The Reserve Bank of India has issued a notification regarding the deposit of old currency notes for NRIs and Indians travelling abroad. It had been done in order to help those citizens who were unable to get the demonetised currency exchanged within the December 30, 2016 deadline.


For this, the Reserve Bank has designated old notes exchange facilities at the RBI offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Nagpur only. The offices that are allowed to exchange notes will remain open for residents from January 2 to March 31, 2017 and for NRIs from January 2 to June 30, 2017.


Also read: NRI or travelling abroad? Here are the rules to deposit banned notes


Now it is mighty strange that the RBI and the finance ministry thinks that these are the only places which hold a large NRI audience. There some places whose names are conspicuous by their absence, namely Bengaluru, Kochi, Hyderabad and Punjab.  


According to a report in the TOI, the Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, a UAE-based expatriate organisation, has already written a letter to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley requesting the RBI office in Kochi to receive banned notes. It is but essential that the government address this lack of exchange facilities in the South and especially Kerala where close to 10 per cent of the NRI population resides.


Also read: Bengalureans squirm as RBI leaves city off exchange 'list'


Not to forget Hyderabad and Bengaluru are also not on this list. So now the government, which is providing only one facility per allotted centre expects that an NRI who wants to adhere to the financial directives should spend some extra money create travel plans to these states in case he does not live in one of them and then wait there till his problem is solved.


That this will be an inconvenient measure is just the tip of the iceberg. Many middle class and even  those from the lower middle classes will have problem arranging appropriate leaves to come to India and then spend their time travelling the length and breadth of the country waiting to exchange their old currency. Needless to say, there will be expenditure involved as well. If the government thought they were helping the NRIs then they must take a relook at if the move is actually serving its purpose.