Rupee crunch hits travelers to India

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| New Delhi, India | 12 Nov  2016 | Asia Samachar |
RUPEE CRUNCH: Long queues outside banks and money changers in New Delhi - PHOTO / ASIA SAMACHAR
RUPEE CRUNCH: Long queues outside banks and money changers in New Delhi – PHOTO / ASIA SAMACHAR

If you are bound for India in the next week or so, be prepared for a rough ride unless you are carrying swaths of Rp100 notes.

The demonitisation of the 500 and 1,000 Rupee has have caught the nation by surprise, and brought chaos to the planned trips by foreigners.

“It takes four to five hours of queuing at the bank just to get Rp4,000, the maximum amount allowed for one day. Even if you carry foreign currency, it’s useless because money changers don’t have 100 and 50 notes,” a Malaysian businessman, now traveling in New Delhi, tells Asia Samachar.

Bottomline: Travelers are advised to be prepared to make credit card payments or make pre-arranged service of obtaining enough tradeable currencies of 10, 50 and 100 Rupees.

“Situation here is chaotic. I just came face to face with an idiotic money changer. I’m gave him Ringgit and US dollar, they are giving me back 500 and 1000 Rupee notes which are useless,” he said.

“Hotels, restaurants and even taxis will not accept the old Rp500 and Rp1,000 notes. So, be prepared.”

On 8 Nov 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise announcement that India was going to demonitise existing 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in what was he described as a ‘tough step’ to ‘rid this country of the termite-like corruption and black money’.

Almost overnight, the larger denominated Indian notes ere no longer tradeable, expect for some designated purposes.

This caught tourists and travelers by surprise as they usually pick up the larger notes when exchanging currencies abroad or plan to convert their currencies upon landing in India.

Immediately after the announcements, money changers in Malaysia, Australia and presumably in other countries as well stopped transacting in Rupees.

Random checks of money changers in Malaysia today (12 Nov) show that they have yet to return to transacting in Rupees.

Another Kuala Lumpur-based businessman who is preparing to leave New Delhi for Punjab said safety was not, but more of traveling and food expenses.

“For the the first time in my life, I feel so handicapped even with plenty of foreign currency. Even the ATMs are running dry just hours after being replenish. And don’t talk about the long queues.

“Even gold has limited tradeable value here. Those who have excess of 100 and 50 notes are immediately 30% richer,” he told Asia Samachar.

For those in India, it is understood that the black exchange for the 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes is at a 30% discount.

Many ATMs, which reopened four days after Prime Minister Modi announced demonitisation of the two higher value currency notes, ran out of cash soon after being replenished while half of the 200,000 ATMs nation-wide are non-functional, reported Times of India.

According to bankers, the situation is unlikely to change for some more time, may be another 8-10 days, the report added.

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

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