Panel looks into NRIs and tourists demonetization hassles

18 Nov 2016 | By Supriya Kaur

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said an inter-ministerial committee has been formed to study concerns of tourists, NRIs and foreign missions with regards to demonetization.

Tourists in India, many who're here for purposes of medical tourism, are facing issues in dealing with transition from old to new currency.

NRIs or Indians holding currency outside India have unique concerns that the panel will study.

In context: Demonetization hits NRIs and tourists hard

Demonetization aftermath

The government's radical move to demonetize high denomination currency notes to strike a blow at black money in the Indian economy created some issues for certain sections like tourists, NRIs and diplomatic missions which are yet to be resolved.

18 Nov 2016Panel looks into NRIs and tourists demonetization hassles

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WhyTourists in a cash crunch

Since demonetization, foreign tourists are facing many problems with currency as they were caught off-guard.

They are facing a cash crunch due to unavailability of smaller denomination notes and non-working ATMs.

Many tourists rely on public transport, eat at restaurants, pay cash as entrance fees for tourist places and without legal tender, they're stranded.

Domestic tourists are facing similar issues as well.

WhyNRIs face hardships from demonetization

NRIs keep a certain amount of Indian currency on them for immediate use for travels to India.

Post the demonetization move, NRIs were instructed to deposit Indian currency in non-resident ordinary rupee account (NRO); however many without NRO accounts face uncertain circumstances.

NRIs are concerned what if there's no foreign branch in their country or if these branches refuse to accept rupee-notes.

DetailsDemonetization rules for tourists and NRIs

RBI said NRIs could deposit Indian currency in NRO accounts and Indian tourists abroad could purchase foreign exchange equivalent to Rs 5,000 at airport exchange counters within 72 hours.

However, several foreign exchange centres declined to exchange old notes.

Foreigner tourists can exchange upto Rs. 5000 limit but there was no clarity on exchanging currency for more than the limit set by government.

WhyMissions abroad and money changers in distress too

The MEA has been getting distress calls from missions abroad in Bhutan, Nepal and several other countries as Indian citizens are reaching out to resolve currency issues.

Diplomatic missions are grappling with demonetization as they require high levels of cash for their transactions.

Money changers have expressed concerns with exchanging their stack of Indian notes and some are refusing to accept old notes.