India discontinues ₹500, ₹1000 denominations; releases ₹2000 and new ₹500 bills

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Monday, November 14, 2016

A 2000 rupee note printed in Mysore
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.

On Wednesday, India demonetised 500 (about US$7.50) and ₹1000 notes, announced as a measure to fight corruption, fake notes, and black money. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Indian citizens late Tuesday, and said 500 and 1000 rupee notes would cease to be legal tender at midnight.

To minimise possible difficulties to citizens, transactions using old 500 and 1000 rupee notes were accepted at government hospitals, railway ticket bookings, government buses, and airports. The notes were also accepted at public-sector petrol-pumps, government-authorised consumer co-operative stores, milk booths authorised by State governments, and cremation grounds till Friday midnight. These shops were obliged to have a record of their stocks and sales.

Old Five hundred and 1000 rupee notes could can be exchanged in banks, head and sub post offices from November 10 till December 30
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.

In his announcement, Modi said, "For your immediate needs, you can go to any bank, head post office or sub post office, show your identity proof like Aadhar card, voter's card, ration card, passport, income tax PAN card number or other approved proofs and exchange your old 500 or thousand rupee notes for new notes."((hi))

Modi also announced those who failed to change their currency till December 30 can exchange the notes at Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s office along with a declaration form till March 31. The notes can be exchanged till December 30 at any branch of any bank across India.

By Saturday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said demonetised money equivalent to almost US$30 billion was deposited in banks across India. According to estimate, the old notes accounted for 85% of the total money in circulation. New 500 rupee and 2000 rupee notes are to be issued. Modi said RBI would exercise caution from past experience and limit the circulation of large-value notes.

International tourists could purchase up to 5000 rupees using the old notes at airport exchanges till Friday.

A limit was imposed on cash withdrawal; a maximum of 10000 rupees each day, and 20000 rupees each week, can be withdrawn. Moreover, from Thursday (November 10) till November 24, 4000 rupees can be exchanged in the banks and post offices. The amount is credited to the bank account.

Government workers were informed about demonetising when the announcement was made. Modi announced all banks would remain closed for public work on Wednesday.

In the United States, Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election on Tuesday, immediately after which stock markets dropped globally. Following the US election and demonetising the money, the Indian stock market fell by 1700 points on Wednesday. Sensex lost 1,688.69 points and Nifty lost 111.55 points on the same day. Indian technology sector companies experienced loss. TCS suffered 4.93% loss and Infosys lost 2.74%.

The Indian rupee is also used in the neighbouring countries of Bhutan and Nepal. The border area uses Indian currency for day-to-day transactions. The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMA) has announced the exchange of old notes will be facilitated till December 15. RMA governor Dasho Penjore informed Indian news site The Wire, "We do not know exactly how much Indian currency of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 is in circulation in Bhutan. We will get a better idea after the deadline to deposit their amount". RMA has 30% of its international exchange reserve in Indian rupees. Nepal Rastra Bank directed all Nepali banks to stop conducting transactions using the Indian rupee.

On Thursday, there were long queues in front of ATMs and banks to exchange the old notes and withdraw money. BBC reported some banks ran out of cash. Police were called to some banks to maintain discipline. Banks were open on Saturday and Sunday for money exchange.

A notice about demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes which were not accepted in the store
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.
A shop accepting 500 and 1000 rupee notes after they were no longer valid currency even in government hospitals, on Saturday
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.

Shops did not accept the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Some emphasised cash-less transaction as well. BBC reported some traders and small business owners in Delhi threatened to call a strike as this move affected their business.

eRetail websites like Amazon and Flipkart announced they would not accept the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes on Cash on Delivery orders. Amazon also announced 15% discount on gift cards worth 500 or 1000 rupees.

The government ceased all transactions using the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes before Saturday. But a Wikinews correspondent noticed a jeweler shop accepting the demonetised notes on Saturday. When questioned, the jeweler said they were accepting the old notes only on purchase. When the correspondent, who did not identify as a reporter to the shop owners, said the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes were not legal money, they said they will exchange the notes in a bank since there were 50 days to exchange with a new and legal tender. They refused to exchange old 500 rupee notes with change, asserting the customer needs to buy merchandise from their shop.


Crowded scene in front of State Bank of India
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.
State Bank of India remained open at night, and a long queue of people waited outside the ATM to withdraw money
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.
CAnara Bank's ATM remained closed on Wednesday
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.
Karnataka Bank's ATM remained closed on Wednesday
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.
Corporation Bank's ATM remained closed on Wednesday
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.
Axis Bank's ATM remained closed on Wednesday
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.
Syndicate Bank's ATM remained closed on Wednesday
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.
Karnataka Bank's ATM remained closed on Wednesday
Image: Agastya Chandrakant.

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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