The central banks of India and Nepal are discussing the “technical issues” related to return of demontised Indian currency notes, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale Saturday said, hoping the apex banks of the two neighbouring countries would be able to resolve it. Gokhale made the remark during a press meet, a day after Nepalese prime minister K P Sharma Oli urged his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to allow exchange of demonetised high-value Indian currency notes held by the country’s banks and the general public at the earliest.
“Our Reserve Bank and their Nepal Rashtra Bank are having discussions on that. We must understand that it is a very complex issue and a lot of time has passed since demonetisation was announced in 2016 and it is 2018 now. There are some technical issues which only the central banks will be able to resolve. Talks are underway,” he said.
According to the Nepal’s national bank, the Nepal Rashtra Bank (NRB), nearly 33.6 million Indian rupees in Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 banknotes — which were junked overnight on November 8, 2016 — but are currently in the Nepali banking channel. “I requested Modi Ji to facilitate the exchange of demonetised currency notes held in the Nepali banking system and by general public, at the earliest,” Oli had said Friday at a joint press meet after their bilateral talks.
The land-locked country depends on India for trade and supplies. Indian currency is widely used in Nepal for day-to-day transactions, especially in the border areas. In March, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced that Nepal would soon get exchange facilities for the demonetised high-value Indian currency notes to ease difficulties faced by Nepalese citizens. Jaitley, who was on a visit to Nepal, had said the NRB and the Reserve Bank of India would set a modality for the exchange of demonetised currency notes soon and settle the related issues.