Demonetisation: Requests to change scrapped notes still pour in at RBI

RBI is everyday getting 600 applications and has already received more than 16,000-17,000 applications

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Geetanjali Minhas | March 7, 2017 | Mumbai


#Mumbai   #scrapped currency notes   #RBI   #demonetisation   #PIO   #OCI   #India news  


 It’s been four months since demonetization took place, yet requests to change the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes are still coming at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Sources at the RBI told Governance Now that all windows are now closed. Many people have taken up the matter with government and it is now upto the authorities concerned to take a call. 
 
“We thought the government will open the window for a few days. People have been telling us they thought (depositing scrapped notes) is allowed up to March 31,” a source said.
 
The RBI is receiving several inquiries and requests from courts, police and the CBI to accept old currency. 
 
“Court (officials) are angry with RBI for not accepting their money. It is not court’s money, but pertaining to different cases which is lying in sealed covers.  We are told that Mumbai police alone has Rs 300 crore of old currency. Though RBI is not exchanging notes, it is accepting their letters,” the source said and added: “It appears that Rs 1lakh crore is still lying with public. But RBI has no discretion over it. Even if government gives a 15 day window it will be a big relief for people.”
 
In his November 8 address to the nation, prime minister Narendra Modi had said, “There may be some who for some reason are not able to deposit their old 500 or 1000  rupee notes  by December 30, 2016, they can go to specified offices of RBI upto March 31, 2017 and deposit notes after submitting a declaration form.”
 
The RBI too had said, “Any person who is unable to exchange or deposit the specified notes in their bank accounts on or before December 30,2016 shall be given an opportunity to do so at specified offices of Reserve Bank or other such facility until a later date as may be specified by the Reserve Bank.”
 
On December 30, the president approved the promulgation of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance ,2016  and people are not allowed to change notes. The ordinance grants exemption to only those people who were out of the country between  Nov 8  to December 30..
 
NRIs can exchange notes at only five RBI offices (Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Nagpur). People hailing from the western region are coming to Mumbai to exchange demonetized notes. 
 
After landing at international airport, they first visit the RBI office to change old currency. Passports, immigration documents, inward and outward details are being checked. It takes time to verify details causing a crowd at RBI office.
 
“Old people who are dependent on small amounts are facing difficulties. RBI is getting 600 applications daily and already received more than 16000-17000 applications. By March 31st, the number will reach 25,000. It is a voluminous task. The central office of RBI is being flagged on all issues at the ground level along with several letters,” said sources.
 
Sources said that as many as 70-80% people coming to change notes are senior citizens. It’s not only some Indian citizens, including old and sick people, who were unable to change currency.  Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) too are angry as they were not informed that the window period was  only for Indian citizens. To avoid exchange rate fluctuation, OCI’s  hold 4-5 different currencies for their travels and have large amounts of old currency to change.
 

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