Dubai: Indians living in the UAE are mourning the demonetisation of high value currency by the Indian government, which has hit their families back home, ruining many NRI weddings, travel and house construction plans, a media report said.
Several Indian families living abroad, who had plans to visit India around the year-end, are keeping a close watch on the prevailing situation. According to travel agents, if the present cash shortage situation in India doesn’t improve in a few days, many families are going to cancel their visit to the country.
NRIs living in UAE said that they are getting distress calls from families back home, telling them how difficult it is to withdraw cash from banks and ATMs to meet their basic needs. NRI weddings and house construction plans are among the worst affected as workers and contractors refuse to accept the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that used to constitute more than 80 per cent of money in circulation in India.
Afsal, a restaurant manager in Dubai, was quoted as saying: “The situation back home is more serious than what we see in the media. It is not a good time to spend more money and every NRI family is enforcing strict credit controls on family budgets.”
“In the absence of correct change and shortage of small denomination notes in India, people have no other option but to spend more money for unwanted things. Just for buying an item worth Rs 200, the customer spends Rs 1,800 extra to adjust the change. Many shops don’t have change and traders are even planning a strike in protest,” added Afsal.
Tourists visiting India are stuck with cash shortage. A travel agent said: “Many NRI families have cancelled their travel plans in view of the severe cash shortage in India. Even though they have money in banks, they cannot spend that because of cash withdrawal limits from the government. While some can use credit cards, those from the rural and semi urban areas cannot use plastic cards.”
An Indian expatriate living in Dubai said: “My daughter has to pay her pending hostel bill but she has no time to go and wait in the long cue by skipping her classes. The ATMs have run out of cash and she is struggling a lot.”
“NRIs who are planning a vacation to India have many big plans but since they can withdraw only Rs 4,000, their plans may change,” said Gopi K.L., an Indian social worker in the UAE.
“My many friends in India are not sending children to school because they have no money. In hospitals, even in emergency cases, bill payments are affected. Another problem is in vegetable, fruits and fish markets. Vendors can give credit for one or two days, but they further cannot buy stuff without sufficient cash flow,” an NRI in Dubai was quoted as saying.
The government of India demonetised 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from November 8 midnight. The government maintains that there is no shortage of cash and there is enough stock of currency notes with the Reserve Bank of India.