The Reserve Bank of India on Sunday said enough cash was available and people should not panic and “hoard” money, as queues outside banks and ATMS grew longer and tempers ran short.
A few hours later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, stepped in . Making an emotional appeal, Modi said he knew people were being inconvenienced but he said the step was needed to fight corruption. He sought time till December 30 and said he was ready for any punishment that people of the country would give him.
“The Reserve Bank urges that public need not be anxious; need not come over to banks repeatedly to draw and hoard. Cash is available when they need it,” the central bank said in a statement on Sunday.
The Modi government’s surprise decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that made up more than 80% of the currency in circulation has led to panicked customers lining up at banks long before opening hours.
Banks are struggling to cope with the cash demand and finance minister Arun Jaitley has said it will take at least three weeks for ATMs to come up to speed .
The Reserve Bank said enough cash was also available in small denominations with it and other banks.
Banks will be close in some parts of the country on Monday, adding to the Sunday rush at the banks which have worked through the weekend.
Meanwhile, the finance ministry said that in the last four days, a total of 180 million bank transactions had been recorded all over the country.
The finance ministry also revised the cap on bank withdrawals on Sunday while advising similar changes to ATM withdrawals.
According to the ministry’s directive, the weekly withdrawal limit from banks has been increased from Rs 20,000 to Rs 24,000 while the daily limit of Rs 10,000 has been scrapped.
The ministry also advised banks to increase cash withdrawal limits in ATMs to Rs 2,500 per day in recalibrated ATMs from the current limit of Rs 2,000 so far.
As for exchange of demonetised banknotes, the ministry advised increasing the limit from Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,500.