Indelible ink to prevent multiple cash exchanges (Roundup)
New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANS) The government on Tuesday declared that banks will use indelible ink marks — as is done to prevent bogus voting — to prevent people from making multiple cash exchanges after the demonetisation of high-value currency notes.
The move, which comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise decision to invalidate 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, is also aimed at preventing large queues at banks and stop people from exchanging more than the permissible limit of money.
“The reason for long queues at banks is that the same people keep coming again and again. We have received reports that many people are trying to convert black money into white and have organised groups of people and sending them to exchange money,” Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said.
“To prevent this, indelible ink marks will be made, like in elections, at the bank cash counters,” he added.
Das told the media that the Prime Minister held a second review meeting on demonetisation with officials of the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ascertain why long queues were continuing at banks.
Operating instructions will be issued to banks on how to use indelible ink and this process will start in all major cities from Tuesday, he said.
At the moment, the daily withdrawal limit from ATMs is Rs 2,500, while for exchange of old notes from bank counters it is Rs 4,500. This apart, the upper limit for weekly withdrawal from bank accounts stands at Rs 24,000. The limit will be reviewed after 15 days.
The move to use ink marks came as people across India are struggling to get cash after standing in long queues outside banks and ATMs to exchange or deposit the large currency notes.
The government’s move to recall 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, which was aimed at unearthing unaccounted wealth and curbing terror financing, has caused chaos and a cash crunch across the country with people struggling to meet even basic needs.
Addressing reports of Jan-Dhan accounts being used by other people to deposit their unaccounted cash, Das said the government has decided to set an upper limit of Rs 50,000 for deposits in these accounts.
“Up to Rs 50,000 can be deposited in Jan-Dhan accounts,” he said.
Das said the legitimate Jan-Dhan account holders would not be put to any kind of difficulty but the source of deposits above Rs 50,000 into these accounts will be tracked and verified.
For other accounts, the government had earlier said they would not make inquiries into small deposits of up to Rs 2.5 lakh.
Dismissing rumours about some institutions planning a strike against the government’s demonetisation move, he said the pictures being circulated on the social media were a year old.
“Don’t believe rumours spread on the social media about certain institutions going on strike. On zooming the (strike) picture on the social media, it was found to be from 2015,” Das said.
To ease the liquidity crunch, Das said, it was decided at the review meeting to constitute “technology teams” to popularise e-wallets among people and hasten the pace of recalibrating ATMs for the new high-denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier said it will take two-three weeks to recalibrate the ATMs. All ATMs in India needed to be calibrated afresh to disburse the newly-minted currency notes as per their weight, dimensions, design and security features.