Money & Banking

Bank union urges Centre’s intervention to improve availability of currency

V. Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 15, 2016

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The Bank Employees’ Federation of India has sought the immediate intervention of the Centre in ensuring the availability of adequate currency.

Until such time that new notes are adequately available, the facility to use the old notes should be extended, the 12th state conference of BEFI told the government.

T. Narendran, the newly elected president of BEFI, said the Centre had undertaken the currency reform without proper homework on the consequences of taking back from the financial system 86 per cent of the total value of currencies without ensuring availability of alternate currencies.

Quoting RBI data on March 30, he said the total value of currency in circulation in India is ₹16.42 lakh crore. Of this, the total value of ₹500 and ₹1,000 currencies is ₹14.18 lakh crore, which is 86 per cent of the total currency in circulation. With the withdrawal of ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes, only 14 per cent of the total value of currencies (in denominations of Rs 5,10,20,50 and 100) is available in the economy.

Since adequate precautions were not taken, the banks were unable to fulfil the needs of the people. It is the bank employees who are bearing the brunt and the situation has created an unnecessary division between the people and bank workers, he said.

Transactions using the new ₹2000 currency are hampered by the lack of small denomination notes needed to return the balance amount after each transaction. This has brought financial transactions to a grinding halt, he added.

Disputing the government's claim that the cancellation of the currency would wipe out fake currencies and black money, Narendran said it had only multiplied the misery of the people.

He alleged that privatisation and pro-rich steps initiated in the banking sector were the reason for the current problems. Even though people were assured that they could withdraw money from ATMs from November 10, they could not draw money from machines manned by private contractor agencies. Thus, the un-declared financial emergency exposed the total failure of the government in making currency available and managing the financial system, he said.

Published on November 15, 2016

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