Appeals by Prime Minister and finance minister notwithstanding, frustration and anger among citizens to get their share of valid notes for meeting daily needs swelled as banks tripped with non-functional ATMs and cash running out of branches at many places. Unprecedented rush at bank branches was seen all over the country, with people jostling to get new cash today itself because of a holiday in many parts of the country on Monday.
However, despite standing in queues for hours, many had to return empty handed due to cash shortage. Much to people’s dismay, most ATMs remained out of cash on the third consecutive day after they reopened on November 11. People in distress started queuing up before the branches across the country right from the day-break itself and the wait to get cash got even longer today. Women and the elderly were the worst sufferers.
“I was compelled to go to the bank as I had very little cash, but a huge, frightening queue at the branch sent chills down my spine. But I could gather courage to even stand in the queue,” said Suniti Gupta, an elderly women from Kanpur. Such tales became quite common. Many people are forgoing their day’s wage to get cash from the branches as daily wagers are almost broke since Rs 500/1,000 notes are not valid currency since Tuesday mid-night.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked citizens to bear with the currency crunch for 50 days, saying that was the timeframe needed to rid India’s financial system of corruption through the implementation of the demonetisation scheme. Regretting inconvenience to people, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said ATMs would take up to three weeks to get normal.
Amid the cash-crunch making people impatient and unruly at the branches, the Reserve Bank said there is enough cash in small denominations available. “Public need not be anxious; need not come over to banks repeatedly to draw and hoard. Cash is available when they need it,” RBI said.