Panic on decline; Rs50, Rs20 notes in ATMs soon: SBI chief

15 November 2016

State Bank of India (SBI) chairperson Arundhatti Bhattacharya today maintained that the panic among people is on the decline following a constant flow of cash at banks, and said the bank will soon start dispensing Rs50 and Rs20 currency notes to further help the public.

The head of India's largest lender told ANI that in all of their branches in the southern states, the workload has dropped to almost 50 per cent, which is a sure sign that people are assured that they will receive the money at their own convenience.

However, talking about the inconvenience caused to the public with ATMs running out of cash faster than expected, Bhattacharya added that ATMs are emptying out fast because they have a fixed space for notes of Rs100 and also the dimension of the new notes has changed, adding that the holding capacity in the ATM is limited.

"But what takes the most time is manual recalibration. A person has to come and physically add the money when it runs out. We hope and are trying that we can sort this problem by end of November. And if the chaos subsides by then, then we will also start dispensing Rs50 and Rs20 notes in the coming days," she said.

Meanwhile, the government has set up a special task force headed by a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India to make ATMs fully functional, who will work with different banks in this direction.

Addressing the media in New Delhi about Prime Minister's meeting on Sunday to review the demonetisation and its impact, economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das said on Monday that the ATM recalibration has started and some of the ATMs will start dispensing higher denominations, including Rs2,000 rupee notes, from today or tomorrow.

The ATM withdrawal limit has also been raised to Rs2,500; however it will be disbursed only by the re-calibrated ATMs.

Toll tax on national highways will not be collected till the midnight of 18 November to ensure smooth traffic movement.

On Sunday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting at his residence with senior ministers to review demonetisation and its impact.

The meeting was attended by home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, information and broadcasting minister Venkaiah Naidu, power, coal and mines Minister Piyush Goyal and top officials of the finance ministry.

After a review by the finance ministry, the limit of old Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes that can be exchanged for fresh Rs2,000 and Rs500 notes was increased from Rs4,000 rupees to Rs4,500 per day.

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