Demonetisation: Indians abroad confused, turned down by banks

According to the Reserve Bank of India, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) have the option of depositing the Indian notes in their non-resident ordinary rupee account (NRO).

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai | Published:November 10, 2016 3:10 am
BJP, BJP demonetisation move, reaction of common man, Amit Shah, 500-1000 rupee notes invalid, curbing black money, congress criticizes, narendra modi, Modi Governmaent, indian express news “Given the current state of Indo-Pak relations, I suspect converting Indian currency here will be difficult,” said Malik-ul-Ashtar, a resident of Karachi. (Reuters)

For many Indians living abroad, and holding Indian currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, the confusion and chaos is as much as it is back home.  On Tuesday, soon after the government announced that existing notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 would no longer be legal tender from midnight, several expatriate Indians rushed to money exchange traders and banks to convert their currency. For Amey Pophale, 26, a student at the University of Illinois in Chicago, it was a futile attempt. He had Rs 10,000 in cash in Rs 500 denomination. “I went to three banks, Bank of America, J P Morgan and Agricultural Bank of China, and all of them refused to exchange money,” he said. Amey intends to send the old currency notes through his friend who is planning to visit India next month. “There is confusion here. Nobody is willing to take old currency,” he said.

Like him, Radhika Dhawan attempted to exchange money at the St Paul International Airport in Minneapolis, USA. She even enquired with Walmart for transferring money. Her request was declined with officials saying that the option to exchange Indian currency was temporarily unavailable.

According to the Reserve Bank of India, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) have the option of depositing the Indian notes in their non-resident ordinary rupee account (NRO) while Indian tourists can purchase foreign exchange equivalent to Rs 5,000 at airport exchange counters within 72 hours of the notification. However, several foreign exchange centres have declined to exchange the old denomination notes in USA, Pakistan and New Zealand.

Chaitra Acharya, who lives in Volda in Norway, has to travel 71 km to Alesund where the closest exchange office is located. “Travelling here is expensive and I have no option but to travel to Alesund to exchange it. It is my hard-earned money and I don’t want to devalue it,” said Acharya, adding, “While black money holders are buying gold, land, luxurious cars and other stuff, it is the common man who is suffering. People who are not living in India have more problems in exchanging currency.”

In Pakistan, the confusion is more intense. “Given the current state of Indo-Pak relations, I suspect converting Indian currency here will be difficult,” said Malik-ul-Ashtar, a resident of Karachi. His mother returned from India with Rs 5,000 in August. The family planned to use it in their next visit. However, money exchange traders in Karachi have now refused to accept the old currency.

“I went to a few individual exchange traders. They asked me to wait for a few days. Even though the amount I have is small, it doubles in Pakistani currency. It may go waste,” said Shireen Morbiwala, also a resident of Karachi. Several Indians The Indian Express spoke to said they will wait for the new notes to be unveiled abroad before trying to exchange currency again.

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    Anil Kumar
    Nov 12, 2016 at 6:31 pm
    It is disgraceful for the Indian government to treat NRI's like this. I can see the point of getting black money identified for Indians living in India, but people like us who only go to India for holidays and take legitimate sterling with us are now being penalised]. No UK bank will accept Rupee notes.lt;br/gt;Mr. Arun Jathley - please review your options for NRIs living abroad.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;We jointly bring between 15,000 to 20,000 Rupees in notes for use on our next trip. Looks like wasted notes are good for nothing.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Mr Modhi should make some arrangements for NRIs.
    Reply
    1. J
      JD
      Nov 11, 2016 at 6:31 pm
      Write to consulates, Ministry, PM office, RBI..fill them with emails and complains. I did. make emails brief and to the points with bullet-ed difficulties.lt;br/gt;Ask them to: lt;br/gt;1. Extend the period of exchange with proper ID to deposit into account for NRI till next visit instead of March 31, 2017lt;br/gt;ORlt;br/gt;2. Allow/Authorize US banks/Money Ex-changers to accept Indian currency.lt;br/gt;3. Feel free to put a reasonable limit on the amount. A family of three will probably have close to equivalent of Rupees 75,000 (or about US $1000.00lt;br/gt;4. Mandate Indian Bank branches in US to allow deposit to NRO account
      Reply
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        Clinton Albuquerque
        Nov 15, 2016 at 3:48 pm
        Yes, its ridiculous that the NRI situation has not been taken into consideration! I called the Indian Emby in Berlin and they consensus was i should keep googling for updates!
        Reply
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          Cool
          Nov 10, 2016 at 6:14 pm
          I have also faced the same problem. Unfortunate that Indian government has not thought about the problems which Indian's will face.
          Reply
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            Deepak
            Nov 16, 2016 at 4:26 pm
            Same here. Dont know where to exchange this money
            Reply
            1. S
              SilverChariot
              Nov 14, 2016 at 6:17 pm
              Share it , tweet it , till it reaches Indian Prime Minister, Foriegn Minister and Finance Ministerlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;
              Reply
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                Kumar
                Nov 10, 2016 at 9:52 pm
                I have 25000 INR, no bank wants to exchange currency anywhere in Ohio. Indian government really cares less about NRIs and there is no time limit extended for NRIs. shame.
                Reply
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                  Amit
                  Nov 10, 2016 at 9:42 pm
                  I have also faced the same problem. I have 30000 Indian Rs. lt;br/gt;But I do have faith in my Indian Gov. They will do something for for sure.
                  Reply
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                    SH PASHA
                    Nov 13, 2016 at 5:43 am
                    I have 20,000 INR, no bank wants to exchange currency here in Saudi Arabia. Indian government really cares less about NRIs and there is no time limit extended for NRIs. I request Authorities to look into the matter and solve the issue.
                    Reply
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                      Subash
                      Nov 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm
                      Same here. Dont know where to exchange this money
                      Reply
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                        kumar
                        Nov 21, 2016 at 3:37 am
                        foreign born indians have always been seen as foreigners when we ask something. but when we give we are indian. . its time foreign indians stopped sending or supporting india. we will never get same treatment. India needs foreign Indians who are not brought up in a corrupt society to run the country. u can hire all the babuji u want it'll never change india.
                        Reply
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