The deadline for depositing old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 ended on Thursday, with queues outside banks and ATMs thinning considerably on the last day.
Bankers said most people had already deposited their old currency notes, especially after the government announced in the third week of December that deposits of above R 5,000 in banned banknotes can be made only once till December 30.
“Though the decision was revoked later, it sent a message out to the people that the government may stop accepting old notes anytime. Therefore, the number of people coming to exchange demonetised tenders decreased substantially in the last three-four days,” said a senior official of State Bank of India.
Some officials also suggested that the banks witnessed lesser crowds as people did not have a lot of money left in their accounts by the end of the month.
Bankers in most parts of Delhi said that there were very few people waiting on Thursday, the last day to get old notes changed.
The lack of queues in the last few days, however, came as a boon for some residents, like Aruna Sinha.
Sinha, a resident of Saket, was among the handful who turned up at State Bank of India’s branch in south Delhi to exchange old notes on Thursday.
“I had Rs 2,000 in old notes with me, which I had thought I will use at a Metro station, but couldn’t. I had so long avoided coming to a bank fearing long queues. Today, I finally mustered courage to come and luckily the queue was short,” Sinha said.
A senior official of Corporation bank in North Delhi said that he got just Rs 35,000 in the form of old notes, which is the least since the demonetisation drive was announced on November 8.
Residents, however, still can get their old notes exchanged through designated RBI counters till March 31, provided they have valid reasons for not having deposited defunct notes in their accounts earlier.
A senior official of Reserve Bank of India said people can get their notes exchanged at Reserve Bank of India’s 29 branches in different states of India.
At ATMs: Small queues, no cash
A number of ATMs in the city too witnessed shorter queues. The average waiting time in some areas, however, was still as high as 30 minutes.
Although the overall situation at banks improved, many ATMs were still out of cash most time of the day.
Sources say that restrictions on withdrawal of cash from banks and ATMs are likely to continue beyond December 30.
After the demonetisation drive was announced on November 8, the government had fixed a limit of Rs 24,000 per week on withdrawal from bank accounts and Rs 2,500 per day from ATMs in view of the currency crunch.
Sources said the restrictions on withdrawal of cash from banks and ATMs are likely to continue beyond December 30.
In ATMs around Connaught Place, queues were thin with less than five people waiting at some places. However, in East Delhi neighbourhoods such as Mayur Vihar and New Ashok Nagar, the queues were comparatively longer with waiting time of up to half-an-hour. At ATMs in Saket and adjoining area too longer queues was the norm at most ATMs.