Some banks in the city on Thursday could not start the procedure of marking customers in a bid to stop repeat money-exchangers as they did not receive the indelible ink. A few other banks used alternatives such as permanent markers to curb exchanging of now-defunct notes by the same person.
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Even as large crowds gathered outside banks for the eighth consecutive day to collect some usable cash, the government decision to again limit the swapping of notes at banks to Rs 2000 per person drew mixed reactions.
A branch manager at State Bank of India, on the condition of anonymity, said that his branch has not received the indelible ink and that a RBI official had told him that it would reach Friday. There were many branches of banks like Central Bank of India and Bank of Baroda which did not get the ink.
BoB’s University branch found a way out. “We have not received the ink, and so, since yesterday we have started marking on the right hand’s index finger with a permanent marker,” said Satish Kumar, chief manager the branch.
Canara Bank’s Bhadra branch, which has received indelible ink, started to apply it on index finger of the right hand of the customers after verifying documents, said senior manager K R Meena, adding that now three bank staffers were engaged in the process at each counter for every transaction.
HDFC Bank was marking the left index finger, informed Vishal Shah, personal banker at the bank’s Relief Road Branch.
A Punjab National Bank official at the New Cloth Market branch said: “No guidelines have been provided, but like in elections we are inking the right hand’s index finger since yesterday.”
Sociologist Gaurang Jani criticised the tagging with indelible ink to restrict repeat money-exchangers as “anti-people” and “undemocratic”. “You are giving such a small amount of money to poor, so naturally they have to come again and again. Why is the government questioning their needs? Two and a half years ago, a number of Indians had put this ink on their finger and put their 100 per cent faith in you. Now you don’t trust them,” said Jani.
Some people in the bank queues questioned the move to reduce the cap on exchanging notes to Rs 2,000 from Rs 4,500. The move would be effective from Friday.
Chandresh Kasavala, 26, who runs a travel agency, said, “Even Rs 4,500 was not enough to survive for a month, reducing it to Rs 2000 will add more troubles. If they start exchanging in larger amount, people don’t have to come again and again to the banks and these queues won’t get longer.”
Prakash Misra, 31, who runs a private enterprise, said, ” If someone is depositing Rs 2.5 lakh, he should be allowed to withdraw up to Rs one lakh, so that money can be circulated quickly in the market. Private sector doesn’t have much new currency… The limit of exchanging should at least be Rs 5,000″. He, however, appreciated the decision to relax withdrawals by farmers to Rs 25,000 a week and Rs 2.5 lakh per family for wedding.
Maheboob Mansuri, 48, an auto-rickshaw driver said, “Those who have more members in a family, it would be difficult for them.”
But, Mukesh Patel, 49, a businessman, felt it was a good move. “They have been actually giving Rs 4,000 and Rs 4,500 till today. People must have exchanged enough. The facility was misused or say overused by many. To stop this, it is a good move.”