People started queuing up outside banks on Thursday morning even before they opened to deposit Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were withdrawn by the Centre in a sudden move on November 8. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government was trying to ensure that replacement currency is made available to people at the earliest.
”There will be an impact on small purchases for a few days, till there is adequacy of currency, but it is beneficial in long run,” he said, adding that only those with large amounts of undisclosed money would face the consequences under existing laws. Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian said, “Instead of seeing it as a reduction of wealth, it must be seen as transfer of unaccounted wealth.”
State Bank of India Managing Director Arundhati Bhattacharya said, “Customers can withdraw Rs 4,000 from ATMs and Rs 10,000 from bank counters, and can deposit any amount.” Axis Bank has announced that senior citizens will not need to stand in a queue at any of their branches. All banks will stay open on Saturday and Sunday (November 12 and 13) for people to deposit the scrapped currency notes.
Security was heightened in several cities, including Delhi, to avoid law and order problem, ANI reported. The stock markets were also affected by the Centre move aimed at tracking black money in the country.
The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex rose by more than 400 points in early trade, and the Nifty index crossed the 8,500-mark with a rise of more than 135 points. Gold and silver gained as well. While gold crossed the 30,000-mark for 10 g, silver was selling at over 43,600 per kg.
People took to Twitter to express their plight, though some just used to opportunity to make jokes.