Nepal Rastra Bank relaxes rules on Indian currency exchange

- Jitendra Sah, Biratnagar

Nov 27, 2015-

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has raised the maximum limit on the amount of Indian currency (IC) that can be exchanged by government and private offices and people going for medical treatment in India. 

Based on the documents issued by registered doctors, people going to India for medical treatment can buy up to IRs50,000 per person, the NRB office in Biratnagar said.  

For institutions like media houses, business corporate houses and government offices, the limit has been ramped up to IRs25,000 at a time, said Ram Poudel, director of the NRB office in Biratnagar. 

The central bank issues IRs100,000 to commercial banks each week. Poudel 

said that NRB had also given priority to people who have to travel to India on an emergency. “Based on their documents, we can issue up to IRs25,000 at a time.” 

On November 18, NRB had tightened controls on the exchange of Indian currency amid an unwarranted surge in demand and a growing trend of selling it on the black market.  

The central bank had slashed the amount of Indian currency it issues daily to IRs2,500 each to 175 persons from IRs5,000 each to 150 persons. Each person is permitted to exchange Indian currency once a week.

According to the bank, the move has been intended to control the misuse of Indian currency as many opportunist traders had been accumulating it to sell at a higher rate.

Currency brokers have been luring unemployed people to stand in line at currency exchange counters by offering them a commission. Before the new strict provision was implemented, such people used to queue up at the exchange counter from morning till evening. 

“Although, we have fixed the daily amount and the number of people to whom the currency exchange facility will be provided, it can be increased on a need basis,” Poudel said. 

The bank has also introduced a separate process for people with disabilities and senior citizens. 

“Those who cannot stand in line can send a representative with valid documents to get Indian currency.”  

The central bank said it became more cautious after reports about the misuse of Indian currency emerged. “Before July 17, there were no restrictions,” Poudel said, adding that the details of people who buy Indian currency were now inserted into a computer. 

He said that the system rejects people who try to buy Indian currency more than once a week. 

The central bank has also issued a notice that relevant documents need to be produced to obtain Indian rupees. Previously, customers only had to show a copy of their citizenship certificate.

Poudel said that the system had also been implemented at the NRB offices in Janakpur, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi. Private currency exchange counters are required to show their daily transaction records. There are nearly 60 money changers in the Eastern Region.

Published: 27-11-2015 09:02

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