Indian Embassy in UAE issues advisory for travelers

A customer walks past an advertisement for a foreign currency exchange facility at a bank in Mumbai August 19, 2013. India should use foreign exchange reserves to help stabilise the rupee, World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu said in a lecture in New Delhi on Monday, after the currency hit a record low of 62.46 against the dollar on the same morning. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui (INDIA - Tags: BUSINESS) - RTX12QJA

Abu Dhabi

Travellers to India are advised to carry international credit and debit cards given the prevailing currency crunch in India, Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi said on Monday.

In a surprise move on November 8, the Indian Government demonetised 500 and 1000-rupee notes that constituted 85 per cent of the total currency notes in circulation in the county, causing acute shortage of cash for daily use.

On Monday, a statement from Indian Embassy said: “In view of this, Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi advises all travellers to India to carry with them valid and sufficiently funded international credit/debit cards.”

Reuters/Danish SiddiquiNeeta Bhushan, charge d’affaires at the embassy, said it might be inconvenient for travellers to exchange foreign currency at airports in the present circumstances; hence, the advisory was issued.

Asked whether it is applicable to Indian expatriates travelling to India, she said they should also be prepared to avoid any inconvenience, but there would be relatives or friends to help them out. The foreigners may not have such support system, therefore the embassy wanted to advise them, Bhushan said.

Indian expatriates who are planning to visit India are worried about the currency crunch in India.

Rudolf Borges, 62, an Abu Dhabi-based business man travelling to Bengaluru on December 15, said he expected that his friends currently in India would bring some currency notes for him before his travel. “One came from Kerala empty handed, saying it was tough to get Rs 100 notes. He said only Rs 2,000 notes were available, which were not very useful.”

Borges said he needed Rs700 to pay taxi fare from the airport to his home in Bengaluru.

He has Rs5,000 in denomination of Rs500 and is unsure Non-resident Indians (NRIs) and foreign tourists would be able to exchange foreign currency or old notes of not more than 5,000 rupees per week into legal tender at airport exchange counters.

“Because, a friend who travelled for her mother’s funeral last week could not exchange invalid notes at Chennai airport. That’s why I am worried,” Borges said.

On November 17, the UAE Ambassador to New Delhi advised travellers to India to carry credit cards, which can be used in hotels, restaurants and hospital, due to the current shortage of rupee supply.

“If it is necessary to carry a cash amount, it has to be in US dollar or Euro. It is also necessary to make sure that the Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes are the ones that are now in circulation,” Ambassador Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Banna had said in a statement on November 17.



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