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Tourists in Pushkar, India, have taken to busking as a means to raise money after the country’s shortage of banknotes rendered them “virtually penniless”.
The holidaymakers, who hail from Germany, Australia and France, told Hindustan Times that they were performing in the street to raise money “as a last resort” after the demonetisation of INR 500 and 1,000 rupee (£6 and £12) notes left them, struggling to buy even food and water.
In a bid to crack down on tax evasion and corruption, the Indian Government announced earlier this month – with no warning – that 86 per cent of the country’s notes were no longer legal tender. The unexpected move triggered chaos, as thousands of people queued up to change their cash into smaller denominations and ATMs and banks ran out of cash.
“Locals have been kind to us. So far we have collected around INR 2,600 [£30],” one of the German tourists told Hindustan Times. The travellers plan to use the money to travel to Delhi, where they will appeal to their government embassies for financial assistance.
“We came here on November 8 to see the famous Pushkar fair,” said Jayden from Australia. “The same night [the] government of India announced demonetisation of INR 500 and INR 1,000 banknotes. Whatever change we had in Rs. 100 and lower denominations are exhausted.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said there is “chaos everywhere” due to the cash shortage; however, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to continue his war against corruption and tax defaulters.
The Foreign Office has advised tourists in India to use credit or debit cards “instead of cash where possible,” adding that tourists should be able to exchange “foreign currency or old notes of not more than 5,000 rupees into legal tender”. (Telegraph)