The Union Finance Ministry on 13 November advised the banks to increase the cash withdrawal limit at ATMs from the existing Rs. 2,000 to Rs 2,500 per day in the recalibrated ATMs and to increase the exchange limit over the counter from the existing Rs 4,000 to Rs. 4,500.
The ministry further advised the banks to increase the Business Correspondents limit to Rs 2,500 for withdrawal from bank accounts and also the weekly limit of Rs. 20,000 for withdrawal from accounts has been increased to Rs. 24,000, removing the limit of Rs.10,000.
The decision came after the Finance Ministry reviewed the position regarding availability and distribution of all denomination of bank notes.
Furthermore, banks have been advised to increase the issuance and use of mobile wallets and debit/credit cards as also to provide them to those customers and establishments not having access to these non-cash means of payment and the last date for submission of the annual life certificate for the government pensioners, which is to be submitted in November every year, has been extended up to 15 January.
In a statement, based on the reports received from the states, banks and other sources, the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, noted that in the first four days - November 10-13 up to 5 pm - about Rs 3 lakh crores of old Rs 500 and Rs. 1000 notes were deposited in various banks and about Rs 50,000 crores dispensed to customers either by withdrawal from their accounts or ATMs or by exchange at the counter, whereas during this period, the banking system handled about 21 crore transactions.
The statement said coordination is being continuously done by the ministry with the Reserve Bank of India ( RBI), banks and post offices to make all denomination notes available at all locations and instructions were given to the banks and post offices to ensure proper distribution of all denomination notes. Banks have also been especially advised to ensure the availability and distribution of small denomination notes.
Further, the states' chief secretaries have been requested to identify the rural pockets, if any, where availability of cash has been a problem and provide all support to the banks and post offices in order to ensure the last mile distribution of small denomination of notes is done through mobile banking vans and Banking Correspondents (BCs).
It has been reported that certain business houses such as hospitals, caterers, tent houses etc are not accepting cheques/demand drafts and online payment transfer from customers. It is advised that in such cases customer can make a complaint to the concerned District Magistrates/District Administration for action against such establishments, the ministry said.
The ministry said the Government of Assam has arranged mobile banking vans with support of banks and state government staff at certain hospitals for carrying out emergency banking transactions. All banks have now been advised to arrange mobile banking vans to the extent possible at major hospitals to carry out emergency banking transaction for patients.
Moreover, the banks have been advised to make arrangements for separate queues for senior citizens and Divyangs. Separate queues will also be arranged for exchange of cash to cash and transactions against bank accounts.
The Government of Arunachal Pradesh has made special arrangements like cash deposits /withdrawal and opening of new bank accounts in the remotely located areas with the help of banks and state government staff, said the ministry, adding that the state governments have been requested to facilitate opening of new bank accounts as a part of financial inclusion programme.
The Finance Ministry said the issuance of the Rs. 500 notes has already commenced.