THIRUVANANTHAPURAM - Foreign remittances to Kerala increased 135 percent during 2003-08, making it one of the major pillars of the state’s economy, says a study conducted by the city-based Centre for Development Studies (CDS).
The report, “Decade of Kerala’s Gulf Connection, Migration Monitoring Study, 2008″, said foreign remittances increased from Rs.184,000 crore ($38 billion) in 2003 to Rs.433,000 crore in 2008.
During the period, the number of emigrants went up from 18.4 lakh to 21.9 lakh, registering an increase of 19 percent.
According to the study, the Gulf region is the most preferred destination of Keralites looking for jobs abroad.
Saudi Arabia, which was once the most favourite destination of Keralites going abroad for work, is fast losing its attraction, the study said.
In 1998, 37.5 percent of Kerala emigrants were living in Saudi Arabia. This figure has come down to 23 percent in 2008 when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) emerged as a popular destination.
The UAE increased its share from 31 percent in 1998 to 41.9 percent in 2008.
The study said 40 percent of the total NRKs are from the Muslim community, while 37.7 percent are the Hindus and 21.2 percent are the Christians.
Emigration from Kerala is still predominantly male dominated.
Females constituted just 14.6 percent of the Kerala emigrants in 2008, the study said.
–Indo Asian News Service