New Delhi: India received an estimated USD 14.36 billion in remittances from Pakistan in last three years, if World Bank's 'analytical estimates' are to be believed.
Interestingly, World Bank itself says this is "not an actual official data" and only "an estimate based on logical assumptions".
The World Bank's Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016 says, "India was the largest remittance receiving country, with an estimated USD 72 billion in 2015, followed by China (USD 64 billion) and the Philippines (USD 30 billion)."
World Bank said those living in Pakistan sent USD 4.9 billion to India in 2015. Its Bilateral Remittance Matrix put the money flowing from Pakistan to India in 2014 at USD 4.79 billion and USD 4.67 billion the year before that.
The numbers are astonishingly high considering direct remittances are highly restricted and there may not be many NRIs in Pakistan who would be sending money back home.
Reached for an explanation, Dilip Ratha, Manager, Migration and Remittances at the World Bank, said, "The reported remittances from Pakistan to India are not an actual, official data. It is an analytical estimate derived from a global estimation of bilateral remittance flows worldwide. This estimate is just that, an estimate based on logical assumptions."
He said the caveats attached to the estimates are: "The data on Indian migrants in various destination countries are incomplete; the incomes of Indian migrants abroad and the costs of living in India are both proxied by per capita incomes in PPP terms, which is only a rough proxy; and there is no way to capture remittances flowing through informal, unrecorded channels."
According to World Bank, India in 2015 received the highest remittance from UAE at USD 13.2 billion. Remittance from the US was second at USD 11.5 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia at USD 11 billion.
At USD 4.9 billion, remittances from Paksitan to India were fourth largest and ranked 14th highest remittance between two countries in the world.
"There is clearly an urgent need to improve bilateral remittance flow data worldwide, but in particular in the subcontinent. The way forward would be for the authorities to collect such data from money service businesses and banks and complement that with periodic household surveys involving migrant households," Ratha said.
Also, small remittances are overwhelmingly sent by migrants for genuine, day-to-day use by their families back home. "It is wrong to assume that remittances are associated with financial or other crime."
Ratha said data on remittances are incomplete in many countries, especially data on bilateral remittance flows.
"This is due to the fact that (a) remittances were ignored as small change until recently; (b) remittance flows are under-recorded due to the use of informal channels in many corridors, a response to high cost of sending money across countries; and (c) bilateral remittance flows are difficult to measure because a large part of recorded remittances are often attributed to originate from countries where large international correspondent banks have headquarters," he said.