Russian envoy Alexander Kadakin has written to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) saying that the cash crunch following demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1,000 notes was impacting his embassy’s functioning.
He has referred to the State Bank of India’s notification informing the embassy that the cash withdrawal limit available was now Rs 50,000 weekly as per the government’s directives with no exceptions unless otherwise advised by the RBI. “Such an amount is totally inadequate as regards the embassy’s salary and operational expenditure requirements,” Kadakin said in his letter to MEA.
A Russian diplomat said, “We are not begging…we want access to our own money. We understand the necessity behind the measure, but the concerns of diplomatic missions should have been taken into account.” The diplomat said that they were expecting some action or else the Russian foreign ministry will call Indian diplomats and register their concern in Moscow.
Most missions say that they have been inconvenienced. But no mission has so far reported major difficulties that have curbed their functioning. “No, we have not had to forego dinners, but yes, tipping at restaurants has become an issue… because of lack of small change,” a European diplomat said.
“It was difficult in the first week… but we asked caterers at our events to wait till the situation eased out… thankfully, since we have good business relationship with local Indian firms, we were able to get through,” another European diplomat said.
Earlier, the Dean of Diplomatic Corps had raised the issue with the MEA. The ministry had responded saying that an inter-ministerial committee, which includes officials from External Affairs Ministry and Finance Ministry, was looking into the issue.