Indians living abroad sent home world record $100bn in 2022

Diaspora's contribution to economy is the first time a country has passed the 12-figure milestone

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who spoke at a session of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention on Tuesday. Reuters
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Indians living abroad sent home a record $100 billion last year, the first time a country has received a 12-figure sum from citizens overseas.

The figure, a 12 per cent increase on 2021, represents the largest remittances of any country in the world.

It was revealed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday.

She was speaking at a session of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention, an event for non-resident Indians, in Indore in central Madhya Pradesh state.

“Remittances are about $100 billion for the year 2022,” Ms Sitharaman said.

This is the first time a country has reached the milestone figure, according to the World Bank.

India has been the largest recipient of remittances since 2008. Its 2022 total dwarfed Mexico's $60 billion, the second-highest country. China was third at $51 billion.

Millions of Indians were forced to return home after losing their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. But they swiftly returned abroad after finding “very useful” employment, which helped the economy, Ms Sitharaman said.

India chartered thousands of flights from 136 countries to repatriate 6.7 million stranded citizens during the pandemic, the largest such operation.

It has the largest overseas diaspora, with over 32 million either settled as non-resident Indians or with overseas citizenship, according to government figures.

Gulf countries alone host 10 million Indians, with the largest portion of 3.5 million living in the UAE.

The US had the second largest Indian population at 2.7 million.

Indians continue to move abroad. Over 1.6 million Indians have given up their citizenship since 2011, including more than 183,000 in 2022, according to government data.

Indian High School pupils celebrate Flag Day in Dubai. There are 3.5 million Indians in the UAE. Pawan Singh / The National

Indians in the Gulf contribute roughly 62 per cent of the money sent home. Remittances to India from the UAE stood at US$14.89 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

Ms Sitharaman called non-resident and overseas Indians the country's “real ambassadors”. She appealed to them to use Indian-made products and services to promote the country’s brand.

More than 3,500 non-resident Indians, mainly businessmen and entrepreneurs, from 70 countries will attend the three-day-long Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention, which ends on Wednesday.

It is the Indian government's flagship event for Indians living overseas.

It started in 2002 and is observed annually on January 9 — the day India’s “Father of the Nation” Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa in 1915.

The 17th edition of the event, the first to taking place in-person since 2019, was launched on Monday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Updated: January 11, 2023, 8:25 AM