Chennai: Raghavendran Ganesan was relatively a well-placed emigrant with roots in Tamil Nadu. He was working in a world famous Indian firm and stationed in European Union’s headquarters Brussels in Belgium.
Of course, the entire Indian administrative arm based in Brussels was searching for him after he went missing last week following an IS-triggered bomb blast on a metro train.
That was, of course, a rare situation.
And that kind of attention to each of 35 lakh people from Tamil Nadu living in various parts of the world, who remit over Rs 61,800 crore back to country, not possible even in dreams. “We have seen cases where bodies of people who died in Gulf countries not reaching their homes in Tamil Nadu for months,” says Sr M. Valarmathi, state coordinator for Migrants Forum. Chennai.
Airport sources estimate that 12 to 15 dead bodies arrive every month in the international terminal and most will be from Gulf countries. “Similarly, bodies of Tamil emigrants will be arriving at Tiruchy, Coimbatore and also in Thiruvananthapuram” a police officer said. A government survey last year found there are 3.5 million people from Tamil Nadu working abroad, with Chennai topping the list with 3.2 lakh people, followed by Coimbatore with 1.9 lakh and Ramanathapuram 1.4 lakh. It is estimated that 15 per cent of Tamil emigrants are women.
While 22 lakh people struggle in other countries, the rest – 13 lakh people – returned home because the contract for a majority of them was not renewed last year. While 38 per cent of the returnees said their contracts were not renewed, 19 per cent said family issues had dragged them back, eight per cent noted they were getting poor wages – very less than promised – abroad and another eight per cent decided to come back because of bad health. “It does not mean that once returned, these workers will not go back. They will try to go to another place or another country hoping to land in a better job,” Valarmathi says.
Answering a query in Parliament recently, Gen V. K. Singh, minister of state for external affairs, said the number of Indian workers who emigrated through emigration clearance to 18 notified countries has come down from 8.16 lakh in 2013 to 7.81 lakh in 2015. Singh also said that in the last financial year the remittance back home from Indians abroad was US $ 69 billions. (Rs 4.6 lakh crore )
The survey in Tamil Nadu also found that approximately 10 lakh women in the state are left behind at home because their husbands are working abroad.
The survey showed these women, with an average schooling of 11 years, are more qualified than males in general population. In
In general population, average schooling for males is around 8.5 years while for women it is 7.3 years. The survey showed that nine per cent of women left behind never visited the country where their husbands are working and 97 per cent of them keep in touch with their husbands using mobile phones.
On an average, migrants from Tamil Nadu pay around Rs 1.08 lakh and half of their money is gobbled up by recruitment agencies. The survey shows that 52 per cent of emigrants had met their migration expenses on their own by family support or by borrowed money.