From our Archives October 1, 2013 –
Venkat Raman –
Travellers taking Indian currency notes into and out of India would be liable for punitive measures as the authorities have put in place a new law.
According to official sources, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has instructed border security officials including Excise and Customs to ensure that travellers to and from India do not carry the Indian currency notes.
Everyone including Non-Resident Indians (who hold Indian passports but live outside the country) should change their Indian rupees at exchange kiosks into a foreign currency now set up near departure lounges at international airports in India.
Such restrictions have been a part of the ‘Foreign Exchange Management Act,’ for a long time but its provisions were seldom enforced.
But a number of recent developments have forced the hands of the Indian Government to take action.
Travellers can carry up to Rs 10,000 as cash beyond the immigration and customs for expenses in the duty-free area but must exchange the remaining amount into a foreign currency prior to boarding their aircraft.
A statement issued by RBI said that offenders may face confiscation of the currency, fines and criminal prosecution.
“To facilitate money changing facilities for NRIs and foreigners, foreign exchange counters have been allowed in departure halls in international airports beyond the immigration and customs desks. Such foreign exchange counters will, however, only buy Indian rupees from non-residents and sell foreign currency to them subject to usual terms and conditions,” the statement said.