Nine days after demonetisation, there was no let-up in the rush and long queues outside banks and ATMs across the country on Thursday while authorities maintained that the cash crunch situation has improved substantially and there was no panic.
As the political slugfest over the demonetisation inside and outside Parliament escalated, banks struggled to manage huge rush of people thronging branches to exchange scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes and get cash to meet their daily needs.
Despite some ATMs getting calibrated to dispense Rs 500 notes, such vending machines were running out of cash because of huge pressure of withdrawal.
Queues at some branches in the metros were tad shorter for exchange of old currencies as the process of putting indelible ink commenced on Wednesday. As a result of this, those who have already traded old currency notes are unable to exchange again on the same day due to the ink mark.
With the shock demonetisation move in the middle of marriage and sowing seasons causing hardships, the government on Thursday eased restrictions on cash withdrawal by farmers and families with upcoming weddings but more than halved the limit at Rs 2,000 for exchange.
Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said now families preparing for a wedding can withdraw up to Rs 2.50 lakh from bank account giving PAN details and self declaration.
However, with effect from Friday individuals can exchange invalid 500 and 1,000 rupee notes totalling Rs 2,000, as against Rs 4,500 earlier, only once till December 30.
Besides, farmers who have taken crop loan or have kisan credit card can withdraw Rs 25,000 per week. Also those who have got payments through RTGS or cheque deposit in KYC compliant bank account can withdraw an additional Rs 25,000 a week. This takes the total cash withdrawal limit for farmers from KYC complaint bank accounts to Rs 50,000 per week. Das said ever since the demonetisation announcement was made, a lot of representations have come to Prime Minister and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to ease withdrawal norms for wedding purposes.
“It has been decided that for wedding ceremonies which are going on, up to Rs 2.50 lakh will be permitted to be drawn from the bank account... and that has to be drawn one person per marriage and can be drawn either from the account of the father or the mother or the account of either of the boy or girl, who are getting married, and these accounts naturally will have to be KYC compliant,” he said.
Das said PAN details would have to be mentioned for such withdrawals and a self declaration also will be obtained that the money has been drawn only from one account.