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Chairman Comment - Demonetisation_December 2016

On Tuesday, India banned its Rs500 and 1,000 notes in the country from midnight. Though the move left many Indians bewildered, especially Indian expatriates, there is no denying that it has been accepted well by the Indian community in the UAE.

Also read: What should NRIs do with their Rs 500, Rs 1,000 notes

Sarita Agarwal Chokhani, a Dubai-based banker reacts to it positively. "It is definitely not a sudden decision, but looks like a systematic change over the last two years starting from opening of bank accounts to income disclosure. A drastic change (for good) and great move by PM Narendra Modi which will bring transformation in Indian economy and the banking system. There will be short-time inconveniences, but the Government will surely address them.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) - UAE (Dubai) Chapter also supports the move as a step forward to deal with the black money holders.

Pankaj Mundra, Chairman, ICAI, Dubai Chapter says Indians in the UAE need not panic. He said "they should plan their visit during Christmas holidays and declare this to the relevant authorities and exchange the money before December. I don't see any problem for NRIs especially salaried people who are in majority in the Gulf."

Anees Ahmed who works as a security guard in a Dubai-based company thinks this will save the country from wrong practices like corruption. "Thankfully I am going to India this Friday for my annual leave so I will go and deposit whatever amount I have with me right now."

Ravi Rajagopalan, a banker by profession, feels the sudden decision will have some immediate impact on day-to-day life where cash transactions will be needed. "Payment banking and online wallet industry will get a huge boost as India will slowly gravitate to digital money. This is the first big step taken to clean the system."

According to the press statement released by the Indian Ministry of Finance, necessary steps are taken to curb financing of terrorism through the proceeds of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) and use of such funds for subversive activities such as smuggling of espionage arms, drugs and other contrabands into India and for eliminating black money from the system. High denomination notes are known to facilitate generation of black money.

The total number of bank notes in circulation rose by 40 per cent between 2011 and 2016. The increase in the number of notes of Rs500 denomination and Rs1,000 denomination rose by 76 per cent and 109 per cent respectively during this period. New series bank notes of Rs500 and Rs2000 will be introduced for circulation from November 10, 2016. Infusion of Rs2,000 bank note will be monitored and regulated by RBI.

What about NRIs?

NRIs based in the UAE have requested the RBI to allow authorised Indian bank branches overseas to accept notes and exchange them as it may not be possible for everybody to travel to India in the next few days said ICAI Chairman Pankaj.

The Indian government is expected to announce some scheme for NRIs, he added.