Indian expats in UAE relieved as notes exchange deadline extended

Abu Dhabi: There was a sense of relief and excitement among the NRI community in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) pushed to June 30 the deadline for expats to exchange old Indian currency notes, the media here reported on Monday.

The RBI said on Saturday that the facility is only for those who were not in India from November 9 to December 30. Apart from NRIs, even those resident Indian citizens who were abroad from November 9 to December 30 can avail of this facility from January 2 to March 31.

“I feel relieved now. I have Rs 7,500 with me and my annual vacation is from May. Now, I need not lose this amount, which is a big number for me,” Mahmood Multhajim SH, who works as an electrical draughtsman here, told the Khaleej Times.

“However, the government and the RBI should have made this call on November 8 itself when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the big announcement,” he added.

Another expat, Sachin Hukumchand Chordiya, called the latest move of the Indian government the best New Year gift.

“I am happy that this extension is only for the NRIs. It’s good to see the government finally recognising the Indian diaspora,” he said.

For Nazeer Ahmed, the move is like “extra oxygen to those on ventilator”.

“The government hit us from nowhere and now the RBI has extended December 30 deadline to June 30. So, this clearly shows a lack of planning and consideration for the big expat population,” said Maria Thomas, a housewife.

“This is how the government treats the NRIs. This deadline extension should have been done way back,” she added.

The facility will be available through RBI offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Nagpur.

However, Indian citizens in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh cannot avail of this facility.