NEW DELHI: “The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has enough new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes to last even beyond December 30,” said finance minister Arun Jaitleytoday, as he sought to provide reassurances following additional new regulations on currency deposits announced yesterday.

The new regulations announced yesterday said that people can now only deposit Rs 5,000+ in scrapped notes and even that, they can do only once until December 30. Further, the RBI said that those depositing more than Rs 5,000 in scrapped currency notes will be scrutinised and questioned+ .

Today, Jaitley said anyone going more than once “raises suspicion”. But that didn’t answer the questions most people are asking.

What about people who still haven’t deposited any old currency, have more than Rs 5,000 and were waiting perhaps for queues at banks to get shorter? Why would they be questioned?

After all, the Centre initially – when announcing demonetisation on November 8 – allowed the deposit of old currency notes totaling any amount – with a few restrictions – until December 30.

There was no answer to that from the finance minister.

 

“Whoever has old currency must go and deposit it in one go, if somebody goes everyday it raises suspicion, since exemptions have been lifted, whoever has old currency must deposit it in one go,” was all Jaitley said. The exemption he’s referring to is the centre allowing old notes to be used for certain public utilities.

Jaitley also dismissed talk that the RBI wasn’t prepared for demonetisation, that there are long queues and shortages of new currency.

“The RBI was adequately prepared for demonetisation. There has been no day when RBI did not dispense adequate cash to banks has enough currency stocks that will last beyond December 30. Even today, RBI has more than adequate cash to last not just till December 30 but even more,” Jaitley said.

The minister also called the cashless economy move “a tax incentive to support digitisation of economy.” He didn’t however explain what that means.

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