Seeking to allay concerns about the legal tender status of ₹2,000 currency notes after the September 30 deadline for their exchange or deposit, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das stressed on May 22 there is no need to rush to the banks and signalled the last date is only meant to nudge people to return the notes soon.
Speaking in the capital, Mr. Das said a time limit had been specified along with the May 19 decision to withdraw the ₹2,000 notes from circulation just to ensure that the “announcement is taken seriously” and assured that there were adequate currency stocks with the banking system to replace these notes.
While banks have been advised to make suitable arrangements for people to exchange their ₹2,000 notes, Mr. Das indicated he did not expect the kind of rush in bank branches that was seen in 2016 after the previous ₹500 and ₹1,000 currencies were scrapped.
“I will appeal to people there is no need to rush to the banks — four months’ time has been given. You can do it anytime that it suits you. By September 30, please exchange it,” the RBI chief pleaded, emphasising that not setting a deadline would have made the process open-ended and “endless”.
“Let me assure you, we have more than adequate quantities of notes available already printed in the system… not just with the RBI, but also at the currency chests operated by banks. There is adequate stock available and there is no reason to worry whatsoever,” Mr. Das assured.
Earlier in the day, the central bank directed all banks to ensure that the over-the-counter exchange facility for the high-denomination notes is provided to the public, as was being done in the past. The regulator also advised banks to provide appropriate infrastructure at their branches such as a shaded waiting space and drinking water facilities for people as the exercise is being conducted in the summer season.
“Banks shall maintain daily data on deposit and exchange of ₹2,000 banknotes in a format which includes the bank’s name, date, amount of ₹2,000 notes exchanged, amount of ₹2,000 notes deposited, and total amount received and submit the same as and when called for,” the RBI circular to lenders said.