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Check against repeated exchange of notes: Banks to use indelible ink

The government announced a raft of measures on Tuesday to unclog the replacement withdrawn currency with new banknotes, a less-than-smooth process that has seen millions queue up outside banks and ATMs for cash.

black money crackdown Updated: Nov 15, 2016 20:02 IST
A long queue outside a State Bank of India branch in Gurgaon.
A long queue outside a State Bank of India branch in Gurgaon. (Parveen Kumar/HT photo)

The government announced on Tuesday a raft of measures to unclog the replacement of withdrawn currency with new banknotes, a less-than-smooth process that has seen millionsqueue up outside banks and ATMs for cash.

Economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das said 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.

The process – similar to the indelible ink used in elections to tag voters – will start in major cities from Tuesday. The government has blamed the long lines outside banks on unscrupulous elements using ordinary citizens to exchange illegal cash by multiple transactions.

Das also said Jan Dhan accounts with deposits above Rs 50,000 will be closely monitored following reports that many were using the accounts – opened by mostly the poor people – to park illegal incomes.

He also quashed rumours that the new Rs 2000 note was fake because it was bleeding colour. He said all genuine currency, including Rs 100 notes, would bleed some colour because of the nature of the ink. “When you rub a piece of cotton with a note, if it doesn’t leave some colour, it is a sign that the note is fake.”

The government is struggling to deal with the deluge of people lined up to exchange or deposit cash after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a surprise recall of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes last Tuesday.

The move was aimed at draining illegal wealth from the economy but has caused massive hardships for ordinary citizens, especially in remote areas with little financial network.

Read| In course correction after demonetisation, govt eases cash withdrawal norms

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