Sunday, 28 June 2009

Indians in the Gulf are poor money savers

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Life is not rosy for lakhs of Indians employed in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries as only five per cent of the NRIs there earn enough to lead a normal life on return to India.
An on-line and field survey conducted by Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, a Dubai-based non-governmental organisation working for bettering the lives of Indian workers in GCC countries, a whopping 95 per cent of NRIs in the Gulf do not save anything and return empty handed to India even after working for a decade. Only five per cent of the Indian labour force including the white collared bring enough money to live happily back home.
Trust chairman KV Shamsuddin told this correspondent that though only 10 per cent of Indian workers in GCC nations live with families, a majority of them fail to save sufficient money due to low wages and high expenditure on medical treatment. Contrary to the popular belief that Indian workers earn high salaries in the Gulf, a minuscule 15 per cent of NRIs get salaries upward of 4500 Dirhams. As many as 34 per cent of employees do not save at all while only two per cent of NRI families back home save something for future. The salary is as low as 350 Dirhams which works out to just 100 US dollars or Rs 4,500 a month.
"We have conducted a survey among middle and low income expatriate Indians in GCC and found only 5 per cent had some financial resources to have some monthly income back home when they return," Shamshuddin said.
The regular remittance to families in India is spent on domestic needs, acquiring a house or on marriage of sisters/daughters. And when they return home, there's hardly anything left. So they once again leave India for the Gulf for re-employment, the survey pointed out.
The most important observation of the survey is that the middle income NRIs in the Gulf sacrifice even basic necessities leading a life of deprivation for their families back home. They work hard in extreme climates, saving and remitting maximum possible funds to give good life to their families.
But only two percent of the families save from the remittance. Even though 98 per cent had agreed that the lifestyle of their families had improved, only 5 per cent felt they could lead a comfortable life if they go back for permanent settlement in India.

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Syed Akbar in an island in river Godavari with Papikonda hills in the background

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Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity