This represents an average annual inflow of Rs 21,500 per household comprising a total of 9 million households.
This was a significant amount considering the fact that the estimated average annual household earnings in India, in 2004, was Rs 61,000.
However, for the poorer section the amount was considerably less. IIMS estimates that the average annual earnings of agricultural labourers in 2004 was just Rs 13,587 and for traditional farmers Rs 42,219.
Interestingly, the study shows that consistent with the labour migration pattern a large share of this sum amounting to Rs 7,623 crore, which was 40% of the total remittances, flowed into farming households.
According to Gautam Bhardwaj, director, IIMS, these estimates were based on proprietary analysis by the research organisation of the Indian Retirement Earnings and Savings (IRES) Survey, 2004.
The IRES captured data on remittances flowing into households from absent household members and was representative of over 90% of households in India. He also points out that accurate estimates of the size of remittances flowing into households have remained elusive as a significant proportion of these funds were ferried through informal channels.
India, one of the worlds significant sources of migrant labour, also has large number of workers migrating within the country looking for better earning opportunities, the study points out. For many the aim was to improve the living standards of the families they leave behind and thus they regularly remit funds back home for this purpose.
Importantly, this is a more robust measure of household remittance flow as it measures the flow from the recipients end, Sandeep Ghosh, executive director, IIMS said.