Several banks have started implementing the new plan to apply indelible ink on finger of the right hand of customers in some metro cities to ensure one-time exchange of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes of upto Rs 4,500. As per officials, the step would prevent operators of black-money from using other people’s accounts to exchange old notes, even though the latest step in demonetisation drive of the Centre could impact those without bank accounts and have more than Rs 4,500 in old currency notes.
They told ‘The Indian Express’ that the limit of Rs 4,500 would be reviewed after November 24. Yesterday 11 branches of State Bank of India (SBI) and some branches of Bank of India, Canara Bank and the RBI’s Delhi office started using the ink on fingers of people exchanging old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
An official of Karnataka government-run Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd (MPVL), the only recognised producer of the indelible ink in the country said it had received orders for 2.9 lakh 5-ml bottles, each costing Rs 116, from several banks. Harakumar, general manager, MPVL said that some amount of ink which was available through the Election Commission and other authorities was dispatched to banks through the RBI. The company will be producing ink at the rate of 37,000 bottles per day for dispatch to banks.
However, with indelible ink not reaching most of the branches, banks looked for other ways to make sure that the same people did not exchange old currency more than once. While some banks exchanged currency against a single identity card only once, same cannot be used for the next 15 days for this purpose, the SBI’s headquarters in Tamil Nadu directed branches to use “dhobi ink”, or the ink used by washermen and women to mark clothes.