PM Modi announced yesterday night that the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes would be effective immediately from the midnight of November 8. This move that is being called a ‘ Surgical Strike on Corruption’ is a necessary step in India’s fight against corruption.
In 2014, the PM first announced the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into black money being stashes in India and abroad. In 2015, the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) Act was established. While the above mentioned took care of black money abroad, it failed to do anything domestically. The Income Declaration Scheme of the Income Tax Department gave a final chance for people to come clean this year, and the PM hinted at the extreme steps he would have to take if that failed. “No one should blame me if I take tough decisions after the 30th of September,” he said.
Back then, the PM said, “We have made requisite legal changes so that the black money circulating inside the country can also be curbed. There’s a scheme which is running till the 30th of September. For all those who are still willing to come in the mainstream. I have said this in public that 30th of September is your last date. You may have made mistakes with whatever intentions. Whether it has been done willingly or unwillingly, here is your chance. Come into the mainstream. I have this plan for people to sleep peacefully at night. People must accept this. And no one should blame me if I take tough decisions after the 30th. This money belongs to the country’s poor. No one has the right to loot this. This is my commitment. I am working with full force and will continue the effort.”
And as we all know, yesterday, he brought out the big guns.
Here’s some FAQs answered for your convenience:
Why was this step taken?
Fake Indian currency notes in a higher denomination have increased and are being used for illegal activities. In order to keep a check on them, a withdraw has been announced.
Till when are the banks and ATMs shut down?
The banks and ATMs are shut down till today. Some banks will remain shut tomorrow also. This is so that they can be stocked with the new Rs 500 & Rs 2000 notes the RBI has printed.
Till when can I exchange the old higher denomination notes for new?
They can be exchanged at banks and post offices till Dec 30.
How much money can I exchange?
Rs 4000 worth of old notes can be exchanged with proof of identity. A maximum value of Rs 50,000 can be deposited in bank accounts. The cap of Rs 4000 will be reviewed after 15 days and the amount can be increased or lowered.
How much cash can I withdraw from my bank account after?
Cash withdrawal from the bank account and over the counter is restricted to Rs 10,000 with the limit of Rs 20,000 in a week for the first fortnight, till Nov 24.
How much cash can I withdraw from ATMs?
Cash withdrawal from ATMs is restricted to Rs 2000 per day per card till Nov 18. It will be raised to Rs 4000 per day from Nov 19 till the foreseeable future.
Can the old denomination notes be exchanged only in my bank branch?
For exchange upto Rs 4000, you can go to any bank with identity proof. You can go to any branch of your bank though.
What should I do if I’m an NRI or I’m not in India?
If your old higher denominations notes are in India and you’re out of the country, you may give a written consent enabling another person to deposit in your lieu. If you’re an NRI you can deposit it in your NRO account.
Is there a helpline?
You can mail RBI at p[email protected] or call them on 022 22602201/022 22602944.
In case you missed it, read PM Modi’s speech here or watch it here.