Tourists struggling to find cash in India

A man counts Indian rupee banknotes after withdrawing them from an ATM in Agartala, India, Image copyright Reuters

Tourists in India have been telling the BBC about problems they are facing after India made a big change to its currency system.

On Tuesday night, 500 (£6) and 1,000 rupee (£12) notes were removed from public circulation as part of a crackdown on corruption and illegal cash holdings.

This has led to millions queuing up outside banks across India to exchange their old notes for new 500 and 2,000 rupee (£24) ones and machines running out of cash.

Here are some of the stories from holidaymakers caught up in the situation.


"This is India's Brexit and Trump rolled into one"

Image copyright Varsha

"I have been in Goa since Diwali and took out 30,000 rupees (£356) - in three sets of 10,000 rupees (£118) ATM transactions - which is the maximum allowed for foreign debit cards before the notes were declared invalid.

"I have so far not been able to exchange them because either the banks have no money or if you do find one with money and wait in the long queue, then they are only exchanging a maximum of 4,000 rupees (£48).

"Luckily some of the restaurants I go to are still accepting the old notes and so I can get fed and then rely on the small change to buy my daily incidentals like water, fruit etc.

"Sadly the waiters do not get a tip from me as those small notes are so precious, but I have promised them a big tip when I manage to finally exchange some of my money.

"Some businesses take credit cards, but in Goa where I am, there are very few places that take them unless you are staying at a top hotel, which I am not.

"The other problem is if you do manage to get your hands on the new 2,000 rupee notes (£24) the small sellers are reluctant to take them as they do not have enough small denomination notes to give you.

"The majority of the Indian population is poor and it is horrendous the impact this is having on them. Also, the country relies on tourism - November is when visitors start going to India because of the good weather. But the situation could affect the tourist industry and put people off from visiting.

The government is telling people not to panic and all will be OK but it is definitely not OK and everyone is totally occupied with this ridiculous situation. I do feel this is India's Brexit and Trump rolled into one - good luck India because you will need it."

Jonathan & Tess Archer Nye

"There was no cash at the airport"

Image copyright Jon Archer

"We are on holiday at Baga Beach in Goa. There is no liquidity at all - the banks haven't opened and there is no chance to change money anywhere.

"I've walked miles and gone into every travel agent and every cash machine. Only one ATM was working but only briefly. By the time I got halfway down the queue the cash had run out.

"A couple of days ago some restaurants took dollars, but now they are unable to give you change.

"I met an old British couple who were very worried and have gone down to their last 1,000 rupees (£12). I advised them to eat and drink at the hotel only and charge it to their room as hotels will take Visa cards. Almost nowhere else takes Visas, even supermarkets that do are slow.

"There was no cash at the airport and they advised us to take dollars, but even this is now a problem."

Jon & Tracey Gleave

"Local traders are losing so much business"

Image copyright AFP

"This is our first time in Goa and we read the safest way was to use ATMs but they have had no cash in them since last Thursday.

"Fortunately the supermarkets take credit cards, but nearly all the restaurants and bars only deal in cash and we have none left and we have one more week here.

"One restaurant here in Benaulim, Goa has been very helpful. Because we were regulars there for the last week, they allowed us to put our meal and drinks on a tab, so we can pay them back when we have some cash. We planned to do an excursion but had to cancel as we had no money to pay for it.

"Local traders are losing so much business, as everyone is finding it difficult to acquire the new notes.

"It's an absolute shambles! I understand why the Indian government has done it, but surely they should have prepared for it better and made sure there was plenty of the new notes distributed throughout India."

Graham Perry

"I rode over 15 miles and found one ATM open"

Image copyright Reuters

"I am holiday in India and I have an Indian bank account.

"I normally use the ATM to draw cash and could draw 10,000 rupees per day (£118). Now it's just 2,000 rupees (£24) and the ATM will now not let me withdraw money on my UK Visa card.

"On Sunday I rode over 15 miles round my area in Panji, Goa and found one ATM open. I queued for one hour to get 2,000 rupees, in 100 rupee notes - the only currency right now.

"It is very serious for small businesses, working people and especially 'virgin' tourists who cannot use credit in shops and restaurants or can't find banks and so have no money."

Produced by Nathan Williams & Andree Massiah, UGC Hub & Social News team

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