Under attack from opposition politicians and currency hoarders over the delay in replacing discarded Rs1,000 and Rs500 currency notes with new legal tender, the finance ministry on Thursday raised cash withdrawal limit for the needy even as it reduced the cash exchange limit for discarded notes.
While finance minister Arun jaitley asserted that there is no going back on the demonetisation move, the government has been taking corrective measures based on feedback from the public to ease inconvenience face by the common man.
Easing transaction norms for the third time since Modi announced his decision on 8 November, the finance ministry relaxed cash withdrawal provisions for the farm sector and those in the midst of wedding preparations.
The government has also allowed dispensing cash of up to Rs2,000 through debit card swipe at select petrol pumps from Friday. The facility will be available at 2,500 petrol pumps.
"It has been decided that an amount of up to Rs2,000 per day per person in cash can be dispensed against swiping of debit card from select petrol pumps where POS machines of SBI are already available," an official said.
POS machines are the machines which are generally used for debit or credit card transactions.
With the demonetisation creating hardships in the middle of marriage and sowing seasons, government has allowed witdrawals up to Rs 2.5 lakh for weddings and up to Rs 50,000 for farmers but more than halved the limit of exchange of defunct notes to Rs 2,000.
Farmers would now be permitted to draw up to Rs25,000 per week in cash from their KYC compliant accounts. These cash withdrawals would be subject to the normal loan limits and conditions. This facility will also apply to the Kisan Credit Cards (KCC).
Farmers are currently selling their produce from the Kharif season in the APMC markets and mandis. The farmers who receive such payments in their bank accounts through cheque or RTGS will be permitted to draw up to Rs25,000 per week in cash. These accounts will have to be KYC compliant. This facility will enable the farmers to meet their various expenses connected with agriculture. This will also infuse lot of liquidity into the rural sector.
Traders registered with APMC markets and mandis will be permitted to draw up to Rs50,000 per week in cash from their KYC compliant accounts as in the case of business entities. This will enable these traders to pay wages and facilitate easy loading, unloading and other activities at the mandis.
For payment of crop insurance premium, states fix time limits depending on their local requirements and conditions. Consequently, the last date for payment expires on different dates. It has now been decided to extend the last date for payment of crop insurance premium by 15 days.
While encouraging families to incur wedding expenses through cheques or digital means, it has been decided to permit families celebrating weddings to draw up to 2,50,000 in cash from their own bank accounts. These accounts have to be necessarily KYC compliant.
The amounts can be drawn only by either of the parents or the person getting married. Only one of them will be permitted to draw this amount. This limit of Rs2,50,000 will apply separately to the girl's family and the boy's family. The person drawing such amount has to furnish the PAN details.
Further, a self-declaration will have to be submitted by the person to the effect that only one person from his/her family is drawing the amount. It is expected that members of the public will fully cooperate to ensure that the above guidelines are adhered to. Any misuse of this facility will invite appropriate action based on the self-declaration and other details.
The government, however, reduced the amount of old current that can be exchanged against new legal tender to Rs2,000 per person, to enable more members of the public to avail of the facility.
The facility can be availed by a person only once and banks have been advised to discourage organised gangs engaged in the note exchange racket by all means.
At the same time, people can deposit any amount in their accounts instead of getting these exchanged over the counter and then withdraw money at their convenience.