New Delhi: The Government on Thursday refused to relax ceiling on the bank withdrawals (maximum Rs 24,000 a week) and ATMs (Rs 2,500 a day), asserting its policy to let a larger number of people get the notes while giving an official assessment of the progress of the demonetisation.
Claiming that the money supply in the market is improving since the demonetisation, economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das told a Press conference here that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has already infused new notes to the tune of 33% of the scrapped currency and the supply will be 50% in another 10 to 15 days to ease the situation.
He said the currency notes of more than Rs 5 lakh crore have been infused into the banking system since November 8. It is, however, a fraction of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore in 1,000 and 500 rupee notes that were demonetised as no longer legal tender by Prime Minister Modi in a surprise move targeting the black money and counterfeit notes.
Das said the number of ATMs are empty since some banks prefer to cater to the customers of own branches with the cash, but they have been now advised not to starve the ATMs. He said as many as 2 lakh out of total 2.20 lakh ATMs have been already recalibrated to dispense new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes.
He said the government was earlier trying to print more of Rs 2,000 currency notes to fill the vacuum of the scrapped noes but the focus was now on printing more Rs 500 notes. “Initial focus was to supply Rs. 2000 notes to replace value that was taken out of the market.
Now focus is on printing more of Rs. 500 notes.”Das said the lower denomination notes of Rs 100 and Rs 50 were also being printed. He said three times the normal yearly supply of lower denomination notes of Rs. 100, 50, 20 and 10 have been issued to public in the last five weeks to ease the shortage. Highlighting the government”s determination not to allow fake currency, he said: “Possibility of counterfeiting new 500 and 2000 notes is very less. Also, they are completely indigenous. This is the first time that the notes were indigenously designed in-house with security features, which makes notes more secure with less chance of counterfeiting.”
He said new notes are being airlifted wherever necessary to ensure a continuous supply. The focus, he said, was on identifying rural areas where there is a shortage of cash.
In reply to questions, he said the currency supply was being increased in the areas facing cash shortfall. As regards large number of new notes seized from various places, he said these would also be sent in the market. He asserted that all efforts are being done to reduce the hardships and in his view, the situation was improving constantly. Giving a break-up of the lower denomination notes put in the market, he said the 100-rupee notes worth Rs 1.60 lakh were already in the market while another notes worth Rs 80,000 crore have been issued in the last five weeks.