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Ground report from Kerala / State’s economy depends on the money coming from abroad, migrants send 60 thousand crores every year, their return will have direct effect on economy

CPPR Chairman Dr D Dhanuraj comments in a article published in Dainik Bhasker on May 7, 2020

Image source: Dainik Bhasker

Kerala is ready to welcome its migrants. Today, the first flight with the passenger will reach Kerala. Since the day the online registration for migrants of Kerala has started, a large number of people are registering for return to the country.

As of 3 May, a total of 4.13 lakh people from different countries of the world had registered to send them back home, according to data from the Kerala government’s NORKA Non-Resident Carelit Affairs. Apart from this, 1.5 lakh Kerala people stranded in different states of India have also registered for this. But these are just 10 percent of the total migrants from Kerala who applied for withdrawal. While according to NORKA, 4 million people of Kerala are abroad.

Out of 4.13 lakh people registered from abroad, 61 thousand are returning only because they have been fired. At the same time there are about 9 thousand pregnant women and 10 thousand children and 11 thousand elderly. There are 41 thousand people who went abroad on a tourist visa. Apart from this, among those who have applied to return to the country, there are 806 non-resident Keralites who have completed their jail terms. At the same time, there are 1.5 lakh Malayalees coming from UAE alone.  

Cochin International Airport is almost ready to receive these migrants. These flights are scheduled to arrive between 7 and 13 May. The first phase will have 10 flights with 2150 passengers. Precaution is being taken at the airport regarding all the protocols related to social distancing and corona. Disinfectant will be sprayed in three phases, whose mock drill is being done. Testing has been completed. The temperature gun is ready. Thermal scanners are being installed at the Arrival Gate. All synthetic and textile furniture have been replaced with temporary furniture ie plastic chairs. Apart from this, the Indian Navy has also carried out operations to bring people back and has deployed ships for this. These ships will bring people to Kochi and Kozhikode.

However there are also migrants who have decided not to return. Lijith works in Shah Jahan. He says, ‘I have been working for this company for 15 years, I have decided to stay here. If I return immediately I may not benefit. And there is no guarantee that I will get an entry back into this country. If the entry is found, then what is the confidence of the job. ‘

Sudhish Enidil, who is working as a supervisor in Dubai, says something different. Sudhish said, ‘I did not register to return because there are many people whose return is more important. I am not facing as many problems as many others. Many have lost their jobs and some have visas to expire. Some are living in situations where physical distancing is impossible. I am going to office everyday and do not want to take away the right to return to my country. ‘ The most affected among all this is the economy of Kerala. The loss of jobs of such a large number of migrants will also affect the economy here because this state is largely dependent on the money coming from abroad. According to Dr. D. Dhanuraj, chairman of the Kochi-based think tank Center for Public Policy Research. The return of migrants to Kerala will have a worse effect than any state in India. This will not only affect the economy but also the social fabric. ‘

According to the think tank, Kerala’s wealth is very much dependent on the money coming from abroad. Every year 60 thousand crore rupees come from abroad. If there is growth in Kerala from the service sector to health or retail, then money is coming from outside directly. There may be an increase in loan defaulters in Kerala. 65 percent of the state’s economy is from the service sector.

Dhanuraj says, “Industries will open up soon after the epidemic ends in other states. But that will not be possible in Kerala. In addition, rehabilitation of migrants will also be a big challenge. Among those who are coming back, there are many people who have lost their jobs. The government will have to think about them. Binoy Peter is the Executive Director of the Center for Migration and Inclusive Development CMID. They say the same thing. According to Binoy, the return of migrants will not only affect the economy but also the society as this issue is related to families. He says that the Keralites who were doing blue collar jobs abroad would not be able to do so in Kerala. Not only this, he had the facility to work with full safety abroad, which is not here.

This news article was published in Dainik Bhasker on May 7, 2020. Click here to read

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