Thu, Dec 8, 2016 | updated 07:52 PM IST

Nation fights for 'change', as Rs. 2,000 notes pose fresh challenge

Updated: Nov 13, 2016 11:02 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov. 13 (ANI): Besides the arduous task of battling snake-like queues outside ATMs to get their hands on the freshly minted 2000 and 500 Rupee notes, citizens are now besieged with the herculean task of wrangling for change, as shopkeepers and stores are demanding the exact amount from customers, stoking a war for change...literally.

"Nobody is accepting this Rs. 2,000 note and shopkeepers are saying that they don't have change. Where will I keep it? They are still not accepting this note even if I buy groceries," said an angry local.

Another peeved local from Kanpur expressed frustration because his family is facing several difficulties for buy vegetables.

"We get only Rs 2,000 to 4,000 and if in case, I have to go to for some medical check-up, then the entire Rs. 4,000 gets spent, and then I am left with no money to come back home. Initially, it was easy for public to withdraw Rs. 500, but now, we are left with no other option but Rs. 2,000, common people are facing a lot of difficulties," he added.

"From last three days the banks are closed and they are not giving us money. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said they will work for 12 hours and would also open three to four extra counters, but everything is wage and not even a single extra counter is opened. There is only one counter. Some people are getting cash, while others are going cashless," said another local, Ahmad from Hyderabad.

Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a major step to check black money and announced demonetization of Rs 500 and 1000 currency notes with effect from midnight, making these notes invalid in a major assault on black money, fake currency and corruption.

In his televised address to the nation, the Prime Minister said people holding notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 can deposit the same in their bank and post office accounts from November 10 till December 30.

With the people facing trouble after the Centre's move to scrap currency notes of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, the government on Friday decided extended the existing exemptions on paying public utility bills till November 14.

In a press release, the government reassured that there is enough cash with the RBI and supply of cash to Bank branches and ATMs are being stepped up gradually.

While cancelling the legal tender character of the existing series of high denomination bank notes of Rs.500 and Rs.1, 000 denominations w.e.f. the expiry of November 8, exemptions were allowed for certain transactions for the first 72 hours with a view to minimizing inconvenience to the public.

"Considering various representations received from different quarters in the matter, it has now been decided that the existing exemptions may be extended until the expiry of 14th November, 2016, with the following modifications / additions to the existing exemptions," the release stated.

The exemptions on paying the public utility bills include

(i) Payment for court fees will be included in the exemptions.

(ii) The ID proof of customers will be required for transactions in consumer cooperative stores.

(iii) Payments towards utility bills will be restricted to only individuals / households for arrears and / or current bills. No advance payments will be allowed.

(iv) Payments in toll-plazas of the State and National Highways will be deleted from exemptions, considering that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is separately issuing instructions in this regard. (ANI)