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Travel is the Top Reason Why Indians spend Money Overseas

Until last year, the top reason for remittances was Indians sending money abroad for maintenance of close reltives and for studies.

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(Representational Image), wikimedia

Mumbai, April 26, 2017: For the first time, foreign travel has grabbed the spot of the number one reason why Indian individuals spend money overseas.

The top reason for remittances was Indians sending money abroad for study purposes or maintenance of close relatives even until last year.

These remittances are made under the Reserve Bank of India’s Liberalised Remittance Scheme which allows individuals to send up to $250,000 annually.

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Spending money on travel has ranked number three in the list of reasons for remittances for several years. But the current fiscal has witnessed a change in that.

According to TOI reports, in FY17 (up to February 2017), remittances towards travel increased 3.6 times to $2.3 billion, accounting for a third of total international spending by Indians. In FY16, the total amount spent on travel at $651 million, amounted to only 15% of the total remittances.

According to M. Hariprasad, senior VP and head of treasury at Centrum Direct, A good growth has been noticed in travel to destinations like Thailand, Dubai and other places in the Gulf. “A combination of affordable airfares and offers by intermediaries has brought international travel within the reach of a lot many people,” he added.

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In 2013 when the rupee went into a free fall, the forex remittance limit was brought down from $200,000 to $70,000. However, in May 2015 this limit was restored and then increased to $250,000.

The spending on travel has nothing to do with the relaxation of ceiling on forex remittances as average spending is only in thousands of dollars; Hariprasad mentioned.

More than the relaxation of forex limits, overseas travel appears to have been boosted by the firming up of the rupee. However, travel companies insist that the growth is only normal because there is a shift to direct spending through credit cards and online bookings.

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Total remittances by Indians have gone up from $4.3 billion in FY16 to $7 billion in FY17 (up to February), an surprising increase of 63%. On the other hand, Indians sending money abroad for purchase of immovable property has shrunk from $90 million in FY16 to $82 million. A marginal decline on spending for medical treatment purposes overseas from $17 million to $15 million has been spotted as well.

However, as data for March 2017 is not available yet, the numbers could still rise.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

  • Yes. and this is true. We the Indians mostly spend when it comes to travel overseas. Maybe to get closer to the glamour or what.

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US Officials Made ‘Fake’ Facebook Profiles to Nab Indians

The social network has also contacted the Department of Homeland Security about its policy on fake accounts

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook has said that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) violated its guidelines by creating fake profiles on its platform tied to the University of Farmington — a sham institution that left over 600 students, 90 per cent of them Indians, in detention.

The Facebook profiles were allegedly created by the ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

“Law enforcement authorities, like everyone else, are required to use their real names on Facebook and we make this policy clear on our public-facing aLaw Enforcement Guidelines’ page,” a Facebook representative told the daily.

“Operating fake accounts is not allowed, and we will act on any violating accounts.”

The University of Farmington had a website as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts – but did not have a campus or faculty.

About 600 foreign students had enrolled with the fake university floated by the US authorities under a sting operation. More than 80 per cent of these students were from the two Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

“In a network of suspicious Facebook accounts linked to the University of Farmington, the college’s alleged president, Ali ‘AJ’ Milani, liked the Michigan Jaguars sports club and had a 51-person friend list that was mostly people from South Asia,” the report claimed.

“Carey Ferrante, who did not list any link to the school but had interactions with persons interested in it, posted three photos of herself that were actually stock photos and sent Facebook messages to at least one person,” it added.

Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Facebook has now removed the University of Farmington accounts.

Each student had paid $20,000 to $25,000 to get enrolled in the fake university, which recruited students in 26 states across the US.

Confirming that 172 students have been arrested for civil immigration violations in the case, ICE’s north-east regional communications director Khaalid Walls declined to comment on the Facebook accounts.

The social network has also contacted the Department of Homeland Security about its policy on fake accounts.

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The US immigration officials kept 129 Indian students in “administrative detention” and arrested eight recruiters involved with the university.

At least 30 students from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana returned from the US in February. They were those who were not detained or served notices by the US authorities in the “pay-to-stay” fake university scam.

The External Affairs Ministry had issued a demarche to the US Embassy in New Delhi asserting that the students “have been duped into enrolling in the ‘university’ (and) should be treated differently from those recruiters who duped them”. (IANS)