The Telegraph
Monday , March 31 , 2014
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Rupee rises to cheers

The downward dollar movement against the rupee in the past few days has come as a boon for students and tourists alike.

While travel requests have poured in from people wishing to enjoy the summer vacation at serene locales abroad, students willing to study in US universities have found themselves in an advantageous position with the form fill-up fees coming down.

Those who were eyeing to lay their hands on a personal computer or a laptop will also have to shell out less.

Experts in the fields of travel and tourism, information technology (IT), pharmaceuticals and consultants in overseas education have claimed the strong rupee is making the foreign products and services cheaper for a number of people.

Anuj Kumar, managing director, Delhi-based Magadh Travel and Tours Pvt. Ltd, said: “We have witnessed a surge of around 20 per cent in the number of people from Bihar opting for foreign tour packages over the past couple of weeks. The bookings are being made for travel plans up to a year from now.”

Not only tourists, students planning to go abroad to study should also cash in on the strong rupee. “Institutions in foreign countries, especially the US, charge fees in dollars. So students would have to pay less if they enrol now. Though there is not much significant surge in the enquiries for higher studies in foreign universities by students from Patna but we have reports of the same in other metros,” said Tushar Kanti Aikap, proprietor, The Merciel Consultancy Services.

At Ivy League universities like Columbia or Harvard, undergraduate students have to pay around $50,000 every year as tuition and accommodation fees. If they do not get scholarship or funding, they would have to shell out around Rs 30 lakh every year.

A strong rupee means whenever someone buys something in dollars, he or she has to loose purse string less. For instance, if one were travelling to New York, the most popular destination in the US, one would have to pay less not only for travel but also for lodging and boarding.

As of Friday, the last trading session of the 2013-14 fiscal year for the currency markets, $1 fetched Rs 59.89. The rupee had not surged to such a high level against the US dollar since July 29, 2013. It had hit a record low of Rs.68.83 in August last year. However, there has been an appreciation of nearly 13 per cent in the value of the Indian currency over the past eight months.

The rising rupee has also led to positive impact on other sectors like the IT. “The prices of IT products change across the globe everyday on the basis of the dollar’s value. As a result, the price of a few branded computers has reduced by Rs 4,000 to Rs 7,000 over the quarter ending on March 31 and it is expected to reduce further in the next week,” said Amit Tiwari, a senior executive of a computer firm.

The sector that has remained largely unaffected by the changing rate of rupee is healthcare. “There is no immediate impact of the fluctuating dollar-rupee exchange rate on the prices of pharmaceuticals as it is regulated by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority. Many drug manufacturers import the raw material for certain live saving drugs and for them the manufacturing cost has reduced due to rupee appreciation. Thus, it is profitable for the drug manufacturer only,” said Kumar Niraj, managing director, Asian Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd.