In country's biggest crackdown on black money, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement on Tuesday night that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes will be discontinued. However, in his televised address to the nation, Modi assured the common people that their money remains safe.
PM Modi also announced that there will be a 50-day window from November 10 to December 30 during which people can deposit old notes in their bank and post office accounts to have them exchanged with the new currency. The new currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2000 denomination with a completely new makeover will be introduced and will be circulated from November 10.
Read: What was on PM Narendra Modi's mind before announcing ban on Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes?
It’s been more than 36 hours now since PM Modi made this big announcement, which shifted the focus of the entire nation from the crucial US presidential election results to war against black money. Here is how what all happened and how India reacted to the Centre’s decision:
Banks to remain open on Saturday and Sunday
Fearing a jump in footfalls to deposit or withdraw cash following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1,000 banknotes, banks will remain open this Saturday and Sunday and its staff will do overtime till 9pm for the next three days to clear the rush.
Banks have also announced a slew of measures, including extension of banking hours, doing away with ATM charges and expanding credit limits to handle the expected huge rush to tender now defunct Rs 500 and 1000 notes.
Woman dies of shock in UP
A middle-aged woman died allegedly of heart faliure when she came to know about the government's announcement the the banks won't accept old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. The woman reportedly came to know about the move when she reached the bank in Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar district.
Rajnath praises government's move
Home minister Rajnath Singh louded Centre's currency overhaul saying the step will benefit people in the long run. During BJP's 'Parivartan Yatra' Singh said that the move is an attack on terrorism that has left Pakistan worried.
Burnt remains of currency notes found in Bareilly
Just a day after the centre's move, Uttar Pradesh Police found sacks full of burnt notes at a place in Bareilly.
Sources said the burnt currency was brought in sacks and then dumped by workers of a company on Parsa Kheda road at CB Ganj in Bareilly. Police officials said prima facie, the notes appeared to have been cut, damaged and then burnt.
UP: Sacks full of burnt Rs 500/1000 notes found on roads in Bareilly after Govt's announces its decision to scrap Rs 500/1000 notes(9/11/16) pic.twitter.com/kYxs4vN3Ox— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) November 10, 2016
How common man reacted:
You need "56 inch ka seena" to take the step like Modi took on Rs 500 and Rs 1000.— EngiNerd. (@mainbhiengineer) November 8, 2016
Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes won't be legal tender from tonight: PM Narendra Modi... Master stroke.. RIP black money— Saleem Akhtar Aazmi (@SaleemAkhtarSam) November 8, 2016
Black Money Circulates Mostly In Rs 500 And Rs 1000 Notes. Now If They Go To Bank To Exchange To Rs 100 Notes, They'd Be Exposed.— Real Indian (@Tarun_Pachauri) November 8, 2016
Brilliant decision by @narendramodi to stop black money. Kudos to the government.— Amit Bhargava (@bhargavamit21) November 8, 2016
Panic-like situation among people
As soon as the announcement was made, there was chaos and panic-like situation among people and questions popped up in their minds - How will I get my money exchanged? Where will I get lower denomination notes? How will I meet my daily expenses?
People rushed to the nearby ATMs to withdraw Rs 100 notes to meet their daily expenses. Long queues were seen outside all the ATMs. People even tried to deposit Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in ATM vending machines.
Ahmedabad: People queue up outside ATMs after Govt scrapped currency notes of Rs 1000 & Rs 500 pic.twitter.com/dd9ksVJaAd— ANI (@ANI_news) November 8, 2016
UP: People lined up outside ATM in Lucknow after PM Narendra Modi scrapped the currency notes of Rs 1000 & Rs 500 pic.twitter.com/S15xbspj9Q— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) November 8, 2016
Bhopal: Long queue outside ATMs after Govt scrapped currency notes of Rs 1000 & Rs 500 pic.twitter.com/5kAQuPYvyz— ANI (@ANI_news) November 8, 2016
Announcement of measures brought some respite
After much chaos, things began to settle down after people learnt about the helpful measures that came along with the announcement by the government. The mood of the people become lighter when humorous messages started doing rounds on social media. WhatsApp, Facebook , Twitter and other social media platforms remained abuzz with such messages.
RBI cleared the air on note exchanges
The Reserve Bank of India held a Press Conference minutes after PM Modi’s announcement. The RBI also announced a helpline number – 22-22602201 022-22602944 – for people for any difficulties, doubts and clarifications.
Arun Jaitley’s Press Conference followed by interview to DD
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley held a Press Conference on Wednesday and defended the Govt’s move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. He said that the move will curb counterfeit and black money, while assuring that only holders of crime money will suffer and honest citizens would realise that "it pays to be honest and will have the satisfaction to be honest".
Jaitley said the decision "will expand the GDP and make (the economy) cleaner. It will push revenue and more money will come into the banking system".
Earlier, in an interview to DD, he said if the money deposited is illegal then the source will have to be disclosed and if it is crime or bribe money, it would be a trouble. He also said that people who have held black money will suffer.
What Venkaiah Naidu in his Press Conference
I&B minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said the govt’s move will help in containing inflation, and will hit the corrupt. Naidu said the “biggest setback will be for arms dealers and smugglers”.
“Unfortunately a few political parties are making political comments,” he said.
The ‘penalty scare’ for black money holders
Tightening the noose around the neck of black money holders further, the government on Wednesday warned that the cash deposited above Rs 2.5 lakh threshold in bank accounts under the 50-day window could attract tax.
Further, a 200 per cent penalty could also be levied in case the amount doesn’t match the income.
"We would be getting reports of all cash deposited during the period of November 10 to December 30, 2016, above a threshold of Rs. 2.5 lakh in every account," Revenue Secretary Hashmukh Adhia said on Wednesday night.
Congress divided over Modi govt’s decision
The Congress party on Wednesday seemed divided over the Centre's demonetise move. Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram raised questions over the Narendra Modi government’s decision to demonetise the currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. However, he maintained that the Congress party is not questioning the objective behind the decision.
“We are only questioning whether these objectives will be achieved”. “I don’t understand why Rs 2,000 notes have been introduced when Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes have been demonetised?” he said.
However, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Janardan Dwivedi, on the other hand, hailed the Modi government’s decision, saying on November 9, those who are too rich and those who are poor are almost equal.
"Dil khush hua hai masjid-e-veeran dekhkar, meri tarah khuda ka bhi khana kharab hai," he said.
AAP calls demonetisation a 'Tughlaqi Farmaan'
The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday called the Narendra Modi government’s decision to abolish Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes an autocratic announcement – ‘Tughlaqi Farmaan’, saying it will only cause inconvenience to the aam aadmi. It also said that the intention of the Narendra Modi government doesn’t seem to unearthing the black money.
“On Tuesday night Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an autocratic announcement – a Tughlaqi Farmaan - that 500 and 1000 rupee notes will stop being used as currency with immediate effect and it is being advertised as a surgical strike against black money,” the party said in a statement.
Well, two and half years after assuming office, the decision that came from PM Narendra Modi was the biggest one and contains a certain economic logic.
Now, why the government is introducing Rs 2000 notes is a question raised by many. The simple reason behind this is that if the government allowed circulation of Rs 1000 again, Pakistan would again print those notes and send them to India. As of now, Pakistan won't be able to print Rs 2000 notes.
But what about those who don’t have bank accounts? As people were not prepared for the surprise move, how will people buy essentials are some of the questions that remain unanswered.