Taking Indian currency out of India is banned as per the law but many NRIs and those who return in few days do carry Indian currency and the practice has come under radar now with the British Indians scrambling to get their old Rs 500 ($7) and Rs. 1,000 ($14) notes exchanged.
As the official deadline of December 30, 2016 looming large, about 1 million British Indians, are sending their cash back to India for exchange through their relatives or friends.
“I have been getting hundreds and hundreds of calls,” CJ Rabheru, president of the National Congress Of Gujarati Organisations UK (NCGO), told Reuters. “They have no clue what the hell is happening,” he said.
Britain’s Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz has sought extension of the deadline to mid-2017 for NRIs and PIOs but so far the RBI has not taken a decision on it. He said he even called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the deadline for foreign nationals.
“The Indian government should be commended on this bold and courageous policy, and I completely understand why they have taken these steps,” Vaz said. “However, the rupee recall has inadvertently caused concern and distress to many members of the Indian diaspora community who live abroad who fear they will be unable to exchange their currency by the deadline in December.”
“Why do we have to go to India to exchange our currency? That I don’t understand,” asked Mahendrasinh Jadeja, vice president of the British Organisation of People of Indian Origin. But the rule book clearly prohibits taking Indian currency out of the country as Indian Rupee has not been floated as international currency yet.