Ahead of the expected rush by salaried employees and pensioners to withdraw cash to meet monthly requirements, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has restricted withdrawal from Jan Dhan accounts to Rs 10,000 per month to check misuse and withdrawal of cash from such accounts. On the other hand, the acute shortage of cash continues to trouble banks which are expecting long queues outside ATMs and branches from December 1 when salaries will be disbursed to many employees in firms across the country and by the government to its staff. While many branches are yet to get the new Rs 500 notes, notes of Rs 100 are in short supply and people are reluctant to accept Rs 2,000 notes, bankers said.
Bank unions have warned that the next one week to ten days are going to be “much more tense because a huge number of employees, workers and pensioners would throng bank branches to draw from their salary credit and non-availability of enough cash may lead to serious issues of law and order”.
“We seek the intervention of the Indian Banks’ Association to advise banks to ask for police protection in branches to provide proper security to the staff,” unions told the association in a letter.
On Jan Dhan accounts, the RBI said “fully KYC compliant account holders may be allowed to withdraw Rs 10,000 from their account in a month. The branch managers may allow further withdrawals beyond Rs 10,000 within the current applicable limits only after ascertaining the genuineness of such withdrawals and duly documenting the same on bank’s record”.
However, limited or non-KYC compliant account holders will be allowed to withdraw only Rs 5,000 per month from the amount deposited through Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes after November 9, within the overall ceiling of Rs 10,000, it said. Total deposits in Jan Dhan accounts had surged by over Rs 27,000 crore to over Rs 72,000 crore in the first two weeks after demonetisation.
The RBI said this is being done to protect farmers and rural account holders of Jan Dhan scheme from activities of money launderers and legal consequences under the benami property transaction and money laundering laws as a matter of precaution.
Meanwhile, many bank branches said they are getting less than half the required cash on a daily basis. Customers are reluctant to accept Rs 2,000 notes while supply of Rs 500 notes is a trickle and there is shortage of Rs 100 notes.
“We get reports of abusive language from customers for not being able to give them required cash due to reasons beyond their control. There are reports that due to shortage of cash, customers are asked to withdraw Rs 2,000 or Rs 4,000 instead of Rs 24,000 which they are eligible to, since there is inadequate cash balance in the branches,” C H Venkatachalam, general secretary of All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), said in a letter to the Indian Banks Association.
“We find branches are displaying boards like ‘No Cash’, ‘Cash No stock’ etc. which seriously erode the reputation of our banks in the eye of the common people. Adding to the problems, majority of the ATMs are still non-functional and this would add to the crowd and congestion inside the branch premises,” he said.