Reduction in cash exchange limit draws sharp criticism

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) The government’s move to reduce cash exchange limit from Rs 4,500 to Rs 2,000 drew sharp criticism, with people standing in queues outside banks saying it is whimsical in implementing the demonetisation scheme.

Giving details of the government’s latest move, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das told reporters that the amount of money that an individual can exchange at banks by handing over the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has been lowered to Rs 2,000 from Rs 4,500 with effect from Friday.

The Finance Ministry official also said that the use of indelible ink for such withdrawals will continue.

The announcement came like a bolt from the blue for the common people, who have been queueing outside the bank branches. Many of them skipped offices, school and colleges to stand in queues to exchange the spiked 500 and 1,000 currency notes.

“This is like adding insult to injury. Leave aside the misery that we are facing because of the cash crunch, now the government wants us to spend our entire time standing in bank queues,” MNC employee Jagmohan Singh told IANS.

Despite having worked in the night shift, Singh queued up outside the New Friends Colony branch of Bank of Baroda.

“One day they will hike the limit only to lower it the next day. The whimsical ways of the government in implementing the scheme is unpardonable,” he added.

Speaking in the same vein, school student Arib Hussain also expressed his anger over the move.

“I had to skip school to come to the bank to get the money exchanged and after coming here I came to know that the limit has been lowered. Is this the way? Does the government expect us to skip our studies and queue up outside banks and ATMs?” a livid Hussain told IANS.

Sahdeo Gupta, a flower trader, said he has been facing immense problems in running his business as most of the payments he receives are in cash, which is a rare commodity now.

“If this goes on for some more days, then I will have to suffer heavy losses,” Gupta said.