Kathmandu, March 26, 2017: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will allow an exchange of up to Rs 4,500 in banned Indian currency notes to each Nepali national, a visiting team of the Indian central bank in Kathmandu hinted on Sunday.
The Indian proposal has sent waves of nervousness among the Nepali public as India had earlier allowed Nepali citizens to possess up to Indian Rs 25,000 each.
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An RBI team led by Dipali Pant Joshi, executive director, RBI, held talks with a Nepali team, led by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Deputy Governor Chintamani Siwakoti, in Kathmandu and offered to provide exchange facilities up to INR 4,500 in banned Indian currency notes and gave one week’s window to complete the exchange formalities.
However, the Nepali side has been pushing to arrange facilities up to Indian Rs 25,000 which was earlier allowed to a Nepali citizen to hold legally.
If the Indian side remains adamant over the decision, many people who possess banned Indian rupee notes would suffer badly.
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After both sides stated their respective positions, the next meeting has been scheduled for Monday, said officials at Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank of Nepal.
Similarly, the Nepali side has conveyed to the RBI team that it is also impossible to exchange banned Indian notes within a week as the Nepali side is yet to conduct inventory of banned Indian bills possessed by Nepalis.
In response, the RBI team said it was ready to exchange Indian notes held with Nepali banking and financial institutions immediately but currency notes held by individuals should be exchanged through the banking system.
The Indian delegation arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday to hold discussions on extending exchange facilities to Nepalis who are holding banned Indian banknotes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations.
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This is the second time that the Indian team has visited Nepal to hold talks on allowing exchange facilities to Nepalis holding demonetised Indian bank notes.
Earlier, the Indian team had expressed fears about Nepal being used as a “clearing house” to channel illegally amassed banknotes into the Indian financial system.
The Indian government’s November 8 move to demonetise Rs 500 and 1,000 bank notes has caused inconvenience to many Nepalis, especially daily-wage earners and labourers working in India, and those visiting the neighbouring country for medical treatment, studies and purchasing goods from Indian markets in border areas.
Nepal’s central bank has been claiming that its financial system is holding Indian Rs 33.6 million at various banks and financial institutions besides NRB itself.
But the actual stock of banned Indian notes is expected to be much higher because Nepalis were previously allowed to carry Indian bank notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations amounting to Indian Rs 25,000.
Also, those residing in areas bordering India usually keep Indian notes of higher denominations as they have to visit Indian markets frequently to buy essential commodities. (IANS)
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up
The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent
The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon
New Delhi, September 4, 2017: While the RBI launched the new Rs 200 notes a week ago, it may take up to three months for ATMs to start dispensing the new denomination currency “new Rs 200 note” as it will involve a huge exercise of recalibration.
What are ATM companies saying about when will the new Rs 200 notes come into the market?
Some banks have even asked the ATM companies to begin testing the new Rs 200 notes for recalibration of the machines, though they have not got supplies of the new Rs 200 notes/ currency. Only last year, the banks were involved in the recalibration of ATM machines after the demonetization of high-value currency notes in November.
ATM manufacturing companies said that they have not received any directive from the RBI regarding the recalibration of ATMs for the new Rs 200 note. They disclosed that some banks have at an informal level have asked them to start testing of the new note since it is of a different size.
When will the supply of the new Rs 200 notes see an increase?
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up but has not given any time-frame by which it will be available in adequate numbers.
It is yet to be seen whether all the 2.25 lakh ATM machines across India would be recalibrated for dispensing the new Rs 200 notes.
avi B Goyal, Chairman, and Managing Director, AGS Transact Technologies Limited, which claims to have an installed base of 60,000 ATMs, told IANS, “The process of recalibration will begin once we receive the directive from the RBI. The size of the new Rs 200 notes are different from the existing ones and so, once we receive the new Rs 200 notes, we will have to understand its dimensions and accordingly reconfigure the ATM cassettes. Next, we will have to check if the supply of new Rs 200 notes is good enough to run the cassettes at full capacity.”
“The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent. In fact, the ATMs will continue to be fully operational during recalibration and will continue to supply Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denominations,” he said.
