50 days on, cash crunch, queues con­tinue

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Mahua Venkatesh and Suchetana Ray let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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