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Mumbai, November 17, 2014 (Online News India): Western Union, a leader in global payment services undertook an economic impact study to understand the money transfer practices of consumers as well as the impact of remittance on their lives. The study was conducted by Western Union in association with Nielsen, a leading global provider of consumer information and insights. It was conducted across seven states of India Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

According to the World Bank, India remains the leader in receiving remittances and is estimated to receive approximately USD 71 billion in 2014.  With Western Union services being available for over the past two decades in India, Western Union has played a key role facilitating the flow of remittances into India from around the world. As per the study, migration from India is predominantly to the Middle East, United Kingdom and United States of America but the receipt of remittances varies across regions within India. The study also captured the impact of these remittances on various parameters like lifestyle, health requirements, medical facilities, education, household expenditure, savings, investment and others. The results of the study were unveiled by Western Union jointly with India Post.

Over the years, Western Union has worked closely with its key principal Agents across India to facilitate remittances. One such important collaboration that is over a decade old is between Western Union and India Post. Both brands have a long heritage and the trust of consumers. With Western Union services available across the network of India Post locations in urban as well as remote rural parts of the country, consumers are able to access financial services, furthering the growth of financial inclusion in India.

Kiran Shetty, Regional Vice President and Managing Director, India and South Asia, Western Union said, “As Western Union moves money from across the world into India, it is very satisfying to see the important role that remittances play in improving the lives of families across the country. Remittances are used to raise the immediate standards of living and enable access to healthcare. Additionally, a significant portion of the money received from abroad is used to fund education, developing skills and the long term economic prospects of communities we serve. We are grateful to India Post, as we have worked together to serve consumers in cities as well as hard to reach rural areas. We will continue to work together to expand our reach and service offering to consumers across the country.”

Pradipta Kumar Bisoi, Chief Postmaster General Maharashtra Circle Department of Post said, “At India Post, we strive to exceed the expectations of our consumers and society. Remittances into India over the years have helped increase financial inclusion and enhancement of lives of Indian families and we are glad to collaborate with a global brand such as Western Union, which is virtually synonymous to Money Transfer across the world.”

The study was conducted across a varied age group ranging from 22 to 64 years across demography’s. These respondents should have received at least INR 50,000 in last one year from a relative in another country and have received money at least 3 times in last 12 months. Survey had participation from close to 3000 respondents from key cities in India, documenting their responses through face to face interviews. The survey revealed some very interesting facts and insights about the remittance flow and usage in India.

Some of the key findings of the study:

Average annual remittance in India per family is INR 2, 30,000.

In a majority of the households, members have migrated outside India for better employment opportunity 56% and to overcome financial challenges at home 41%.

87% of senders have full time employment with 47% having white collared jobs and 40% blue collared jobs.

The study revealed that remittances ensure sustainable future by supporting families to fulfill their basic utilities of life. The top three reasons that remittances are used for are to meet daily needs 72%, pay medical expenses 62% and provide an education 58%.

Overall 77% of the respondents agreed that remittances have reduced economic problems of their household.

When asked separately on how Remittances have impacted parameters like lifestyle, Health and Medical, Schooling/Education and Savings/Investment : About 63% of the respondents agreed that remittances have provided a significant improvement in their lifestyle About 63% agreed that remittances have led to better schooling and higher education in terms of computer education 59% and plan for higher education 57%.

50% agreed that the remittances have helped in increased savings and investments. The increased savings is mostly in terms of money deposited in bank accounts 80% followed by Buying Insurance 50%.

Overall remittances have led to better lifestyle, health and education for the Indian family members.

Approximately 90% of respondents in Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have utilized the remittance money for extracurricular activities, insurance and education for children.

In Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal, over 50% of receivers use the remittance money for bettering the house or changing the type of house.

The study clearly highlights that Indian families receiving remittances have seen great improvements in their standard of living, financial independence while also raising the standards of education and skills for their children, ensuring long term benefit.

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