Modi Scraps Currency Notes: No Notification at the SBI nor Reply from Indian Embassy

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Washington, DC – The representative office of the State Bank of India (SBI) in the US capital didn’t have any official procedure for exchanging Indian currency notes of large denomination which were withdrawn from the Indian financial system overnight.

Sanjay Kapoor, Chief Representative, State Bank of India in Washington DC told IAT, “We do not have any official communication regarding procedure for exchange of Rs. 500/- and Rs. 1000/-currency notes in USA. We are aware only to the extent of what is available in the public domain.”

Frequent travelers to India usually keep some Indian currency for immediate needs when they land in India, and these are the notes of choice. Most of them were left wondering where to exchange those notes which are not black money in any way.

In India, the banks have been told to exchange existing high denomination rupee notes over the next 50 days but no such provision is provided to the global Indian diaspora.

An email request for information to the Indian Embassy in the US capital remained unanswered till late evening on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday in a nationwide unscheduled speech on television, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the 500 ($7.6) and 1,000 rupee banknotes will be withdrawn from the financial system overnight, calling it part of a crackdown on corruption and illegal cash holdings.

“Black money and corruption are the biggest obstacles in eradicating poverty,” Modi said. Explaining his bold move, Modi told his national audience, “On one hand, we are number one in economic growth and on the other we are ranked 100 in global corruption rankings,” adding, “Despite various steps, we have improved only to 76.”

New 500 and 2,000 rupee denomination notes will be issued to replace them.

There was visible chaos and long queues outside the ATMs as the banks will remain closed on Wednesday, November 9 and will open on Thursday, November 10.

With huge confusion reigning and rumor mills churning out fear among people across India, there was uncertainty among the population as to what they must do right now. After listening to the announcement fom Modi’s public address, in most cities and towns, people were queuing up outside of ATMs to withdraw Rs 400 (as Rs 100 note has not been scrapped by the government).

India – the seventh largest economy in the world – is overwhelmingly a cash economy, with most of its currency stored in 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.


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