New Delhi: The dean of the diplomatic corps today asked India to relax the restrictions on withdrawal of money from banks and hoped Prime Minister Narendra Modi will intervene as a large number of foreign missions reeled under funds crunch in the wake of demonetisation.
Frank Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, ambassador of the Dominican Republic, said the foreign missions should have access to their funds to meet day-to-day operations and that the Rs 50,000 a week cap on withdrawal was inadequate and must be lifted.
In strong comments, he even said some big countries may think of "reciprocating" in the same way with Indian diplomats posted abroad if they continued to face the problem.
"Big countries can reciprocate (this) to Indian diplomats which would not be good for them," he said.
Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and a number of other countries have already approached the government on the issue. Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin, in a letter to the Government, has already lodged strong protest over the restrictions on cash withdrwal, saying it has severely affected the functioning of his embassy.
We hope the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister himself will do something, Castellanos said, adding as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps he was trying his best to impress upon the government to review the decision. He said citizens of many countries including Iran, Sudan and Cuba, who come in large numbers to India are facing severe problems as they do not have international credit cards due to certain restrictions on banking systems in these countries.
"As ambassadors, it is our responsibility to ensure that our nationals visiting India do not face any problem," he said.
Castellanos said he had received complaints from a number of foreign missions here about the problems they are facing, adding the External Affairs Ministry has been apprised of the difficulties.
The Dean of Diplomatic Corp said he has written a letter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Chief of Protocol expressing concern over the restrictions on withdrwal of funds in the wake of the demonetisation drive.
After the demonetisation decision last month, MEA had said it has approached the Department of Economic Affairs on the issue and was waiting for a decision by the Finance Ministry.