Plight persists but FM claims ‘enough currency with RBI to last beyond Dec 30’
It seems to be an ongoing process of additions and alterations to its policies and schemes for the Centre when it comes to demonetisation. After making 56 amendments, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday that the Reserve Bank was fully prepared to deal with currency shortages post demonetisation and has enough currency in its chests to last “far beyond” December 30. What he repeatedly fails to consider is the fact that the common man’s misery has been the only constant thing since the announcement on note ban since November 8.
With a number of ATMs remaining non-operational or running out of cash, long queues have been an usual sight these days. Huge crowds gather at banks and ATMs on weekends giving rise to more chaos. Long serpentine queues are witnessed outside bank branches across the country as fresh restrictions are being imposed off and on. Similarly, people have lost patience and are irritated with endless waits outside ATMs and banks.
The faulty execution of the Prime Minister’s decision has come under severe criticism including the point that the new currency has not been introduced fast enough to ease long lines at banks and ATMs.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Jaitley said: “There was full preparedness. There was not a single day when RBI had not released adequate currency to banks. There was a certain level of currency that was to be released and there was full preparedness for it.” He said RBI has maintained the stock of currency through advance as well as current printing level.
Asked about the currency in circulation, Jaitley said the figures will be made public only after accurate calculation after December 30, the last date for depositing the scrapped currency in banks.
Replying to queries on curbs on deposit of old currency notes by RBI, he said people should go and deposit the now-defunct notes in one go as repeat deposits raise doubts. He added: “Today there are no exemptions... Now there is no further scope of earning old currency so those who have got old currency must go and deposit in one go. “Therefore, if somebody goes everyday and deposit old currency it raises suspicion. How is he getting every day? As long as exemptions existed, there was scope for getting old currency, but once the exemptions have been lifted if you have old currency go and deposit in one go.” He even added that all ATMs have been recalibrated across India.
Three days after the government made public an official email address for whistleblowers to tip-off tax authorities on black money holders, it has received around 4,000 mails, according to a news report. The email id email@example.com was laun-ched by the Centre on Friday.
Amid such currency crunch, the government may also bring an ordinance to amend the Payment of Wage Act for allowing business and industrial establishments to pay salaries through cheques or by using electronic modes.
The government added that small traders will be able to save up to 46 per cent in tax by migrating from cash to digital transactions as the decision to tweak the presumptive income norms would reduce tax liability. Also, if transactions are carried out through banking channels, then anybody having annual turnover up to Rs 66 lakh will have zero tax liability after availing the benefit of Section 80C, after amendment of this new rate structure, it said.
Meanwhile, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) have given a call for demonstration against the problems that various banks and their employees are facing due to demonetisation. The agitational programmes that they plan to undertake include demonstrations on December 28, followed by the unions addressing a letter to Arun Jaitley on December 29, the two bank unions said. The union members also plan to demonstrate over the issue on January 2 and 3, 2017.
Over Rs 3,185 crore of undisclosed income has been detected while Rs 86 crore worth new notes have been seized by the Income Tax department as part of its country-wide operations against black money hoarders post the demonetisation of two high value currencies by the government.