Persian Gulf Slowdown Washes Up on India’s Shores
Last December, a day after returning to Dubai from his lavish wedding ceremony in this Indian village, Gilson Rodrigues was jolted out of newlywed bliss. Because of the global recession, management told him, he was laid off from his job cleaning rooms in a four-star hotel.
For a month, Mr. Rodrigues unsuccessfully sought another employment in the Persian Gulf emirate. He’s now back in the village, nestled among coconut groves in the southern Indian state of Kerala, and is eking out a living as a day laborer on local farms.
“I had a lot of dreams when I went to Dubai,” says Mr. Rodrigues. “Now, all my dreams are broken.”
The 29-year-old belongs to a growing stream of forced returnees to Kerala, once heralded as a model for developing economies. But this tropical state of 32 million people is uniquely dependent on income from the Gulf: Kerala contributes about half of the five million Indians working in the one-time El Dorado that’s now hammered by sinking oil prices and a construction industry bust.