With more than nine crore people dealt by banks in the past three days after demonitisation of `500 and `1,000 notes, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday called for patience, saying it will take two-three weeks for two lakh ATMs to be able to dispense high-value notes because of technology recalibration. He appealed to crowds to stop crowding banks for depositing cash, as there is ample time to do so till December-end.
“After demonitisation, the State Bank of India has undertaken 2.28 crore transactions and total banking transactions could be four-five times of that (over 9 crore),” Jaitley said, after a stock-taking meeting with heads of large bank. In three days up to 12.15 pm on Saturday, monetary transactions in SBI totalled `54,370 crore, with cash deposits at about `47,868 crore.
With SBI share in banking business at about 20-25%, total cash transactions in the banking industry could be around R2 lakh crore during this period, Jaitley said. Lashing out at the Congress’ statement on why they should stand in queue for their own money, the FM said the people and government have a right to know whether taxes have been paid or not even on one’s own income. Similarly, junking speculation that a spike in bank deposits meant a leak of the demonetisation move in advance, he said a slight increase in September was due to release of Seventh Pay Commission arrears. He appealed to people not to give any credit to speculation, including a shortage of salt.
Issuing a stern warning to the misuse of Jan Dhan accounts to turn black money into white, the minister said: “If anybody indulges in unaccounted money, the departments concerned will look into it.” There are reports that some of the over 22 crore bank accounts opened in the past two years for the unbanked population have been used to park illicit funds.