Singapore is the third-most popular destination for Indians working abroad after the United States and the Middle East. The Indian envoy has said that over 17,000 workers have already been flown back to India as part of the repatriation scheme put in place to accommodate Indians working abroad who have been affected by the coronavirus lockdown.
Thousands of Indian workers are returning home as Singapore has slashed its business workforce amid the pandemic and the economic strain inflicted by it, according to Indian High Commissioner P. Kumaran.
Kumaran has said in a statement that “on an average, about 100 Indian nationals in Singapore continue to register daily with the High Commission here for flights back home, with over 11,000 having registered so far.”
Since May, when India kicked off its repatriation mission ‘Vande Bharat’, nearly 120 special flights have been carried out between the two Asian countries to bring back Indian nationals.
On Tuesday (8 September), the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau’s (SCCB) quarterly survey of 200 business owners showed a massive decline in employment expectations in the country, while also reporting that an economic contraction of around six percent is expected this year. The survey said that employment expectation has declined to -13.19 percentage points for the fourth quarter, from -3.29 percentage points in the third quarter.
Nevertheless, India and Singapore are strengthening the bilateral ties by amplifying their political engagement, increasing trade and technology collaborations.
Stating that the country is working out a collaboration with Singapore on facilitating digital payments through India’s RuPay card, the envoy pointed out, “We have planned an India-ASEAN hackathon later this year, as part of similar hackathons done between Indian and Singapore in the past.”
The country is also popular among Indian investors because of its business-friendly regulations and is a longstanding FDI source for the Indian market.
“By expanding collaborations with SMF (Singapore Manufacturing Federation), we aim to bring in more industries into the manufacturing sector in the country,” the high commissioner said.
Indians comprise 9.2 percent of the population of the Southeast-Asian nation; this proportion has risen from 7 percent in the 1990s. Singapore is also considered India’s gateway to east Asia.