Modiji please stop RBI from discriminating Indians living abroad in demonitization drive.
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We would like to congratulate you taking steps to curb the widespread corruption and black money that is infesting the Indian society. The whole Indian community (including Indian residents/NRI/OCI/PIO) supports you on taking the bold move in the right direction.
At the same time, we share the concerns and frustration of all the Indian diaspora living outside India.
If we look at the chronology of events:
On 8th November, Demonetization of 500 and 1000 INR was announced.
However, no help, information or provision to deposit/ exchange the currency was given to the 30 million (3 Crore) Indians living abroad (including NRI/OCI/PIO).
The deadline to exchange/deposit the money was 30th December. The initial information indicated that, in exceptional situations, the money could be deposited until 31st March at RBI branches. There was no clarification on who will be able to deposit the money between 30th December and 31st March.
Unfortunately due to the limited time frame and no facility to deposit the money abroad, most of the OCI/PIO holders have not been able to exchange the money before 30th December. They were given the impression that they will be able to deposit the money at RBI branches between 30th December and 31st March but a later announcement made after 30th December proved this to be wrong.
It was after 30th December it was announced that only the NRIs/ Resident Indians, who were abroad, can deposit the demonetized money. The overseas citizens of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian origin (PIO) are discriminated by only offering the facility to NRIs and resident Indians.
It was also an eye opener as most people assumed that OCI cardholders are also NRIs as many of them have NRE/NRO bank accounts and have strong links with India.It is important to note that lots of OCI/PIO holders are born and lived in India during most of their life. They have immediate and extended family, bank accounts, investments and even their own homes in India. They speak Indian Languages, celebrate Republic day, Independence day and Indian festivals.
At no point the OCI/PIO holders imagined that they would be discriminated in their home country. This discrimination is painful not only to the 30 million Indian diaspora who live abroad but also to their families living in India. It is upsetting to see that although Demonitization had a strong public backing but the country failed to look after their own people who live abroad.
We hope you have received the appeal from Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) on the same issue. We would appreciate if you could look into this issue on an urgent basis and restore confidence in the 3 Crore Indians living abroad.
We suggest the following options:
(1) Allow OCI/PIO card holders to deposit the demonetized currency in line with the facility offered to NRIs and resident Indians who were abroad.
(2) Ideally this facility should be available at the airport following custom declaration.
(3) Allowing flexibility to bring from abroad and deposit up to INR 250000 instead of 25000. This will be in line with the facility offered to resident Indians before 30th December.
(4) Consider ways to support overseas Indians, who are not able to visit India within the required timeframe, to deposit demonetized currency (after required checks).
We would really appreciate if you could address the above issues as a matter of urgency.
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