Banks across India will allow only senior citizens to exchange scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on Saturday, catering primarily to their own customers.
Though banks will be open, they will function during normal working hours and outsiders will not be able to exchange their old banknotes, officials said on Friday.
From Monday all customers will be allowed to exchange notes at a branch of any bank. Banks will be closed this Sunday.
“For the last 10 days, bank employees have been totally occupied handling the demonetisation (rush). We have decided to give them some relief,” said K Unnikrishnan, the acting CEO of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).
Employees have been working long hours since banks opened after a day’s break following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise announcement to scrap high-value currencies on November 8.
The government’s move sparked chaos and confusion across the country, with millions of consumers queued outside banks and ATMs to change a limited number of old notes for new ones or withdraw cash.
Rajeev Rishi, the chairman of the association, confirmed that banks will not be doing any exchange for outsiders on Saturday, but said senior citizens will not be turned away.
“All other services at banks will be operational, and tomorrow (Saturday) we will complete our pending work,” he told ANI.
The All India Bank Employees Association too supported the move.
“There is an acute shortage of cash...indelible ink is not available at most of the branches,” said R Venkatachallam, the general secretary of the body.
The government has decided that banks will mark with indelible ink the fingers of people exchanging old currency at counters to stop them from coming back repeatedly and choking queues.
IBA’s Rishi said after the banks started using indelible ink, the queues shortened.
“For the last one week, we have been seeing huge rush. But for the last two-three days after we introduced the inking of finger we have seen a visible reduction in the rush...,” Rishi said.
(With agency inputs)
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