117 deaths: cost of $1b remittances from Gulf nations

117 deaths: cost of $1b remittances from Gulf nations

Saudi Arabia recorded the highest number of 10,416 deaths while Bahrain accounted for the least at 1,317 deaths.

Around 10 Indian workers die in Gulf countries every day and for every USD one billion remitted to India, 117 deaths occur, an analysis based on RTI replies and official documents show.

At least 24,570 Indian workers have died in six Gulf countries — Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — since 2012 till mid-2018, according to information collected by transparency activist Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI). This number could increase once the complete figures for Kuwait and UAE are made available.

Saudi Arabia recorded the highest number of 10,416 deaths during this period while Bahrain accounted for the least at 1,317 deaths.

This would come to around 10 Indians dying a day in Gulf countries since 2012, Nayak, who analysed this information with the remittance data, said.

“These deaths are a matter of concern. Workers are dying in their productive age. It should concern the government and it should conduct a study on the working and health conditions of workers going to Gulf countries,” he said.

Remittances from the Gulf countries accounted for $209.07 billion and Nayak’s analysis of RTI data, parliamentary questions and economic data showed that there were more than 187 deaths for every $1 billion received from Oman during 2012-17. It was 183 deaths for Bahrain, 162 deaths for Saudi Arabia.

Qatar accounted for more than 74 deaths for every $1 billion received while the lowest figure of 71 deaths was from the UAE, which interestingly was the source of the highest amount of remittances from Indian workers during this period.

Bahrain which came at the bottom of the list in terms of total remittances during the same period ($7.19 billion), stands at the second place in terms of the number of deaths of Indian workers per USD billion remitted (183).

“In other words, every USD billion earned by Indian workers remitted from Bahrain cost much more in terms of deaths than a similar amount remitted from UAE,” Nayak said.

Comparing the remittances from Gulf countries at $72.3 billion since 2012 with other countries, the analysis said the remittance from the United States was only $68.37 billion while it was $23 billion from the United Kingdom and a mere $17.3 billion from Canada.

“However, the Indian diaspora in the developed world seems to wield more political influence in India than the Indian worker community eking out a living in Gulf countries. This phenomenon also needs a deeper examination from researchers and academics. It appears that blue-collared workers are contributing more to India’s forex kitty than the white-collared workers in the developed countries,” he said.