Maintaining that the state of panic among people is on the decline following the constant flow of cash at banks and ATMs, State Bank of India (SBI) chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said the bank will soon start dispensing Rs 50 and Rs 20 notes to further help the public.
The SBI chief told ANI that in all of their branches in the southern states, the workload has dropped to almost 50%, which is a sure sign that people are assured that they will receive the money at their own convenience.
However, talking about the inconvenience caused to the masses with ATMs running out of cash faster than expected, Bhattacharya said ATMs are emptying out fast because it has a fixed space for notes of Rs 100 and also the dimension of the new notes has changed.
“But what takes the most time is manual recalibration. A person has to come and physically add the money when it runs out. We hope and are trying that we can sort this problem by end of November. And if the chaos subsides by then, we will also start dispensing Rs 50 and 20 notes in coming days,” she said.
The government has set up a special task force headed by the deputy governor of the RBI to expedite the process of recalibrating the ATMs to make them fully functional. The task force will work with banks in this direction.
Addressing the media in New Delhi about Prime Minister’s meeting on Sunday to review the demonetisation and its impact, economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das on Monday said the ATM recalibration has started and some of the ATMs will start dispensing higher denominations, including Rs 2000 notes, from Tuesday or Wednesday.
The ATM limit has also been increased to Rs 2,500, but it will be disbursed from only recalibrated machines.
Saying that there is no need for the public to panic, Das assured that there was enough cash available in the system and the situation will ease in the coming days.
Also, toll tax will not be collected till the midnight of November 18 to ensure smooth traffic movement across all national highways, given the cash crunch.
On Sunday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting at his residence with senior ministers to review demonetisation and its impact.
The meeting was attended by home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, information and broadcasting minister Venkaiah Naidu, power, coal and mines minister Piyush Goyal and top officials of the finance ministry.
After a review by the finance ministry, the limit of old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes that can be exchanged was increased from Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,500 per day.
The time limit for certain transactions using scrapped Rs 500 and 1,000 notes was also extended to November 24 midnight. Old currency will be accepted at government hospitals, railways and bus ticket counters, airports, petrol pumps, milk booths authorised by state governments, crematoria and burial grounds.
Cash withdrawal limit at ATMs was hiked to Rs 2,500 from 2,000 a day. The weekly limit of Rs 20,000 for withdrawal from bank counters was increased to Rs 24,000, the daily withdrawal limited of Rs 10,000 was scrapped.
The finance ministry has also extended the last date for submission of the annual life certificate for pensioners from November to January 15 next year.