As the long queues outside banks and ATMs continue creating chaos among cash strapped people, the government has taken several steps to smoothen the exchange and deposit of scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reviewed the situation with regard to supply and availability of currency notes for the second consecutive day.
The Meeting, which went on till about midnight, was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Principal Secretary to PM Nripendra Misra, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha and RBI Governor Urjit R Patel among others, a press release by the Ministry of Finance said.
After discussions, the following decisions were taken:
1. Noting that one of the primary reasons for long queues was that the same persons were visiting bank branches, ATMs etc repeatedly. It was also noted that certain unscrupulous elements are using the services of poor and innocent people to convert their black money into white.
To prevent such misuse of the facility and enable larger number of persons to draw cash, indelible ink used during elections shall be used for over the counter exchange against old Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- notes. This is not applicable in the case of withdrawal from or deposit into accounts.
2. Already instructions have been issued permitting District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) for cash withdrawal from existing accounts, subject to limits applicable in the case of Banks. Arrangements have been made to enhance the availability of cash with the DCCBs.
3. Arrangements have been made to make available adequate cash to the Postal Department for their use including the branch Post Offices. There are 1.3 lakh branch Post Offices having wide coverage in the rural areas. Availability of adequate cash with the branch Post Offices will ensure wider coverage of the rural areas.
4. Contributions are made in hundis and separate boxes in places of worship. Such establishments have their accounts with the Bank branches. Bank branches have been advised to approach the concerned authorities in these establishments to obtain the currency notes, especially of lower denomination and put them back into circulation. This will help in improving the circulation of lower denomination currency notes.
5. Information has been received that there is sudden spurt in the quantum of deposits in several Jan Dhan Accounts. There are also reports of unscrupulous elements using Jan Dhan Accounts of poor and innocent persons to convert their black money into white. Such spurt in deposits will be looked into closely. Jan Dhan Account holders are requested not to allow their accounts to be misused by anyone. Further, it is also clarified that Jan Dhan Account holders will not be put to any kind of inconvenience for carrying-out their legitimate activities.
6. Old Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- notes are accumulating in Post Offices and Bank branches. Special efforts will be made to shift such notes and create space in the Post Offices and Bank branches to receive new notes.
7. A high level Task Force consisting of representatives from various agencies is being set-up to monitor movement/receipt of fake notes in vulnerable areas. This Task Force will also take special efforts to monitor black money being deposited into Bank/Postal Accounts, especially under fictitious and other names.
8. A technology team is being set-up to popularize the use of e-wallets.
9. Government is closely monitoring the supply of essential commodities.
10. A coordination group chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and including representatives of various Departments and major Banks is holding regular meetings to monitor the implementation of all the steps.