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Cash-starved people got some respite as queues at bank branches to get valid notes have shortened and about 40 per cent of total ATMs have started dispensing new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes. However, the situation in rural and semi-urban areas is not as good as urban areas and metros. The branches in rural and semi-urban cities are still facing shortage of cash. Families where marriages are due are making a beeline for branches to withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh as RBI came out with detailed operational guidelines.
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Wedding card, copies of advance payments made for booking marriage hall and caterers are required for withdrawing Rs 2.5 lakh from own accounts, as per stringent conditions imposed by RBI.
There have been reports coming in from different parts of the country about people being frustrated with shortage of cash at the branches, leading to scuffles with bank staff and rioting at some points.
Bankers say the restiction imposed for exchange has led to shortening of queues. Besides, screening of customers by putting indelible ink mark also cut down the size of waiting queues.
Meanwhile, increasing recalibration of ATMs is also easing pressure on bank branches. So far, about 40 per cent of 2.2 lakh ATMs have been recalibrated to dispense Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes.
With the recalibration, the capacity of ATMs has increased to about Rs 50 lakh from just Rs 5-6 lakh with just Rs 100 notes.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has already said the ATM recalibration should be finished by the month-end or first week of the next month.
As far as rural India is concerned, farmers are facing cash deficit at the time rabi crop is being sown. Ditto is the case for buying seed, fertilizers and other inputs.
As part of providing some succour to cash-starved farmers, the government yesterday permitted farmers to use old Rs 500 notes for purchasing seeds from any state or central government outlets and agri universities.
This is in addition to the decision taken earlier for making cash available with the farmers by permitting them to draw up to Rs 25,000 per week from their KYC compliant accounts subject to the normal loan limits and conditions.