Issue 362 February 1, 2017
In their petition to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) have appealed that the Indian Diaspora- meaning people of Indian origin not holding Indian passports, should be allowed to deposit Indian Rupees valued up to Rs 250,000 per person at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) offices as specified in an Ordinance. Details of this appear in our Homelink section.
Their stand is that a large number of Indians would have kept hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in their homes in India for expenses to be incurred on the education of their children, care of their elderly parents or relatives and for emergency expenses.
From one standpoint, the appeal has meaning. Most Indians, if not all, carry some Indian currency with them when they leave the shores of India for handy use when they return- to pay for the taxi fare or buy small items at the duty-free shops in the arrival area and so on.
However, the RBI rules state that people leaving India or arriving into the country can carry no more than Rs 5000 to meet their immediate expenses, although it does not say if this allowance is available for ‘foreigners,’ including former Indian passport holders. Our thinking is that the facility is available only to people (including foreigners) who are ordinarily resident in India, since carriage of Rs 5000 would be convenient from their perspective.
Since recent rules and regulations do not specify, we have sought clarifications from the RBI and Indian government so that we can keep our readers informed of the actual position.
However, some sources in Delhi said that the suggestion that the GOPIO request was ‘too steep to climb.’
We will wait and see; and of course, report.
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