Mumbai: Maintaining that the state of panic among people is on the decline following the constant flow of cash at banks and ATMs, State Bank of India (SBI) chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said the bank will soon start dispensing Rs 50 and Rs 20 currency notes to further help the public.
The SBI chief said that in all of their branches in the southern states, the workload has dropped to almost 50 per cent, which is a sure sign that people are assured that they will receive the money at their own convenience.
However, talking about the inconvenience caused to the masses with ATMs running out of cash faster than expected, Bhattacharya added that ATMs are emptying out fast because it has a fixed space for notes of 100 and also the dimension of the new notes has changed, adding that the holding capacity in the ATM is confined.
“But what takes the most time is manual recalibration. A person has to come and physically add the money when it runs out. We hope and are trying that we can sort this problem by end of November. And if the chaos subsides by then, then we will also start dispensing 50 and 20 rupee notes in coming days,” she said.
Meanwhile, the government has set up a special task force headed by Deputy Governor of RBI to expedite the process of re-calibrating the ATMs to make them fully functional, which will work with different banks in this direction.
Addressing the media in New Delhi about Prime Minister’s meeting on Sunday to review the demonetisation and its impact, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said Monday that the ATM re-calibration has started and some of the ATMs will start dispensing higher denominations, including 2000 rupee notes, from today or tomorrow.
The ATM limit has also been increased to 2,500 rupees, however it will be disbursed only by the re-calibrated ATMs. Saying that there is no need for public to panic, Das assured that there is enough cash available in the system and the situation will ease in the coming days. The toll tax will not be collected till the midnight of 18th November to ensure smooth traffic movement across all national highways.
On Sunday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting at his residence with senior ministers past Sunday to review demonetisation and its impact. The meeting was attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Power, Coal and Mines Minister Piyush Goyal and top officials of the Finance Ministry.
After a review by the Finance Ministry, the limit of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes that can be exchanged for freshly minted 2000 rupees and new 500 rupee notes was increased from 4000 rupees to 4500 rupees per day. The time limit for certain categories of transactions using old series of 500 and 1000 rupee notes has been extended till November 24 midnight. The categories include government hospitals, railways and bus ticket counters, airports, petrol pumps, milk booths authorised by state governments, crematoria and burial grounds.
Cash withdrawal limit at ATMs was hiked to 2,500 rupees from 2,000 rupees a day. The weekly limit of 20,000 rupees for withdrawal from bank counters has been increased to 24,000 rupees. The ministry in a statement said that the maximum limit of 10,000 rupees per day on such withdrawals has been removed.
The Finance Ministry has also extended the last date for submission of the annual life certificate for pensioners from November to 15th January next year.