Government Takes Steps To Ensure Greater Access To Cash For The Rural Populace

Swarajya Staff

Nov 14, 2016, 04:35 PM | Updated 04:35 PM IST

Indian residents queue to try to withdraw money from an ATM in Siliguri (DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian residents queue to try to withdraw money from an ATM in Siliguri (DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)

To ensure that the rural populace get access to cash, the government has increased the currency limits of banking correspondents, allowed them multiple visits to banks and disbursed more money through branch post offices.

Following a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday evening (13 November), Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said on Monday (14 November) that the recalibration of ATMs to disburse higher denomination notes had also started, and will be heightened.

In addition, the daily withdrawal limit from ATMs has now been hiked to Rs 2,500 from Rs 2,000 and exchange of old notes from bank counters to Rs 4,500 from Rs 4,000. Das said there were 1,20,000 banking correspondents and more than 1,30,000 branch post offices in the country. So, 2,50,000 of these, mostly in rural areas, will be able to disburse more cash.

Das also said the upper limit for weekly withdrawals from bank accounts has been raised to Rs 24,000 from Rs 20,000. The meeting also decided to constitute a task force under Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to keep a real-time watch and monitor the distribution of cash through various channels and take necessary action in a timely manner.

This apart, the RBI, Das said, has already assured the Prime Minister that there was enough cash in the financial system and that distribution was the main challenge, which was being addressed.

Additionally, a large number of micro-ATMs will be deployed to help people withdraw cash through debit cards. To mitigate their hardship, the RBI has started distributing high-security Rs 500 notes from yesterday.

Other steps initiated include separate queues for senior citizens, the physically challenged and for those who want to exchange demonetised notes, waiver of all banking and transaction charges and extending the use of old notes at petrol stations, pharmacies and utilities till 24 November.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.