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Questions from the public, can the PM please clarify?

Questions from the public, can the PM please clarify?
Some people have exchanged Rs 4000 several times from different banks until the rule for inking fingers came in. Some could not exchange money even once as the banks ran out of cash before their turn came. So why was this decision for the inking not taken earlier so everyone could have had a level playing field? And for those who could not withdraw money more than once, will they be given another opportunity to do so if details of their ID proof at the bank show they have not withdrawn money even once. This will help them meet daily expenses both for domestic purposes and also street vendors who need money daily to sell in the market.

Earlier, the impression given was that 4000 rupees can be exchanged every day. Now people are told it is only once. How long after they have exchanged money once can they do it again in the next fifty days. Some bankers say they can exchange every week, some say up to 24th November and then they will wait for further RBI instructions, and some say only once in these fifty days. Can it be clearly specified how many times from 8th November onwards an individual is entitled to exchange cash?

If an individual can withdraw cash once a week, what will happen to the indelible ink mark on their finger next week which will not fade by then?

Since local elections are taking place in various places around the country, why is the indelible ink not being marked on some other finger than the forefinger, so people are later allowed to cast their votes without suspicion?

Indelible ink has reached only a few banks. How will the government assuage public anger that while some may take advantage of the system by rushing to banks where the indelible ink is not being used, armed with foreknowledge, why will others be punished for standing trustingly in line at banks where they can only withdraw money once due to the ink being utilised?

The cash exchange limit has now been reduced to Rs 2,000 for exchange while people were earlier allowed to exchange Rs 4,500. Have those individuals who have not withdrawn any money so far be allowed to exchange money in two tranches, once for Rs 2,000 and again for Rs 2,500?

What watch if any can be kept on any bank officials misusing the system and also policemen, who are allowing family members, VIPs, vested interests or a favoured few high net worth customers to break the queue and enter the bank and also withdraw more money than the prescribed limit, by using photocopies of various ID proofs belonging to different individuals which they have obtained, and which, along with a letter purportedly signed by these individuals can allow withdrawal of Rs 24,000 per week per individual after money has been deposited into the accounts of said individuals.

Why are individuals without bank accounts being discriminated against, especially in the rural sector, as they are being allowed only a one-time withdrawal of Rs 2,000 in fifty days, which is not enough for monthly expenses, while bank account holders are permitted a Rs 24000 withdrawal weekly. Is it only to weed out black money? What about people who deposit large amounts of undeclared money in both their and their family members' accounts and then each of them withdraw Rs 24,000 weekly.

Why are people being punished for not having bank accounts? Many were not allowed to open accounts by bank officials as they did not have 'proper documentation.' Will the government ensure that their bank accounts can now be opened on a war footing, if needed even with a single ID proof, and could this account be opened in the space of a couple of days, especially in the rural sector?

An account needs to have a pan number for depositing amounts over Rs 50,000. Will the government ensure that pan card centres in various cities issue cards on a war footing and also set up pan card camps in different villages just as they have done with adhaar cards, as many villagers may have savings of more than Rs 50,000 at home, and can banks accept adhaar cards in lieu of pan cards, as they have bio-metric identification features and are therefore more reliable than pan cards, which can be and have been duplicated?

For those unable to open bank accounts in the next fifty days, what happens to the old currency they are unable to exchange in the next fifty days? Do they have to throw it all away or can they exchange it at some later date. What proof can they provide that they are not exchanging someone else's black money? Are uneducated villagers in tribal areas being urged to go to banks and deposit their savings or it might become invalid after December 30.

When will all ATM machines be re-calibrated? When will the limit on withdrawal from ATM machines be raised?

ATM machines and banks are still dispensing mostly 2,000 rupee notes, which many are unable to use because change is still not being provided for such large notes. What is the government doing to ensure that Rs 100 notes and other smaller denominations are not being hoarded, that more 100 rupee and smaller denomination notes are released into the economy and that Rs 2000 is more easily accepted by small business establishments.

Why are so few 500 rupee notes being provided. Is it because the Government wanted to save on the costs and time needed to print 500 rupee notes in larger numbers, as the costs and time are quadrupled for 500 rupee notes as compared to 2,000 rupee notes. Shouldn't the government have given the larger interests of the masses precedence over convenience?

What proofs do those withdrawing 2.5 lakh rupees for weddings have to provide? Is it only a wedding invitation card? Or will their antecedents be checked by police or bank officials?