Among the other companies operating in the sector are NCR Corporation, which has over 1,08,000 machines, and BTI Payments, which has 4,500 cash dispensers. NCR Corporation said that while some banks have reached out to them to start testing of the new Rs 200 notes, they were yet to receive the supply to begin the process.
“Banks have started getting in touch with us for testing the same “new Rs 200 notes”. They will let us know which machines they wish to configure for new rs 200 notes, which will require physical visits to ATMs. However, the new Rs 200 notes are still to be provided to us by the respective banks so that the testing can begin,” Anand Garollu, General Manager (Services), NCR Corporation said.
K. Srinivas, Managing Director, and CEO of BTI Payments, a RBI-licensed firm that operates cash dispensers not owned and managed by banks, said, “Recalibration will begin as and when we receive adequate quantity of new Rs 200 notes. We are looking to roll this out as quickly as possible.”
He said that the industry was expecting new Rs 200 notes to be available over a period of time across various geographies.
“The recalibration can be done progressively as and when the new denomination note starts to become available. Unlike the last time around (during demonetization), when we had to recalibrate all machines in one go,” Srinivas added.
The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon. However, emails to RBI in this regard did not elicit any reply, they said.
“The production of these “new Rs 200 notes” is being ramped up by the currency printing presses and over time, as more notes are printed, it will be distributed across the country through the banking channels and will be available for the public in adequate quantity,” the RBI had said in a statement.
Currently, new Rs 200 notes are available only through select RBI offices and some banks.
While State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank are reported to have received the new Rs 200 notes, Eknath Baliga, Manager, KYC-Antimoney Laundering Cell, Corporation Bank, Mangalore, told IANS that none of its branches across the country had received the new Rs 200 notes so far.
The new Rs 200 notes are currently being printed only by RBI presses. Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL) sources told IANS that the company has not received any indent so far for the printing of new Rs 200 notes. India’s two currency presses are owned by RBI and two by SPMCIL, which is a government-owned company.
How ATM recalibration happens:
Usually, an ATM holds four cassettes — three of which can continue to be used for Rs 100, Rs 500, Rs 2,000, and the fourth cassette can be used for the new Rs 200 notes. On an average, each cassette has a capacity to hold 2,000-2,500 notes depending upon the quality of cash issued by banks. However, there are many ATMs that only have either two or three cassettes.
The number of slots in the ATM can be configured as per the bank’s preference. The banks decide which denomination needs to be configured in a machine on the basis of the customer profile in the area where the ATM is located and the number of transactions on that machine.
The banks need to make requisite changes at their ATM switch before the rollout of the physical recalibration at the ATMs in the field.
The recalibration of a new denomination takes 30-45 minutes per ATM. The process of recalibration is not very difficult but is time-consuming given an engineer has to visit every ATM and configure it to dispense the requisite denomination.
The introduction of the Rs 200 note has been welcomed as it would ease the currency circulation in the market as people prefer lower denomination cash withdrawals from ATMs. Rs 200 would also be more convenient for rural consumers. (IANS)
This will be the first time the country sees the Rs. 200 denomination. This decision of the RBI comes as a solution to reduce the burden on Rs 100 notes and to face liquidity issues.
The note will come with a picture of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, and will bear the signature of RBI Governor, Dr. Urjit R. Patel.
Additionally, the Sanchi Stupa Motif is at the back side of the note. The color of the note is bright yellow. The new notes will measure 66 mm x 146 mm.
Initially, the new notes will not be available at the ATM Kiosks but can only be found at some banks and RBI offices.
When India demonetized in 2016, the response was the issue of new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes. Rs 100 note then follows.
People faced trouble when the Rs 2000 note had to be broken down. The issue of new Rs 200 notes seeks to solve this problem. It will also help the currency system become drastically more efficient. Smoother exchange of transactions will also be facilitated through this step.
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Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS
June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.
Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.
Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.
Confusion leads to mistakes
All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.
Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.
“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”
Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.
Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.
“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.
In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.
IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.
IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.
Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.
“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.
IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.
Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.
IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.
Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.
Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.
IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.
Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.
“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.
IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.
Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.
“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)