Leading NRI forum Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin has launched an online petition, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow Indian diaspora to deposit or exchange their demonetised Indian currencies at the Reserve Bank of India. “This is a major issue for the Diaspora Indians and it can be easily resolved, there is no need for the Government to separate out NRIs from PIOs, we are all (overseas Indians) Diaspora Indians,” said Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) International president Niraj Baxi.
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Currently, NRIs holding Indian Passport are only allowed to deposit or exchange the demonetised currencies at five Reserve Bank India branches in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Nagpur. Diaspora Indians standing in the line for hours in front of RBI offices are turned away by security guards when they reach the gate, GOPIO said.
It said with an estimate of holding an average of Rs 5,000 per person, the 30 million Diaspora Indians and NRIs have about Rs 15,000 crores which is about one per cent of the demonetised currencies. Although the Indian Government in a notification extended the date for the exchange to June 30th at the Reserve Bank of India branches, Diaspora Indians including those holding OCI/PIO card holders are not allowed to deposit their demonetised currencies, it said.
“The Government of India has made such rules, but the problem is that this information has not been published and NRIs/PIOs arriving in India are not informed to get such document on the amount of demonetised currency one is bringing which is signed from an income tax official and secondly even if one knows about this rule, no one at the airport knows where such income tax person is sitting,” said Thomas Abraham, chairman of GOPIO International.
“Indians who left India to earn their living should not be deprived of their hard earned money because they were not in India to deposit the demonetised notes when banks were accepting the notes,” Abraham said. Abraham said although demonetisation intentions were good, the people who have been hurt are the sincere and hardworking Diaspora Indians who do not have any black money but the Indian government has restricted them to deposit their old notes.