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New Delhi: Eight days after the Narendra Modi government decided to ban Rs500, Rs1,000 currency notes to eliminate black money, fake currency, and corruption, long queues continue outside ATMs and banks to deposit and withdraw cash. Most ATMs continue to face currency shortage and there has been a marked increase in the use of plastic money and online payment apps in urban centres. The demonetization move is expected to affect Parliament’s winter session with the opposition parties questioning the Modi government’s stand.
Here are the key developments:
• The Income Tax department has notified that all cash deposits of above Rs50,000 in a day and all cash deposits that aggregate to more than Rs2.5 lakh during 9 November-31 December will require to quote the permanent account number (PAN). Also, banks will be required to quote all deposits exceeding Rs2.5 lakh in the annual information report sent to the tax department as against the current ceiling of Rs10 lakh.
• The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) and head offices of most commercial banks have not asked banks to collect photocopies of customers’ identities for exchange of old currency notes. The RBI said that its guidelines only require customers to present and show valid proof, the photocopies are not required, reports The Times of India.
• Shaktikanta Das, secretary, department of economic affairs: Use of indelible ink has started this morning with the SBI Parliament Street branch, Delhi
• SBI and few other banks in Delhi have started using indelible ink. As per a government statement, 11 branches of SBI are using the method to weed out customers queuing up again and again to exchange invalid currency notes, reports NDTV.
The political reactions, both for and against the move, have been sharp:
• Rajnath Singh, Union home minister says “the hardship arising out of demonetization may continue for around a month,” reports Mint.
• ANI reports: Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav announces that Rs 500/1000 old notes will be accepted for land registration till 24 November.
• West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, along with leaders of National Conference, AAP and NDA constituent Shiv Sena, on Wednesday led a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan from Parliament, protesting against the Centre’s move to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes. “The march is to save common people from disaster,” she told reporters before heading towards the President’s House to submit a memorandum seeking reversal of the move.
• Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India (Marxist): “Now we have Modi Antoinette, If you don’t have paper, use plastic; what is the coverage of your plastic money? Will credit cards run the economy?,” reports Firstpost.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the first day of winter session of Parliament said that he was hopeful that an open discussion on issues will pave way for good decisions. “GST (Goods and Services Tax) was passed in the last session it was a very big achievement. I had thanked all parties for this.We are ready to hold discussions on all issues in the winter session and we look forward to a positive discussion on all issues with all parties. We will debate every issue with an open mind as this leads to good decisions,” Modi told reporters ahead of the beginning of the winter session.
• Mayawati, Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief: “I have been observing Jaitleyji in the Rajya Sabha and have noticed he does look very ‘dukhi’, writes The Indian Express.
• Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha: “The prime minister should at least listen to the Opposition.”
• Ram Gopal Yadav, Samajwadi Party MP: “This did not happen even during emergency. Common man has become a beggar. In the villages, people have stopped buying goods like toothpaste and hair oil. Even Baba Ramdev won’t be able to sell manjan,” reports Firstpost.
• Anand Sharma, Congress Party: “Which economy works without cash? The message went across the globe that economy of India is run by black money,” reports The Times of India.
• Piyush Goyal, Union power minister: “With demonetization there is a celebration of honesty in the country. For the first time, there is a PM and government that is ready to give a tough fight to corruption and black money,” reports NDTV.