Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday announced there will be no toll tax on the country’s highways till midnight on November 24. On November 9, Gadkari had said that collection of toll tax would be suspended till November 11 to ease traffic movement after the demonetisation scheme was announced.
Gadkari’s November 9 announcement was made a day after the Centre declared Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes illegal tender, a move Prime Minister Narendra Modi said would help weed out corruption, black money and in turn, poverty and terrorism.
The extension of the toll tax suspension follows Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s assertion, earlier on Thursday, that “there was no question of rolling back the demonetisation move”. He said a permanent account number (PAN) card will be mandatory in currency exchanges amounting to over Rs 2.5 lakh.
Earlier in the day, the government had announced a range of changes to its demonetisation process. Among other steps, the government has reduced the limit for over-the-counter exchange of currency notes to Rs 2,000 from Rs 4,500. It also announced an exemption that allows families who are in need of cash because of upcoming weddings to withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh per person.
The surprise decision to demonetise high-value currency has met with massive criticism from Opposition parties, which have also brought up the matter in Parliament. The Congress has accused the government of introducing “financial anarchy” in the country because of the sudden shortage of cash. However, the Reserve Bank of India has said there is enough cash in the country. Jaitley questioned the opposition expressed by the Congress to the move and said the party had “vested interests”.