Citizens staged protests outside the Reserve Bank of India’s premises in New Delhi and Mumbai on Wednesday after the apex bank’s staff refused to exchange demonetised notes. According to PTI, a woman customer also removed her clothes at the bank in protest against their move.
While the protestors argued that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that old currency could be exchanged at RBI counters up to March 31, the bank’s employees said that the specific provision was only applicable for non-resident Indians or citizens who were abroad during the 50-day period of demonetisation. Some protestors alleged that they were unaware of this notification.
In his November 8 address, Modi had said, “There may be some who are not able to deposit their old five hundred or thousand rupee notes by December 30, 2016. They can go to specified offices of the Reserve Bank of India up to March 31, 2017, and deposit the notes after submitting a declaration form.”
The RBI, in a notification issued on November 8, had said, “Any person who is unable to exchange or deposit the specified bank notes in their bank accounts on or before the December 30, 2016, shall be given an opportunity to do so at specified offices of the Reserve Bank or such other facility until a later date as may be specified by it.”
Mumbai resident Sandeep Popat told The Indian Express, “The RBI has said it will accept money from NRIs but not from the citizens. So they prefer NRIs over Indian citizens.”
The RBI had said NRIs will be able to deposit up to Rs 25,000, under the the Foreign Exchange Management Act, till June 30, 2017, while resident Indians who were abroad between November 9 and December 30 can submit any amount in old notes till March 31, 2017.
The country grappled with a cash crunch following the Modi government’s move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, which had accounted for 86% of the India’s currency supply at that time.