17 Months Later, Nepal Wants India To Exchange Rs 950 Crore In Demonetised Currency

| April 5 , 2018 , 13:01 IST

Nepal's new Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on his 3-day visit to India beginning from Friday, is expected to raise the issue of getting demonetised Indian currency notes worth Rs 950 crore exchanged, nearly 17 months after demonetisation was announced.

The demonetisation announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016 rendered then in-use currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 invalid as legal tender, in a bid to flush out black money and unaccounted wealth.

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Since then, most of the demonetised notes have been exchanged within India, however, the currency exchange process has been understandably more difficult internationally, specifically in Nepal and Bhutan, where Indian currency is widely used.

"The Indian demonetisation has hurt Nepali nationals. I will raise this in my meetings with Indian leaders and request them to resolve the issue," PM Oli said to the Nepali parliament late on Tuesday.

India is Nepal's largest trade partner supplying a bulk of their consumer goods, and Indian currency is used widely in businesses and by individuals.

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According to Central Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) officials, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) verbally agreed in a meeting last year in March to allow each Nepali national to exchange up to Rs 4,500 worth of scrapped Indian currency notes.

"But nothing has been communicated to us formally so far," NRB Deputy Governor Chinta Mani Shivakoti said to Reuters.

A senior government official said that the central bank would be unable to exchange old currency notes in Nepal or any other country because there was no such provision in the rules issued by the government at the time of demonetisation.

"Only the government can take a decision in this regard now," the official said.

During the 3-day visit, Nepali PM Oli will be meeting PM Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and other officials.