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Allow note exchange abroad, NRIs in UK urge India

A large number of Indian citizens resident in the United Kingdom and people of Indian origin have appealed to the Narendra Modi government to allow exchange of demonetised currency worth 1000 and 500 rupees abroad.

black money crackdown Updated: Nov 17, 2016 11:36 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Demonetisation

A bank employee counting bundles of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes at a cash counter in a Punjab National Bank branch in Chennai.(PTI)

A large number of Indian citizens resident in the United Kingdom and people of Indian origin have appealed to the Narendra Modi government to allow exchange of demonetised currency worth 1000 and 500 rupees abroad.

Prominent industrialist Swraj Paul hailed the demonetisation move, saying it was one of the best solutions to eradicate endemic corruption. He hoped inconveniences caused to the common man would end soon.

“Business will be greatly impacted. If we can get rid of corruption, lot of investment will come in and India will look like a different country”, he told HT.

Britain has one of the largest Indian diaspora that maintains close business, family and cultural links with India. Many possess rupees in the demonetised currencies for use during visits to India, but have not been to exchange them in Indian banks based here.

Concerns were raised through the Indian high commission, with appeals that exchange of old notes be allowed in the United Kingdom. According to RBI, non-resident Indians need to exchange notes in India or authorise someone to do it for them before December 30.

“The demonetisation has caused significant inconvenience and hardship for many thousands of Indian citizens and NRIs not based in India. The Indian government has not put in place enough safeguards to ensure that people with legitimate savings they have worked hard for are not left worse off”, senior Labour MP Virendra Sharma, whose constituency of Ealing Southall has a large population of Indian origin, told HT on Wednesday.

“I have written to PM Modi to ask that exchange services are provided abroad so that people with a small amount of money are able to change the notes they legally kept hold of into legal tender”.

Sharma and community leaders such as Mahendrasinh Jadeja have met India’s acting high commissioner Dinesh Patnaik in this regard to ensure that non-resident Indians here are not left out of pocket.

There are several Indian banks are based in the United Kingdom, but they have put up notices on entrances and websites that they do “not deal in Indian Rupee Notes from our UK branches and hence, we will not be in a position to handle the Rupee note exchange process (including withdrawal of old notes)”.