September 13, 2017
Nepali Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay yesterday urged the Government of India to address the issues Nepali citizens are facing because of demonetized currency notes.
In this regard, the official urged India to consider a special window that allows Nepali citizens to exchange their demonetized notes.
“There are pensioners, also almost every Nepali family has a member in India. During festival seasons, when they return, they take money for needs that may be medical. It is my moral obligation. Nepal must be provided with some kind of window,” read an official statement by Deep Kumar.
Deep Kumar further informed that many Nepali citizens are not able to exchange demonetised notes because of the lack of a special provision for the same.
Nepalese living in the Indo-Nepal border areas could find a way, however, those living in hilly areas of the country are still holding the banned currency notes, he added.
According to Deep Kumar, Nepal had requested to allow Rs 25,000 exchange per account, but the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had promised for Rs 4,500 per account and that did not happen yet.
This situation is seen despite the high-level discussions between officials of both the countries on the issue.
“There was almost a kind of an understanding between both the central banks (of both the countries) that India will provide a window for exchange of currency notes that Nepali people are holding. But I think, it has now been finalized and Nepal is waiting for the issue to be resolved. In our highest level also, we have again raised this issue,” read official statement by Deep Kumar.
Huge Loss to Nepali Citizens
This currency exchange issue has been concerning Nepali citizens since the time India announced ban of old currency notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500.
Earlier in July 2017, a Nepal Rastra Bank official had said, “Nepalese stand to lose millions of dollars held in high-value Indian bank notes that India banned in 2016”.
Even though RBI responded, issues were not addressed yet.
“That was only a verbal assurance, but no formal decision from India has come to us. Even if this amount was exchanged, individuals holding more than INR 4,500 risk losing the excess,” said Chinta Mani Shivakoti, a Deputy Governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank in an earlier case.
According to Shivakoti, Nepali banks hold INR 78.5 million worth old currency notes. The Nepali businessmen also estimate that Rs 10 billion worth old Indian currency (USD 155 million) is stashed with the Nepali informal sector.