In terms of instructions issued vide A.P. (Dir Series) circular No.45 dated September 16, 2013, the Reserve Bank of India had facilitated encashment of rupees into convertible currencies even beyond Immigration/Customs desk. This instruction has been misreported in certain sections of the media as a new restriction imposed by the Reserve Bank. The Reserve Bank issues the following clarifications in this regard:
(1) A non-resident is currently not allowed to carry Indian currency notes beyond Indian border, since the Indian currency is not yet convertible. This position has been in existence since several years and has not been altered in any way. This restriction is currently under review.
(2) Earlier, non-residents leaving the Indian shores, had to convert the unspent Indian currency into any convertible currency before the Immigration/Customs desk.
(3) The Reserve Bank has been receiving requests to permit Indian currency to be carried into Duty free area as well and accordingly facilitate their conversion before boarding the flight by allowing money changing facilities in the Duty free/security hold area.
(4) The above request, which is in the nature of further liberalisation of exchange control, has been enabled vide the Reserve Bank’s circular of September 16, 2013. It is thus erroneous to construe this facilitation as any form of additional control.
Incidentally, the Reserve Bank has also issued an A.P.(DIR Series) Circular No. 39 on September 6, 2013 facilitating any person resident in India to take outside India or having gone out of India on a temporary visit, to bring into India (other than to and from Nepal and Bhutan) currency notes up to an amount not exceeding INR10,000/- per person from an earlier limit of INR 7,500/- per person. This limit has been enhanced to provide greater flexibility to the residents travelling abroad in meeting their immediate personal expenses like taxi fare, hotel bills, etc. on arrival.