Indian expats relieved as notes exchange deadline extended
There was a sense of relief and excitement in equal measure
Finally the Indian government has woken up to the plight of a section called NRIs - this was how scores of expats in the UAE reacted to the latest move by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to extend the deadline for exchange of old currency notes till June 30.
There was a sense of relief and excitement in equal measure over the rope thrown to the NRI community.
"I feel relieved now. I have Rs7,500 with me and my annual vacation is from May. Now, I need not lose this amount, which is a big number for me," said Mahmood Multhajim SH, who works as an electrical draughtsman at ETA Power Project Division.
"However, the government and the RBI should have made this call on November 8 itself when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the big announcement," he added.
Sachin Hukumchand Chordiya, who works at Burjeel Hospital, said the latest move is the best New Year gift.
"I have Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes still with me. It totals to Rs5,500. I had given it to another person to get it exchanged but it didn't work out. I had given up hope but this extension is bliss for people like me."
He is happy that this extension is only for the NRIs. "It's good to see the government finally recognising the Indian diaspora."
For Nazeer Ahmed, who works at Al Faraa Group, the move is like 'extra oxygen to those on ventilator'.
"The November 8 announcement was a severe blow to poor people like me. When we reach here we always come with extra Rs5,000, the money given by family, relatives and like. I didn't realise it had accumulated over a period of time. I managed to send some amount through my friends but I still have a decent number left with me. Now, I can manage on my own," Ahmed said.
Maria Thomas highlighted points that only a Digital Age house wife could.
"The government hit us from nowhere and now the RBI has extended December 30 deadline to June 30. So, this clearly shows a lack of planning and consideration for the big expat population. Our country receives the largest remittance in the world. I read a report which said it's close to $70 billion. And this is how the government treats the NRIs. It's an afterthought that this deadline extension came. It should have been done way back. Anyhow, good the deadline is being revised. I have got more than Rs10,000 with me and failed to get it exchanged."
Akhil James, who works at Elettrotek Kabel Middle East DMCC, was ecstatic.
"I believe this is the pressure from the media and other welfare associations in the Gulf region. I was aghast as to how the community had been completely ignored."
Are you still left with Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes? "Of course, everyone will be still having. The best part is I leave this Thursday. My wife left on Saturday. So, I can easily get the amount I have exchanged," he said.
"This is very good decision for poor workers," he noted.
The RBI had said on Saturday that the facility is only for those who were not in India from November 9 to December 30. And fortunately, none of the above mentioned souls had wandered out of the UAE.
Apart from NRIs, even those resident Indian citizens, who were abroad from November 9 to December 30 can avail this facility from January 2 to March 31, 2017.
The facility will be available through RBI offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Nagpur. Also, Indian citizens in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh cannot avail this facility.
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