Migrants' Private Giving and Development: Diasporic Influences on Development in Central Gujarat, India

Puja Guha


The returns from international migration often are examined only through household-level remittance transfers, to the neglect of other forms of migrant resource transfers. An important and often overlooked kind of migrant transfer is philanthropy or charitable donations. Remittances and philanthropy are usually treated separately in the literature, and often a dichotomised approach is adopted while examining the impacts of these transfers. This approach has created a gap in our understanding of the effects of migrants’ private transfers on the development of local and regional economies. This paper addresses this gap by bringing different forms of migrant transfers within a single framework, together referred to as migrants’ ‘private giving’.

The paper addresses the migration-development debate by developing a framework for understanding who are the migrants, what they are sending back, and how these transfers are being utilised in the local economy. It argues that the social backgrounds and migration histories of migrants – in terms of their destination of migration, duration of stay, and occupation – influence the nature of their private giving, which in turn can be mapped to development in the region. Taking the central region of Gujarat, India as a reference case, it traces the pattern of private giving by migrants from the region and their contribution to regional development. The data show that although household remittances are an important source of development finance in this region, diaspora philanthropy has contributed significantly to development.

Keywords: International Migration, Remittances, Philanthropy, Private Giving, Central Gujarat