J. Howard Jones
The focus of this paper is on tribal migrants from southern Rajasthan, working in the neighbouring state of Gujarat. The objectives of the study were to achieve insights into these migrants’ livelihoods and remittance sending practices and their attitudes towards these, and to examine the potential for improvement in money transfers. Most migrants interviewed were in paid employment, largely in the construction and service sectors. They mainly take money home themselves or ask fellow migrants to do this for them; remittances are used for a wide variety of both production and consumption needs. This hand-to-hand system of money transfers has advantages for both senders and receivers, although some remitting migrants have suffered loss of money through theft. With high rates of mobile phone ownership, it is possible that using banking correspondents, a relatively recent innovation in the country aimed at reducing financial exclusion, in conjunction with mobile banking, could combine the valued qualities of informal and formal money transfer systems. Even so, proposals to develop new remittance products for domestic migrants must be clear as to the added value they bring to existing systems and contexts, for both senders and receivers, and for the agents involved in the process.