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NRIs in UK, PM of Mauritius and People of UAE – Everyone is talking about Demonetization

Demonetization

Last week the government of prime minister Narendra Modi scrapped high-denomination banknotes in an attempt to tackle corruption and tax evasion, setting a December 30 deadline to exchange old

"It does not make sense to rush back to India to deposit money but I may have to," said P Shahani, a housewife with 50,000 rupees, or Dh2,709, in invalid notes.

"It’s a great move overall but it’s not clear how much time we have."

Jai Shirke, an electrician, was anxious because he could not go home for two years.

"I have 3,000 rupees," Mr Shirke said. "My boss says that it’s nothing, but it’s a lot of money to me. It should not go waste.

"It’s a good move to catch big people sitting on black money, but why can’t people like me go back later and deposit money we have worked for?"

It may not be worthwhile for most Indians to travel back immediately because a return fare to Mumbai costs between 16,600 and 36,900 rupees.

Those heading home have borrowed change from friends in small notes because exchange counters at airports have run out.

Expatriates can give their friends a letter of authorisation, a copy of their ID and their invalid notes to friends or relatives returning home, but many would rather do it themselves.

Sayed Qutbur Rehman, head of a construction company, said the government’s move was ill conceived.

"It is a big problem for everybody, businessmen and normal people," Mr Rehman said. "There are queues everywhere, the country and people are suffering. They should have found a more reasonable method."

The government said the crackdown hit at the black economy, which investment company Ambit says is worth an estimated 20 per cent of India’s annual US$2 trillion (Dh7.34tn) gross domestic product.

Indians are allowed to carry up to 25,000 rupees in cash when entering or leaving the country.

Money exchanges in the UAE have stopped accepting the old notes.

"Expatriates need to be patient – measures will be taken to see the common man does not lose a single rupee," said Sudhir Kumar Shetty, president of UAE Exchange.

"We also have a stock of rupees and have sought clarification from the UAE Central Bank to deal with this invalid money. The top priority of the Indian government is to dispatch new notes, only then will they look overseas."

The Indian embassy said it would take up the concerns with the ministry of external affairs.

A large number of Indian citizens resident in the United Kingdom and people of Indian origin have appealed to the Narendra Modi government to allow exchange of demonetised currency worth 1000 and 500 rupees abroad.

“Business will be greatly impacted. If we can get rid of corruption, lot of investment will come in and India will look like a different country”, he told HT.

Britain has one of the largest Indian diaspora that maintains close business, family and cultural links with India. Many possess rupees in the demonetized currencies for use during visits to India, but have not been to exchange them in Indian banks based here.

Concerns were raised through the Indian high commission, with appeals that exchange of old notes be allowed in the United Kingdom. According to RBI, non-resident Indians need to exchange notes in India or authorise someone to do it for them before December 30.

“The demonetisation has caused significant inconvenience and hardship for many thousands of Indian citizens and NRIs not based in India. The Indian government has not put in place enough safeguards to ensure that people with legitimate savings they have worked hard for are not left worse off”, senior Labour MP Virendra Sharma, whose constituency of Ealing Southall has a large population of Indian origin, told HT on Wednesday.

There are several Indian banks are based in the United Kingdom, but they have put up notices on entrances and websites that they do “not deal in Indian Rupee Notes from our UK branches and hence, we will not be in a position to handle the Rupee note exchange process (including withdrawal of old notes)”.
 

BY UITV, NOV 19