In a move aimed to ease long queues at banks, the finance ministry on Sunday directed banks to increase the daily cash withdrawal limits at ATMs to Rs 2,500 from Rs 2,000 and over the counter exchange limit to Rs 4,500 from Rs 4,000. Also, the government decided to increase the weekly withdrawal limit from bank accounts to Rs 24,000 from Rs 20,000, while the per day withdrawal limit of Rs 10,000 was removed. The finance ministry has also started issuance of Rs 500 notes.
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The decision came after the finance ministry took stock of the availability and distribution of all denomination of banknotes in different parts of the country based on reports received from states and banks.
To ensure cash availability in rural areas, the government has asked states’ chief secretaries to identify the rural pockets where availability of cash has been a problem.
“Instructions have been given to the banks and post offices to ensure proper distribution of all denomination notes. Banks have also been especially advised to ensure the availability and distribution of small denomination notes. Chief secretaries of the states have been requested to identify the rural pockets, if any, where availability of cash has been a problem and provide all support to the banks and post offices in order to ensure the last mile distribution of small denomination of notes is done through mobile banking vans and banking correspondents,” a finance ministry statement said.
The finance ministry has also asked banks to increase the issuance and use of mobile wallets and debit/credit cards and give them to those customers and establishments who do not have access to these non-cash means of payment.
The government has advised customers to lodge complaints with the concerned district magistrate or administration in case their cheques/demand drafts/online payment transfers are not being accepted by business establishments including hospitals, caterers and tent houses among others, the statement said.
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The finance ministry said that from November 10-13, about 18 crore transactions have taken place in the banking system which included deposit of about Rs 3 lakh crores of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. About Rs 50,000 crore has been dispensed to customers by either withdrawal from their accounts or withdrawal from ATMs or by exchange at the counter, the statement said.
The finance ministry has also advised banks to arrange mobile banking vans at major hospitals to carry out emergency banking transactions for patients. The government has asked banks to make arrangements for separate queues for senior citizens and physically challenged.