Nepalis facing hard time in India following demonetisation

Kathmandu, Nov 19 (IANS) Nepalis living in India have been facing difficulties after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and 1000 notes to crack down on black money.

Just like millions of Indians, the November 8 move has come as a bolt to the blue for the Nepali people who have been working in India, Kathmandu Post reported.

Shyam Chaudhary from Bardiya district in Nepal, who works at a roadside restaurant in New Delhi, said it took a while before he realised the implications of the currency ban.

“I am struggling to meet my day-to-day needs,” said Chaudhary. “Besides, I am worried how I am going to send money back home.”

Chaudhary said many Nepalis like him were seeking help from friends who had bank accounts.

“We are facing a lot of problems here,” he said.

Nepalis who work as security guards, daily-wage workers and those who receive salary in cash said they were struggling to cope up with the situation.

Students who have bank accounts said they have not been able to withdraw money as ATMs have run dry.

“We are taking the final exam. We are struggling to manage cash for auto and other expenses,” said Badal Basnet, a chartered accountancy student.

Many migrants send money back home on monthly basis. Now, with no new notes in hand and the old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes becoming illegal tender, they wonder how they are going to remit the earnings.

“The transaction has gone down drastically by 70 per cent or so,” said Sunil Mishra, a representative from Prabhu Money Bank, a Nepali remittance company based in New Delhi.

“We have advised Nepalis who do not have bank accounts to use their friends’ accounts.”

There are about two million Nepalis living in New Delhi only.

Around 50,000 students annually arrive in India to pursue higher studies. There are many Nepalis who come for medical treatments, out of them about 100 Nepalis come daily for health check-up.

A Nepali government official, who was in India for medical treatment, said he was hoping that his debit card would work at the hospital.

“But unfortunately it didn’t. I had to spend five hours in hospital and one of my friends paid the bill,” he said.