Note build-up straining banks’ processing, storage capacities
The Reserve Bank on Thursday said massive accumulation of now invalid Rs 500/1000 notes at various banks and chests is putting strain on processing capacities and storage facilities, while reviving its ‘guarantee scheme’ to deal with the problem.
The central bank said in view of the problem of mounting deposits it has decided to revive the Guarantee Scheme wherein banks can deposit the notes directly with the offices of RBI under whose jurisdiction they are located.
The notes will remain in the vaults of RBI, under the lock and key of the depositing banks till taken up for examination.
“As you (banks) are aware there is a massive accumulation of SBNs at branches of banks and currency chests putting strain on processing capacities and storage facilities. This is slowing down the deposit of accumulated SBNs into chests,” it said through a notification.
Under the scheme aimed to decongest the storage facilities at banks, RBI will provide credit to their current accounts maintained with RBI.
Thereafter, if any shortage, counterfeit note, mutilated note, is detected during detailed processing at RBI, the value of the same will be recovered from the bank concerned.
The old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 have lost their legal tender characteristic from November 9. Holders of the currency have option to exchange them with new ones or deposit in bank accounts.
Peace and normalcy in the Rajya Sabha, during which the demonetisation debate was witnessed from 12 pm to 1 pm, evaporated after it met again at 2 pm after lunch recess.
The Prime Minister, who was present in the House from 12 pm to 1 pm, was not in the House.
Mayawati raised the issue of his absence, saying it was a matter of regret that the Prime Minister had not arrived for the demonetisation debate.
She said that until and unless the PM is present, discussion will not move on and the House will not run.
She was joined by Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, who argued that if the Prime Minister listens to leaders, then the House will run smoothly.
Yechury said the government had given an assurance that the Prime Minister will be in the House all day.
Launching a counter offensive, Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Opposition was inventing reasons for running away from the debate.
He said the Opposition is coming up with a new pretext every day to avoid a debate.
The Finance Minister refused to accept the condition that the Prime Minister should sit in the House throughout the debate, saying it was not in the Rule book.
Azad countered Jaitley’s assertion reminding that during debate on 2G spectrum scam few years back, BJP, then in opposition, had said that the House will not run until the then Prime Minister was present throughout the discussion.
Amid demands that Modi be present in the House during the course of the demonetisation debate, the Rajya Sabha witnessed uproar with leaders marching towards the well of the House, alleging that the Prime Minister had run away from the debate.
Due to the uproar, the House was adjourned till 3 pm.
When the House reassembled, the opposition again raised the issue of the Prime Minister’s absence. “He (PM) is not participating in the debate. He came for an hour during the Question Hour. He has to be here for the entire debate,” BSP leader Satish Mishra said.
Kurien said the discussion should be carried forward as the Leader of the House has said that Prime Minister will come.
Agarwal said it was decided in the morning that the Prime Minister will take part in the discussion and be present.
Congress leader Ananad Sharma said that on August 30, 2013, Jaitley, then Leader of Opposition, had demanded that then Prime Minister be in the House for the entire debate on 2G (spectrum scam). “The PM must come to the House,” he said.
Kurien wondered whether the current opposition wanted to emulate the then opposition.
“There cannot be dual or double standard,” Sharma said.
Opposition members then trooped into the well of the House shouting slogans like “bring back black money, stop making false promises”.
Amid the din, Kurien adjourned the House till Friday morning.