have returned to the state after losing their jobs, mostly from West Asian countries, in the past two years. In July last year, around 15 lakh Keralites returned to the state from all over the world since the first week of May 2020. Of these, 10.45 lakh cited ‘job loss’ as the reason for their return.

NR deposits have been steadily growing in Kerala banks despite the recent change in the structure of the Malayali workforce in the Gulf countries, focusing more on white collar jobs, where there are fewer opportunities.

NR deposits soared by a whopping Rs 54,867 crore from Rs 181,623 crore in September 2018 to Rs 236,490 crore in June 2021, before dropping for the first time in the September 2021 quarter. should not be confused with remittances, the experts said.

NR remittances are currency funds sent by NRIs to their families and relatives for maintenance and upkeep while NR deposits are currency deposits made in a bank in the country by a non-resident Indian , which can be repatriated at maturity.

“The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on Kerala migrants, especially those from the Gulf. This is evident from the pattern of remittances since the start of 2020. , around 15 lakh, have returned to Kerala since the outbreak. All of these have contributed to a drop in remittances and hence NRI deposits in Kerala,” said Divya Balan, assistant professor and migration expert at FLAME University of Pune.

She said that since this pandemic-induced return migration was unplanned and unplanned, many returnees are forced to withdraw money from their NR accounts for living expenses, as in many cases migrants have had to leave the Gulf without receiving their benefits. “Some withdrew funds to start small subsistence businesses due to the uncertainty of remigration to the Gulf or elsewhere,” Balan said.

Joseph KV, director of the International Institute of Migration and Development based in Thiruvananthapuram, estimated that the pattern of declining NR deposits would continue for a few more quarters before leveling off and even growing again.

“What we are seeing now is due to the return of expatriates from the Gulf countries. But we are also seeing a large number of people migrating from Kerala to the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe in recent times. So , I expect these people to start sending money home within the next year or two,” he said.

According to the government agency NoRKA Roots, there are about 40 lakh Keralites outside the country. However, it does not have data on expatriates who have emigrated or returned to their overseas destinations.

Comments are closed.