Former State Bank of India (SBI) chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said that during demonetisation the bank had just 36-hour window to make new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes available at all its 22,000 branches along with 10,000 postal outlets. She recalled how the first thing that struck her mind was ‘where these notes were’.
Speaking at an award function, Arundhati Bhattacharya said that on the day of demonetisation, banks were informed at 8 pm in the evening. While the next day was a holiday, the banks were asked to be ready with new notes by next day at 10 am, giving only a duration of 36 hours. “And that point of time, I did not even know where the notes were,” she said.
The former chief of India’s largest-lender bank said that they knew that the new notes were in the currency chests but people who were in charge of these currency chests had signed a non-disclosure agreement and the bank management had no information about it. “So if you put all of it together, getting notes out in a space of 36 hours was a task beyond any kind of human logic or planning but we got it done,” The Indian Express quoted her as saying.
On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a television address to the nation announced demonetisation banning high-currency notes from circulation. In the 50-day duration until December 30, people of the country were asked to deposit their old notes in registered bank and post-office branches.
The old Rs 500 and RS 1,000 notes were replaced by new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes. Arundhati Bhattacharya, who was appointed in 2013 was bank’s first female chairperson. She got one-year extension in October 2016 until October 2017. After her tenure was over, managing director with the bank Rajnish Kumar was appointed the new Chairman for three years.