It has been a week since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s press address about making Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes illegal. And the rush and confusion among the public still continues, prompting the government, seemingly unprepared for the fallout, to take decisions one day at a time. Makes one wonder whether the government has been revising its decisions only after gauging the reactions of the aam janta.
Here’s a list of the seven major decisions announced in the past seven days by the Government and the Reserve Bank of India:
8th November: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes will cease to be legal tender, and that the old currency notes can be exchanged or deposited in banks. The announcement said up to Rs 4,000 could be exchanged, Rs 2,000 could be withdrawn from ATMs and any amount could be deposited, with a Rs 10,000 cap on withdrawal at the bank counter, in a day.
10th November: After being shut for a day on 9th November to prepare for the disbursal of the few remaining denominations of legal tender, banks were asked to remain open for public on Saturday, November 12 and Sunday, November 13.
11th November: The Finance Ministry extended the deadline for using demonetised notes till November 14. The demonetised notes can be used for payments towards utility bills by individuals for arrears and electricity bills, it said, however no advance payments will be allowed using old currency. Payment of court fees and at consumer cooperative stores with the ID proof of customers can also be made using the demonetised notes till November 14, it added. Apart from this, road minister Nitin Gadkari announced that no toll charges on national highways would be collected till midnight of November 14.
12th November: The government announced that new Rs 1,000 notes would be out soon with enhanced features. The announcement of Rs 50 notes to be dispensed at ATMs also started doing the rounds on this day.
13th November: The limit for exchange of notes over the counter had been increased from the existing Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,500. The daily limit on withdrawal from ATMs was increased from the existing Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500 per day in the recalibrated ATMs. Other ATMs were to continue dispensing Rs 50 and Rs 100 bank notes. The weekly cap of Rs 20,000 for withdrawal from bank accounts was increased to Rs 24,000 and the daily limit of Rs 10,000 per day was withdrawn.
14th November: On the fifth day of demonetisation operations, Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs, Shaktikanta Das said ATM charges on all transactions by savings bank account holders were waived until December 30. A large number of micro ATMs were also said to have been deployed for disbursement of cash. Apart from these, a string of announcements were made. These included ATMs beginning to dispense Rs 2,000 notes from November 15 and an extension till November 24 to tender old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for public utilities, railway booking, railway catering, electricity and water bills and ASI monument entry tickets and fuel payment. The DEA also announced that the cash holding limit of banking correspondents would be Rs 50,000.
15th November: Remember getting inked after voting? In an attempt to carry out the banking process in an orderly fashion in what has become a chaotic environment, the RBI has laid out a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for banks and post offices which involves use of indelible ink on the citizens' fingers. The cashier or other designated bank staff will apply ink on your right index finger before the notes are handed over, “so that while the exchange of notes is taking place, a few seconds elapse which will allow the ink to dry up and prevent removal of ink,” says the SOP.
16th November: The colour durability of the new Rs 2,000 note became the talking point on day 8. During a press conference, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das addressed this issue and said, "The new currency notes, just as the old ones, will lose colour if rubbed with a piece of cloth wet because that's the nature of the dye used. If your note does not lose colour, it's one of the signs that it may be fake."
17th November: Declaring there was no plan to re-monetise Rs 1,000 notes, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that decision to reduce the exchange limit for demonetised notes from Rs 2,500 to Rs 2,000 is designed to stop the misuse of funds. This day also saw a string of decisions being announced by the government:
- The maximum amount of old money you can exchange for new currency has been cut from to Rs 4500 per day to Rs 2000 per day.
- Additionally, farmers are now allowed to up to withdraw Rs 25,000 per week against their crop loan from banks.
- However, traders registered with the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees [APMCs] can withdraw Rs 50,000 per week.
- Families that have marriages coming up can withdraw a maximum of Rs. 2.5 Lakh from their bank accounts -- if they are compliant with know your customer [KYC] norms. The option is open to one member of the family on the bridegroom's side and one from the bride's side.
- Central government employees up to group C, and staff of the railways and central paramilitary forces can take a salary advance of up to Rs 10,000 in cash.
18th November: Petrol pumps turn into cash counters! An amount up to Rs 2,000 per day,per person can be dispensed against swiping of debit card from certain select petrol pumps. Arun Jaitley had also issued a statement earlier on Friday saying that strict action will to be taken against tax evaders using other people's bank accounts to convert their black money into new denomination notes. In yet another statement issued on Friday evening, it was stated that banks across the country will not exchange of old notes on Saturday and senior citizens are exempt from this decision.