Nepal’s ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay on Tuesday urged India to consider a special window for Nepali citizens to exchange demonetised notes. He said that many people in Nepal may not have been able to exchange the old currency notes as the Indian government had not made any special provision for them. While the people of lower Nepal, the Terai region that borders India, were able to exchange notes, people in the mountains continue to hold demonetised currency, he said.
Upadhyay said Nepal was “still waiting” even though there had been talks between Nepal Rastra Bank and Reserve Bank of India on the issue. “There was almost a kind of an understanding” between both the central banks that India “will provide a window for exchange of currency notes that Nepali people are holding”, he said. Nepal’s request was to exchange INR 25,000 per account while the Indian side wanted to exchange only INR 4,500 per transaction, he said.
“But I think,” the diplomat said, it has now “been finalised” and Nepal is waiting for the issue to be resolved. “In our highest level also we have again raised this issue,” he said.
About relations between India and Nepal, the Nepal envoy said they had improved considerably since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister. He said that in the last 17-18 years, there were visits from Nepal but the Indian side only paid customary visits when there was an event like SAARC meetings. “Otherwise there were no high-level visits from India.” This has changed since Modi took over, he said. “Now it’s from both the sides.”
Upadhyay said that as the chair of SAARC, Nepal wants to revive the regional body but the “political atmosphere” is “not conducive”, hinting at tension between India and Pakistan. “When we feel the atmosphere is conducive, immediately a SAARC summit will be organised,” he said.