Swaraj rules out extended deposit window for NRIs

RSTV Bureau
New York: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attends NAM meeting on Palestine in UN in New York on Tuesday. PTI Photo

New York: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at UN headquarters in New York, September, 2017. PTI Photo

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has ruled out any new window of opportunity for the NRIs or people of Indian-origin to deposit their high value Indian currency which were declared illegal after last year’s demonetisation policy, according to Global Organisation for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), an organisation taking up the interests of Indian origin people living abroad.

Swaraj made these remarks during her interaction with a delegation of GOPIO during her trip to New York last week, a media statement said.

“Swaraj informed that the government had provided the time window for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) who are Indian citizens to deposit their currencies earlier. However, that window was not open for Diaspora Indians with foreign citizenship and the government would not be able to provide another such chance,” the GOPIO statement said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last year on November 8 announced the demonetisation policy which left the higher denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 illegal. The new tender of Rs 500 and Rs 2000 has been circulated back since then.

File photo of scrapped  Rs 1000 currency note. It was stopped from circulation after government's move to demonetise currency on Nov 8, 2016. Photo - PTI

File photo of scrapped Rs 1000 currency note.
It was stopped from circulation after government’s move to demonetise currency on Nov 8, 2016.
Photo – PTI

According to GOPIO, overseas citizens of India and people of Indian-origin are still holding demonetised currencies as the Reserve Bank of India did not allow them to deposit them.

“Diaspora Indians have close to Rs 7,500 crores still lying with them in small amounts. What should the NRIs do with the old currencies?” GOPIO asked.

During the meeting, GOPIO delegation said that NRIs did not have Aadhaar card for linking with their bank accounts. “Swaraj clarified that NRIs won’t require Aadhaar card to operate their bank accounts,” it said.

GOPIO suggested that Indians citizen living anywhere in the world have an Aadhaar card similar to all US citizens having a social security number, whether staying in America or outside.

GOPIO has offered to be facilitator between the returned NRIs and the government. Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravorty also participated in the meeting.

(With inputs from the PTI)