The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has started an online petition campaign appealing to the Prime Minister of India to allow Overseas Citizenship of India and People of Indian Origin card-holders as well as diaspora Indians with foreign citizenship to deposit or exchange their demonetized Indian currencies at the Reserve Bank of India.
Currently, only NRIs in possession of an Indian passport are allowed to deposit or exchange the demonetized currencies at five Reserve Bank of India branches in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Nagpur. Several are being turned away in spite of waiting in line for hours together for not possessing the proper documents or an Indian passport, GOPIO claims in a press release.
“There is no need for the government to separate out NRIs from PIOs, we are all (overseas Indians) diaspora Indians,” International President Niraj Baxi said. The organization estimates that if an average amount an NRI holds is estimated at Rs. 5,000, then the 30 million diaspora Indians and NRIs have about Rs. 15,000 Crores which is about 1 percent of the demonetized currencies. Although the Government of India has extended the date for the exchange to June 30 at the Reserve Bank of India branches, diaspora Indians including those holding OCI/PIO cards are not allowed to deposit their demonetized currencies, GAPIO contends. According to the new rules, NRIs/PIOs bringing demonetized notes have to declare the amount and get it certified by an income tax official at the port of entry.
Some of the demands made in the petition include:
1. Diaspora Indians be given the same opportunity for depositing old and obsolete currency notes as given to NRIs with Indian passports, allowing them to deposit up to Rs. 250,000 of Indian currency in the Reserve Bank of India instead of notified amount of Rs. 25,000
2. Some of the NRIs, and PIO and OCI card holders have old currency notes safely kept in their residences in India for reasons such as education of their children in India, supporting old age parents, helping family members, etc., so allow RBI and Banks having non-resident accounts to accept the old currency notes up to Rs. 250,000
3. Diaspora Indians with foreign citizenship, and PIO and OCI cards be permitted to deposit the money in their bank account in India through an authorized agent, the amount certified by the foreign branches of State Bank of India or Indian Missions in the country of their residence or in RBI / NRO accounts with various banks in India
4. Since all diaspora Indians with Foreign Citizenship, PIO and OCI card holders may not be able to visit India prior to June 30, they should be allowed to deposit old currency notes at the Reserve Bank of India/NRO Accounts maintained with various banks in India up to Dec. 31.