Nepalis facing hard time in Delhi following India's demonetisation moveShyam Chaudhary from Bardiya, Nepal, works at a roadside restaurant in Karol Bagh, a residential-cum-commercial neighbourhood in the Indian capital New Delhi.
Shyam Chaudhary from Bardiya, Nepal, works at a roadside restaurant in Karol Bagh, a residential-cum-commercial neighbourhood in the Indian capital New Delhi.
Just like millions of Indians, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s November 8 announcement to pull 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes from circulation came to Chaudhary like a bolt from the blue. It took a while before Chaudhary 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.”
As an immediate measure, Chaudhary said many Nepalis like him are seeking help from friends who have bank accounts for help.
“We are facing a lot of problems,” he said.
Nepali migrant workers who are working as security guards, daily-wage workers and those who receive salary in cash said they are struggling to cope up with the situation. Students who do have bank accounts said they have not been able to withdraw money, as ATMs have stopped dispensing for the lack of cash.
“We are taking the final exam. We are struggling to manage cash for auto and other expenses,” said Badal Basnet of Lekhanath, Pokhara, a student of chartered accountancy, who lives in Laxmi Nagar. Many migrant workers send money back home on monthly basis. Now, with no new bank notes in hand and the old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes becoming illegal tender, they are wondering how they are going to remit the earnings.
“The transaction has gone down drastically—by 70 percent or so,” said Sunil Mishra, a representative of Prabhu Money Bank, a Nepali remittance company, who is based in New Delhi. “We have advised Nepalis who do not have bank accounts to use their friends’ accounts.”
According to estimates, there are two million Nepalis in New Delhi—around 10,000 in Laxmi Nagar in east Delhi alone.
An estimated 50,000 students annually arrive in India to pursue higher studies. And there are Nepalis who have arrived in New Delhi for medical treatment.
Around 100 Nepalis come to India daily for health check-up. A government official , from Nepal, who did not want to be named, 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.
I am struggling to meet my day-to-day needs. I am worried how I am going to send money back home
- Shyam Chaudhary, a restaurant worker from Bardiya
We are taking the final exam. We are struggling to manage cash for auto and other expenses
- Badal Basnet, a student from Pokhara