New Delhi: It will take around two weeks for the automated teller machines (ATMs) to dispense new notes of ₹ 500 and ₹ 2,000, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday seeking public’s support even as complaints piled up from people standing in long queues outside banks and ATMs, unable to get the currency in preferred denominations.
“The finance ministry is constantly monitoring the cash replacement exercise," said Jaitley stressing that adequate cash is available in the currency chests of the Reserve Bank of India and the banks.
“There are technology limitations. More than 2 lakh ATM machines were not recalibrated at the beginning to maintain secrecy. It takes 2-3 weeks to recalibrate the system. The new notes of 500 and 2000 have a different size. Rs100 notes will be available in the ATMs and larger denomination notes in banks," Jaitley said.
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Warning tax evaders that the government is keeping a close watch, Jaitley said banks have reported an unusual surge in deposits in Jan Dhan accounts and that the enforcement directorate along with the revenue department is keeping a close watch on all developments.
According to finance ministry estimates, nearly ₹ 1.5- 2 trillion of cash has been deposited into the banking system since the government declared the existing ₹ 500 and ₹ 1,000 notes as illegal tender from 9 November.
The government estimates that these notes constituted roughly 86% of the currency in circulation amounting to around ₹ 14 trillion.
The finance ministry held a meeting with the RBI and heads of big banks including the State Bank of India (SBI) to take stock of the situation and address concerns faced by the public and banks.
Banks said dealing with large queues and people’s demand for smaller denomination currencies is a problem.
Jaitley said that so far SBI has seen more than 2.28 crore transactions linked to the currency demonetization including cash deposits, exchange and ATM withdrawals. SBI has so far seen more than ₹ 48,000 crore in cash deposits.
“It was expected that such a big currency replacement exercise won’t happen overnight. But a big regret that people are facing inconvenience.
“My appeal to the people is that deposit facility is available till 30 December. If you have funds, please don’t come and stand in lines to avoid long queues," Jaitley said.