The Nepal government has declared the use of Indian currency notes of Rs 2,000, Rs 500 and Rs 200 denominations illegal in the country. The decision, which will affect middle and low-income Indian tourists, was taken at the last Cabinet meeting, Minister of Information Gokul Baskota announced Thursday.
When the Indian government introduced the new denominations in the months following demonetisation in 2016, the Nepal government did not make any announcement on the status of the new currency notes. The new denominations were being used freely in Nepal over the last two years, but the latest decision will affect Nepalese labourers working in India, and a large number of middle and low-income Indian tourists who frequent Nepal every year.
The decision comes as the Nepal government is making preparations to celebrate 2020 as the ‘Visit Nepal Year’. Estimates indicate that at least 2 million people will visit Nepal in 2020, the bulk of them from India.
In an unrelated incident, a Kathmandu court imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 on an activist who had planned to show a black flag to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he had visited Nepal on August 30 to participate in the BIMSTEC summit.
Phanindra Nepal, the activist, was taken into preventive custody from his residence before Modi’s visit. He is an activist for the “Greater Nepal” campaign, which seeks the reclamation of all the land Nepal lost to the British East India Company after the 1814-15 war, and which became a part of India.
The court held that such action (showing a black flag) was a crime under the Code of Criminal procedure. Phanindra Nepal said the court’s decision was “shameful” and that he would appeal.