Dubai, May 29, 2023: Several Indians in the Gulf nations are having a harrowing time ever since the Indian government decided to withdraw the ₹ 2,000 notes from circulation, with a lot of them saying that the banking institutions in the region are claiming to be not aware of the policy change.
On May 19, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) made a surprise announcement of the withdrawal of ₹ 2,000 currency notes but gave the public time till September 30 to either deposit the ₹ 2,000 notes in accounts or exchange them at banks.
The RBI said it had asked banks to stop issuing ₹ 2,000 notes with immediate effect.
In the UAE, Indians are facing a tough time getting ₹ 2,000 notes exchanged.
Among many is Firoza Sheikh (name changed on request) who landed in Dubai last week with her two children to join her husband for a month-long break.
Days later, as she heard the announcement of the ₹ 2,000 currency withdrawal, she rushed to an exchange centre to get the local currency equivalent of the eight notes of the ₹ 2,000 denomination.
To her surprise, the exchange counter refused to entertain her request.
"We have instructions from the management not to exchange ₹ 2,000 notes," she was bluntly told.
She tried to reason out, citing the Indian government announcement, but to no avail.
Several netizens have started sharing reports of the ₹ 2,000 notes being refused by exchange centres across the Gulf region.
"INR 2,000 notes not being accepted in Saudi Arabia exchange offices," a message shared via social media said.
"I request all hajis (Haj pilgrims) to bring ₹ 500 notes from India. It’s important and please share this information with those embarking on the pilgrimage this year," the post said.
Non-Residential Indian (NRI) businessman Chandrashekhar Bhatia of the Global Federation said a lot of people he knows are stuck with ₹ 2,000 currency notes.
"We are in the middle of a holiday season and the last thing someone visiting the region needs is the bulk of their cash becoming of no use,” he said.
Another businessman, who chose to remain anonymous, said it’s not much the decision but its implementation that leaves much to be desired.
"If banks and financial institutions were informed in advance so that they could exchange these notes, things wouldn’t be that bad. If you are told the currency in your pocket has no value, one begins to look like a fool who has nowhere to go," he said.