Anx­ious In­di­ans swap banned ban­knotes

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Peo­ple are queu­ing up out­side banks across India to ex­change 500 and 1,000 ru­pee notes af­ter they were with­drawn as part of anti-cor­rup­tion mea­sures.

In­di­ans will be able to ex­change their old notes, which stopped be­ing le­gal ten­der at mid­night on Tues­day, for new ones at banks un­til 30 December.

The sur­prise move is part of a gov­ern­ment crack­down on cor­rup­tion and il­le­gal cash hold­ings.

Banks were shut on Wed­nes­day to al­low them enough time to stock new notes.

There are also lim­its on cash with­drawals from ATMs.

There have been chaotic scenes out­side many banks.

The banned cur­rency notes rep­re­sent 85% of the cash in cir­cu­la­tion in India, which is an over­whelm­ingly cash-based econ­omy.

Mean­while, In­dian so­cial me­dia has been talk­ing of lit­tle else.

The top trend on Twit­ter India has been #CashCleanUp with tweets rang­ing from the frus­trated to the hu­mor­ous, as many In­di­ans came to terms with the fact that much of their day would be spent in queues.

New 2,000 (about $30) and 500 ru­pee de­nom­i­na­tion notes to re­place those re­moved from cir­cu­la­tion will be in­jected into the econ­omy over the next “three to four weeks”, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley has said.

The move is de­signed to lock out money that is un­ac­counted for - known as “black money” which may have been ac­quired cor­ruptly, or is be­ing with­held from the tax au­thor­i­ties.

Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Shak­tikant Das warned peo­ple with large amounts of hid­den cash that banks would closely mon­i­tor the ex­change of ol notes for new dones.

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