Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Taking stock of the situation arising after demonetisation operation announced by the government on Tuesday, Finance Minister assured public that common man's money is safe in the banking system, and recalibration of ATMs in advance was not possible considering the secrecy of the entire operation.
The government, in its fight against black money, on Tuesday evening had announced that the currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denominations will no more be legal tender from midnight.
The Finance Ministry, on Friday, extended the use of old 500 and 1000-rupee notes for paying utility bills, fuel, Rail and air ticket booking etc. by another 72 hours to November 14.
The earlier time limit was set to expire at midnight On November 11. The government has also asked all states to provide security to banks, post offices and ATMs amid a scramble for cash three days after the government's announcement on demonetisation.
Finance Minister said that the recalibration of ATMs will take about two to three weeks time. He said that around 2 lakh ATMs could not be recalibrated to the requirements of the new notes, due to secrecy of the mission. The old machines were recalibrated only for dispensing Rs 100, old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.
"Recallibration takes about two weeks time. These machines are gradually being recalibrated, so it is going to take some more time", added Jaitley.
Jaitley said that it was expected that such large currency replacement will not be a mechanical exercise, problems like these were foreseen. He disclosed that SBI alone collected Rs 2 crore 28 lakh in deposits till Saturday noon. The entire banking industyr's transactions can be estimated to be 2-5 times that of SBI's transactions.
"The rush in currency replacement is more than in any other banking operation", added Jaitley. As the old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes go out of circulation, it is estimated that about 86% part of the currency, which is around Rs 14 lakh crore will need to be replaced" said the Finance Minister.
There is sufficient cash in the banking system. He said that the RBI has 4,000 treasury chests across the country with enough cash loaded.
Your money is safe in the banking system. Anyone who uses online transactions and plastic money, the life will be smoother, added Jaitley
On the safety features of the new notes coming into the banking system, Jaitley added that the new notes have better security features. "If someone is intent on tampering with security features, that is a different aspect altogether". He further added that the news of a chip in the Rs 2000 notes and government's expected action on digital lockers, are all concocted rumours.
On the reports of raid on jewellers, he said that stock details have been sought from jewellers on reports of dealings in defunct currency. He added that government will not allow any illegal transaction in bullion.
In short term, there will be some disruption cost to the economy; once currency is available the advantages will be far more, said the Finance Minister.