Rupee fall brings mixed fortunes to Indians

Rupee fall brings mixed fortunes to Indians

Studying abroad was always expensive, costing at least two to three times more than in India, and now, one has to pay at least 10 per cent more. It is estimated that as rupee has dropped to a two-year low of Rs 50 to a dollar, it will leave Indian students poorer by anywhere between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh a year, specially those who will be taking admission and paying their fees now to foreign institutions.

If the rupee continues to remain low or go down further, students will have to fork out more for application fees and qualifying tests.

It is estimated that Indian students spend on an average between Rs 10 lakh a year (for graduation courses including stay and food) and Rs 15-18 lakh a year (including stay and food) for specialised degree and post-graduate programmes such as MBA. With the depreciation of rupee, these costs will now go up by 10 to 13 per cent or by Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 1.8 lakh a year.

Said Chandrashekhar, father of Rajesh who is an under-graduate microbiology student in Australia: “I am really worried about how to pay for the additional monthly expenses of my son. Soon, we will have to pay for the fourth semester fees starting from October and now, I will have to fork out more mo­ney.”

Dr Sandeep G Huilgol, a post-graduate student in UK from Bagalkot, is slightly better off as he has taken a loan from an Indian bank to pay for his study and the repayment will start only after a couple of years.

“I can only hope that the falling rupee will not push up my EMI payments when the repayment starts,” he said. It is estimated that between 1,30,000 to 1,50,000 students from India go abroad for study in a year.   

Those planning to have a cool holiday abroad in the ensuing festive holiday season will also have to arrange for more cash for their trip.

Though most have already paid their tour operators for the bulk of the expenses like airfare, stay and local transportation, they will have to fork out more cash to pay for the incidental expenses like sight seeing, food and shopping.   

At the other end of the spectrum are Indians working abroad, who are laughing all the way to banks. Indians, incidentally, are the largest remitters in the world having sent $55 billion in 2010-11. People working in Gulf nations that include Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar, who contribute a third of India’s total remittances, are rushing to send funds back home as UAE’s Dirham has touched Rs 13.35 against Rs 11.50 just a week ago. According to reports, Indians in gulf countries are withdrawing their term deposits in local banks and even taking loans to send money back home. A man from North Karnataka, working in a construction company said he had borrowed money from his non-Indian colleagues in Dubai to send money home.

“I am not sure how long this high Rupee-Dirham rate will continue. I have borrowed to send money to India, but will pay back my friends back when I get my salary in another ten days,” he said. Surely, ‘make hay when the sun shines’ is the mantra for the ingenious Indians.     

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