Money to India: Transfer Channels for Remittances in the Guntur Region, Andhra Pradesh
Author: Wanda van Kampen
Most studies on remittances in India focus on the national level, and there is a dearth of scholarship on the nature and impact of remittances in smaller urban and rural regions which witness a significant amount of international migration. This research report is based a study in one such provincial town, Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. Guntur has seen significant migration of highly skilled professionals to North America, who send back substantial remittances. The research project studied the transfer of remittances to the Guntur region by evaluating the available modes of transfer and the tie-ups between various institutional facilitators, and analysed the different roles of senders and receivers in the transfer system. The report shows the contradictions in the ideas of banking organisations and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in making decisions about which mode of transfer to employ. An interrogation of advertisements used by banks regarding their remittance facilities shows that banks assume a far greater role of the receiver of remittances in the decision-making process than is actually the case. Instead, the study revealed that it is usually the sender who decides on the mode of transfer to be used, and that the influence of family members in India is rather limited. As a result, through their advertising (aimed at the local families, the receivers of remittances) banks do not reach the right actors in the transfer network, and senders take decisions about the mode of transfer without being well informed about the total scope of services available.