50 days on, cash crunch, queues continue
Queues at banks and ATM kiosks are shrinking and digital payment modes are spreading, but the 50 days of pain from the shock recall of two high-value banknotes is set to linger into the new year, experts warned on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after announcing the demonetisation drive on November 8, had cautioned that people would face temporary hardship and sought their cooperation: “...help me for
50 days and I will give you the India you desired”.
But don’t expect to wake up on Thursday, the 51st day of the announcement, for the situation to be back to pre-demonetisation
times, said experts and bank officials. “Though the situation has improved, the cash crunch will continue for some more time ... it is expected to normalise in the second half of January,” said Soumya Kanti Ghosh, the chief economic adviser of the State Bank of India.
Even then, the normality is expected to return incrementally as limits on cash withdrawal could continue till banks are comfortable with lifting the restrictions.
The government promised to restore normality by December 30, when a deadline to deposit defunct notes expires. But uncertainty and confusion continues even 50 days after 500- and 1,000rupee notes were scrapped in an attempt to curb tax evasion and counterfeiting.