New Delhi: People may be forced to restrain and not to lose their cool as withdrawing of cash from either ATMs or banks likely to continue beyond December 30. This was revealed by none other than the Finance Ministry officials.
“Availability of cash in the banking system would be normalised in the next three weeks,” stated Shaktikanta Das, Secretary to the Department of Economic Affairs. Das’ statement is a clear indication that the shortage could continue at least till the first week of January.
Meanwhile, a top official quoted by news agency claimed that the cash withdrawal restrictions would be eased only after 80 per cent of the new currency is introduced into the system. Claiming that about 50 per cent of the remonetisation is complete, he alleged that the long queues are visible only in poll-bound states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Contradicting this claim, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi informed the Supreme Court that while `15.4 trillion worth notes were demonetised, only `5 trillion in new currency has been released to the banks.
According to Rohatgi’s data, remonetisation is just over 30 per cent and nowhere close to the halfway mark. Considering the fact that it took more than 5 weeks (since Nov 8) to replenish a mere 30 per cent of the total value of demonetised notes, and the fact that the new notes being printed now are smaller denominations, the exercise could even extend beyond January 2017. Analysis by some agencies peg the relief to come sometime between February and April.
While the sops came in the form of ‘awards’ announced by Niti Aayog to encourage cashless transactions, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley clarified that digital transactions are just a parallel mechanism and not a substitute for cash transactions.
He said that cashless, in this case, meant less-cash as no country could go fully cashless. He also said the government and RBI were aware of cyber-security challenges and would ensure strong firewalls to protect the system. As the government struggles to steady the staggering cashless agenda, BJP leaders from poll-bound states have begun to ring the alarm bells.