Banks across the country will remain open on Saturday and follow normal working hours to complete pending work, but only senior citizens will be able to exchange notes at bank branches, said Rajiv Rishi, Chairman Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) to news agency ANI. No note exchange will take place other than that for senior citizens. Besides, all other services at banks will be operational, added Rishi. He also said that with the use of indelible ink, queuing had substantially reduced. “We have taken a view that on Saturday, the banks shall not be doing exchange over the counter of 2000 rupees. We will make an exception for senior citizens. But tomorrow we will spend trying to update our works and do the works in relation to our own customers,” Rishi added.
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Speaking to ANI, Rishi stated that ever since demonetisation was announced, all banks have been working for extended hours including holidays to ensure the public at large was not inconvenienced. “In fact, we have diverted all human resource to make sure that all those who stood in queues got their money exchanged, deposited and withdrawn. In the process what we have felt is that in the last one week our own customers have actually suffered. Routine works are not done and routine works are pending in banking activities,” he said.
Ever since the government on November 8 announced the decision to scrap currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000, long queues outside banks and ATMs have been a common sight. The angst among people due to the decision was escalated after several deaths were reported as a result of people queuing outside banks and ATMs to exchange notes or withdraw cash.
The deaths have grabbed the attention of Opposition parties who have continuously attacked the Modi government on its decision to demonetise the high denomination currency notes.
On Friday, following Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s comments regarding rolling back demonetisation, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the decision taken by a government that has “lost connect” with people smacked of “insensitivity”. The Delhi Chief Minister and his Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee had on Thursday demanded that demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes be rolled back within the next three days.
Meanwhile, speaking on the issue of long queuing outside banks and ATMs, the Supreme Court on Friday dubbed it as a “serious issue” and expressed its reservation on the Centre’s plea seeking a direction that no other court in the country should entertain petitions challenging the November 8 notification demonetising Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes.
(With ANI inputs)