28 Nov 2016: A Person displaying a new 500 rupee note after withdrawing it from a bank in Tezpur on 28.11.2016
New Delhi: The new “high-security” currency – Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 notes – will be available in ATMs on Friday, said Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the surprise announcement last night that the highest-domination notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 are now just “worthless pieces of paper.”
- The notes have been banned to fight back money and money-laundering, he said.
- The PM assured that the discontinued notes can be deposited in banks and post office savings accounts before the end of the year.
- New bills for Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 are being printed and will be sent to banks. They will be in limited supply initially, necessitating a cap on how many are available to an individual.
- But many of the poor also do not have bank accounts and keep their savings in cash. Some criticised the currency measure for the suffering it would cause among common citizens, who may not have lower-currency notes available to keep themselves afloat for the next few days.
- “Withdraw this draconian decision,” said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “This is a financial chaos and disaster let loose on the common people of India.”
- Largely, though, the initiative has been praised for its bold attempt to reform the black market.
- Banks are closed today while they prepare for the transition.
- Starting Friday, people can swap old notes for new for upto Rs. 4,000 (the limit will be removed on the 24th).
- PM Modi’s move is also expected to overhaul the large real estate sector, where property is bought and sold using undeclared or black money.