How can one help farmers who do not have loans sanctioned against their bank accounts and cannot withdraw the permitted

Rs 25,000 or those who do not even have bank accounts, to get enough money to meet expenses for the sowing season?

Can farmers accept old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes when selling their crops which may soon start to rot and later deposit it in their accounts these fifty days. If not, what other avenues can be provided for farmers to sell their crops?

Can mobile atms and kiosks be organized in larger numbers in remote rural areas where there are no banks for miles around?

What extra security measures are being provided against pickpockets and money snatchers who may be lurking around banks to snatch new currency withdrawn by customers or from money transport vans, especially in rural areas.

If petrol pumps can accept old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, why not other parts of the transport sector, so that trucks do not come to a grinding halt and are able to pay employees who transport these goods to the market.

What is the clarification on whether or not private hospitals can accept old 500 or 1000 rupee notes and what is the cut-off date for this? When the Secretary, Economic Affairs, Shaktikanta Das, was asked about this recently at a press conference, he refused to confirm whether private hospitals can accept old notes though he did clarify that government hospitals and medical stores can accept old notes. This may be a life and death matter for many so private hospitals should be assured with some official government communication that they will not be hounded by the taxman when they deposit these old notes in their accounts. If private hospitals cannot accept old notes, can some alternate method of payment be arranged for patients going to these hospitals, especially in the rural sector.

What is the status of people detected carrying cash above 50,000 rupees or Rs 2.5 lakhs in public, either to deposit in their banks or sending it via a relative or employee to deposit? Are the police or income tax authorities legally allowed to confiscate any amount of cash found with any individual, if they are unable to show 'documents' to prove the money belongs to them or that they have earned it through lawful means.

What documents can they provide to verify the money is theirs? If this money is not returned within these fifty days, can they exchange it later after the whole matter has been dragged through the courts? Can people carry old or new currency in large amounts in cars, at airports and train stations or by bus, or could this also be confiscated.

RBI says there is no shortage of cash. Why is the government then not sending larger amounts of cash to the banks until all the atm machines are calibrated so that people do not have to be turned away repeatedly in spite of queuing for several hours, or they are given smaller amounts than the prescribed limits and have to queue repeatedly for several days? If there is not enough cash to send to all banks and atms daily, why did the government start the demonetization drive without printing enough cash?

Why is a study not being made of which banks are situated in more crowded areas, where crowds and demand for cash is bigger, and why is comparatively more cash not being dispensed to these particular banks everyday.

What instructions has the government given to banks for the public to be seated in an orderly manner in bank queues through issuing tokens and other measures like creating separate queues for different types of customers, rather than standing all day, as reports have come in of several people dying due to stress after standing for several hours in front of banks, often even overnight, and also having to constantly fight to keep their place in the queue?

Will very old, ill and disabled people have to also stand in the queue, as many banks are turning away their representatives and asking the account holder to appear instead. Could money be delivered to such individuals by couriers or banking staff.

Can children below 18 years also exchange their money by showing their adhaar card or some other ID proof if they don't have a bank account?

Rumours are going around that it will take more than a year to print the cash needed to replace all the old currency notes being withdrawn from the market. If this is so, will there be limit on cash withdrawals even after the fifty day limit has expired. For how long will the government put limits on cash that can be withdrawn from banks and ATMs in the months and years to come?

Will the government raise the limit on the Rs 2000 cash exchange and Rs 24000 cash withdrawal at banks within this fifty day period, as festivals like Christmas and New year are around the corner, if and when the queues at banks do start to normalize?

Can traders issue promissory notes stamped by a government official which they can use in lieu of cash for their transactions until the cash situation normalizes. Once all the dust has settled, will the government provide any figures on the total cost of the demonetization exercise. This includes not only the cost of the printing but also the add-on costs of transporting the money, of security provided to guard the money, and the extra man-hours that the bank has had to pay its workers for.

Will it also reveal the amount of old currency that has returned to the banks and what part of this cash can be termed as black money and which part is legitimate deposits?

Can the government provide an estimate of the loss to the exchequer from the after effects of the demonetization drive, such as the reduction in GDP and the fall in consumer sentiment?

Can a comparison be made whether these losses were offset by the gains from the demonetisation drive, and by how much. If any gains have been made, how will the government spend this money.

Does it have any plans to distribute the gains made to the bank accounts of all citizens in the country, or at least to the poorer sections of society, who have faced many hardships and losses during this drive?
Moutussi Acharyya

Moutussi Acharyya

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