New Delhi: Reserve Bank of India’s latest announcement of curbs on deposits over Rs 5000 is drawing flack from all the sides. There was confusion as the government itself had been urging people not to rush to change demonetized notes and wait till the queues outside banks became smaller. Now as things were as complicated as on the day 1 of notebandi, the RBI’s latest directive has baffled almost everyone.
To further confuse the common people, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, immediately after the announcement told reporters that any amount of old currency can be deposited in banks in one go and no one will ask any question. He went on to add that the money can be deposited only in one go.
The most worrisome aspect of the RBI’s directive was the fact that any amount above Rs 5000 in 500 and 1,000 rupee notes can be deposited till December 30 after explaining to bank officials the reasons for not having done it earlier.
Jaitley who faced a volley of questions from media on government flip flop said, “Whoever has old currency must go and deposit it in one go. If somebody goes every day, it raises suspicion. Since exemptions have been lifted, whoever has old currency must deposit it in one go”.
A bank manager while talking to a news agency said that people will have to answer as to why they didn’t deposit the money in their accounts till now. “We only need a reason from you. This move is to thwart those candidates who are depositing money on behalf of others and have been frequenting banks for this purpose,” the manager said.
The issue reached the Supreme Court on Tuesday with Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh urging it to put on hold the latest RBI order. Amarinder Singh urged the apex court to treat his petition as a public interest litigation as the government was causing havoc with changing rules daily. People were facing immense hardship due to the currency ban, he said.
Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram lashed out at a “desperate government resorting to desperate measures” and said the new cap on deposits left the “poor and middle class high and dry”. “RBI makes new rules on deposit, FM (Finance Minister) contradicts. Who should citizen believe? Neither has credibility,” Chidambaram tweeted.
Meanwhile Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the “Reserve Bank of India was changing rules like the PM changes his clothes”. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) dubbed the curbs “whimsical and anti-people” and demanded its immediate retraction and also other restrictions on using and depositing the old tender until alternative arrangements were made.
In a press release the CPI-M said, “In fact, the latest order is because almost all the notes taken out of circulation have come back into the banking system exposing the fraudulent claims that black money will be eliminated”. It said the government was making the life of common people, especially farmers, “miserable by the latest restrictions”. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the nation had got “a weak” Prime Minister who changes his decision every other day. AAP leader Ashutosh said since the demonetisation was announced, the government had issued a total of 59 notifications, changing the rules to exchange or deposit old notes.
The AAP leader said “I feel that under no other Prime Minister the government has changed its decisions so many times so quickly…The nation needed a strong Prime Minister. But what we have got instead is a weak Prime Minister who is so confused that he changes his decisions every day.”