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Indelible ink and cash flights to deal with India’s demonetisation blues

black money crackdown Updated: Nov 16, 2016 01:54 IST
Demonetisation,PM Narendra Modi,Modi govt

People outside a bank in Ghaziabad on Monday.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

Those exchanging recalled banknotes will have indelible ink put on their finger from Wednesday to deter repeat transactions and the crowding of banks.

The government had allowed the exchange of old 500-and 1000-rupee notes worth up to Rs 4,500, but some people are exchanging currency beyond the limit at multiple banks. The inking idea is the same as the one used to prevent repeat voting.

Economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das said on Tuesday the government will also examine Jan Dhan accounts – opened mostly by the poor – following worries that cash hoarders might be inducing account holders to deposit illicit money.

Read: Govt clears confusion over ink: Right hand for banks, left hand for bypolls

A week into the surprise decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to scrap high-value banknotes to fight black money and counterfeiting, queues outside ATMs and banks remain long and are more unruly.

The move has disrupted life. Over the week, elderly people have collapsed in queues, patients denied treatment and at least 23 deaths have been linked to panic over the crisis.

But government sources said the Reserve Bank of India was now using cargo flights to move cash swiftly from its mints in Dewas and Nashik. And it has set up a task force to ensure smooth disposal of dead currency.

Read: Cong stashed Rs 12L cr during UPA rule, PM Modi turned it into scrap: Amit Shah

Das also quashed rumours that the new Rs 2,000 note was fake because it was bleeding colour. He said all genuine currency, including Rs 100 notes, will 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.”

Top government sources said a taskforce was to meet on Tuesday to discuss ways to prioritise ATMs so that the busiest ones are refilled first.

Meanwhile, Modi urged the opposition to send out a message against black money when Parliament opens on Wednesday. The appeal was made at an all-party meeting on Tuesday.

But signalling a stormy session, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said the opposition was united against the demonetisation move, which he said will turn out to be a big scam.

Read: Modi talks of ‘crusade’ against graft, but united Oppn readies to up the ante

First Published: Nov 15, 2016 23:06 IST