GUWAHATI, Feb 5 � It is an established fact that large-scale illegal migration from Bangladesh has posed a threat to national security and threatened the identity of the people, particularly in Assam, but another disturbing fact that recently came to light is, now it is evident that such migration has also posed a threat to the country�s economy.
A report of the World Bank indicated that Bangladeshi migrant workers are sending home huge amounts of money every year and according to persons who are well versed with economic affairs, such remittances can adversely affect the economy of the country, from where the money is sent out.
The report of the World Bank revealed that Bangladeshi migrant workers sent home 14 billion dollars in the year 2013 and India tops the list of the countries from where such workers sent money back home. In that year alone, Bangladeshi migrant workers sent home 6.6 billion dollars from India, which was six per cent of the GDP of the country and 47 per cent of the money sent back by them from different countries of the world. The report revealed that Saudi Arabia ranks second in the list as Bangladeshi migrant workers managed to send home 1.52 billion dollars from that country, while Kuwait, the United Kingdom and the United States of America came down the list.
The report pointed out that India is the preferred destination for the Bangladeshi migrant workers because of various reasons and the first reason is the low cost of migration from Bangladesh to India. It may be mentioned that India shares more than four thousand kilometres of border with Bangladesh and people from the neighbouring country have been coming to India both legally and illegally for years. The report further admitted, quoting an Asia Foundation report, that there were instances where Bangladeshi migrant workers could avoid even documents from time to time to come to India. No one knows how many Bangladeshi migrants are working in India, but around five lakh visas were issued in 2012-13 alone, the report said.
Commenting on this phenomenon, senior police officer Kula Saikia, who had worked as a consultant to the World Bank in Washington while availing Fulbright scholarship in Pennsylvania State University, said that such remittances sent back by the migrant workers of Bangladesh would have definite impacts on the economy of that country. He said that in pure economic terms, such remittances would lead to increase in consumption level of the country of origin of the migrant workers, which, in turn, would improve the economy of their country. The income distribution of the country of origin of the migrant workers also improves and this encourages the growth process of the economy. This has a positive impact on capital availability because of increase in savings.
Saikia, who used to teach Economics in Hindu College, Delhi before joining the Indian Police Service, pointed out that if the migrant workers are engaged in unskilled activities like manual jobs, domestic help, rickshaw pullers, daily wage labourers etc, that would mean taking away the job opportunities of the people of the country of destination of the migrant workers. This will have a negative impact on the labour market wage payments in the country of destination of the migrant workers. Commenting on the issue, former vice principal of the Gauhati Commerce College, Ranjit Narayan Deka said that because of such huge outflow of funds, the purchasing power of the people of India would go down and there would be a huge erosion in the fund availability. �If the money had stayed in India, it would have helped in income generation. The consumer goods market would have received a boost, while, employment opportunities for the locals would have improved,� he added. He further admitted that such outflow of money is dangerous for India and such migration of unskilled workers must be stopped. However, at the same time, he said that Bangladeshi migrant workers provide cheap labour and that is why people tend to engage them instead of engaging local workers.