If bank officials across the country had a harrowing time handling the massive queues outside branches post the November 8 demonetisation, the next few days may be even more daunting.
Pay Day is here and the Reserve Bank of India has assured the government that it is ready for higher withdrawals of cash in the next week, when most employers in the country pay salaries. All government presses are furiously printing the new 500-rupee note to meet the massive demand for cash expected until December 7, the central bank has told the Finance Ministry, sources said.
This will be the first Pay Day since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a ban on 500 and 1,000-rupee notes to combat black money, which took 86 per cent of the money out of circulation in one go, triggering a severe cash crunch.
It will be a litmus test for the currency ban and bankers are steeling themselves to deal with angry customers with new currency rationed and banks running out of cash every day. Bank unions have suggested police protection for employees in the next few days.
The State Bank of India, India’s largest public sector bank has said it is ready for Pay Day. “We are very much prepared...For the last 20 days, we have been working at 100% capacity,” SBI managing director Rajnish Kumar told a television channel.
Meanwhile, the much-vaunted Jan Dhan scheme that was meant to empower deprived sections is not exactly giving account holders much to cheer. In a purported move to check the misuse of Jan Dhan accounts by black money hoarders, Reserve Bank on Wednesday restricted the withdrawal from such accounts to Rs 10,000 per month.
“With a view to protect the innocent farmers and rural account holders of PMJDY from activities of money launders and legal consequences under the Benami Property Transaction & Money Laundering laws, it has been decided to place certain limits, as a matter of precaution, on the operations in such accounts funded through deposits of Specified Bank Notes after November 9, 2016,” the RBI said in a notification, terming it as a temporary measure.