The demonetisation exercise is still not over as the March 31 and June 30 deadline still looms. Making it convenient for Indian citizens who had gone abroad during the November –December 30, 2016 period, the RBI had announced this breather for the absentee citizens.


The RBI had announced that for those who are incapable to exchange their Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes or deposit the same in their bank accounts on or before December 30, 2016, an opportunity will be given to them to do so at specified RBI offices on later dates along with required documentation as may be specified by the Reserve Bank of India.


However, now that the March 31, deadline is upon us, the demonetisation queues are back to haunt us. The lines begin at the airport itself. Tempers are running high outside the central bank branches as people coming from long distances were denied entry by guards on the grounds that they were not carrying the requisite documents. Many NRIs complained that they are not allowed to speak to officials who could at least listen to their grievances.


"Though I have foreign passport, I still have roots in India. Our family comes to India every year. We have few Indian currency notes and we want to exchange them but we are not allowed to enter RBI. Mr Prime Minister are we supposed to burn Indian currency that we have?," said Ritu Diwan, an agitated US national. This unnecessary harassment simply indicates that PIOs are no more welcome to the country of their birth, she added.


Dharamveer, another US national, said PIOs generally keep some amount of Indian currency as they frequently visit India because there is no point in paying commission on exchange of currency on each visit.


"Any PIO who regularly visits India would easily have Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh worth of Indian currency and I challenge the government to prove this as black money and forfeit this from us", he said, adding that "this money, we don't spent in the country where we live but country of our origin".


The facility to exchange money will be available through Reserve Bank offices at Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Nagpur. According to RBI, Indian citizens resident in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh cannot avail this facility.


Many queuing up have questioned why more banks could not have been opened for this purpose and could have been situated within their states itself. Imagine coming on  leave and having to book extra tickets to whichever city falls closest and then stand in line there and wish that your work is completed within one day itself and if you do not have the prescribed document, then its curtains for you.


with inputs from PTI