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India's unit of currency is the rupee (abbreviated in the plural Rs.). Like the dollar or pound, it is divided into one hundred parts, called paise. The rupee's value in your country's currency will vary, depending upon the exchange rate. (The exchange rate tells you how many rupees you can exchange for dollars, pounds, francs, and so forth.) Exchange rates change daily, but you can look them up online, consult the financial section of many newspapers, or call a bank that exchanges foreign currency.

Note: The banks in Ahmednagar sometimes refuse to trade in some foreign currencies. Therefore, it is advisable to carry either some U.S. dollars or English pounds (traveler's checks or currency), just in case.

How much to bring

How much will a trip to India cost? How much spending money should you bring? The answer to these questions depends upon your pocketbook, lifestyle, need for western comforts, and how much shopping you intend to do. If possible, ask someone who has been to Ahmednagar recently how much money you should bring with you.

Purchases by Visa or Master Card are becoming more common in India. Even in Ahmednagar some of the larger establishments accept them.

Expenditure tax

The expenditure tax is a luxury tax of twenty percent meant to apply to Indian citizens at first-class hotels and restaurants. Unless precautions are taken, however, foreigners are often charged this tax.

The tax is avoidable, if payment is made in a foreign currency via credit card, or in rupees accompanied by your encashment receipt. This is the receipt you are given when you change a foreign currency into rupees.

Subject to further change, payment in rupees with an encashment receipt is not subject to this tax. In such circumstances you must inform them that this is indeed the policy, and they must look up their reference. As a general rule, it may be helpful to clarify this point before the bill is prepared.

The tax is shown as a line on the room of your hotel bill, noted "ET" as compared to "ST" (sales tax). You may want to request individual food bills and have the tax deducted from each bill, if necessary. Any ET on the food portion of a hotel bill may be unidentifiable unless you request each detailed bill.