Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In a major relief for the common man, all banks across the country will remain open on this Saturday and Sunday for the conveniences of the customers even as banks and post offices will start giving out high denomination replacement notes from Thursday.
The government on Wednesday sought to assuage anxious public saying banks and post offices would start giving out high denomination replacement notes from Thursday even as it expanded the list of exempt public utilities.
It also ordered banks to remain open full day on Saturday and Sunday to deal with the rush of people wanting to deposit the defunct currency bills.
Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das also said in a tweet, "For public convenience, banks will remain open on coming Saturday and Sunday." (sic)
For public convenience, Banks will remain open on coming Saturday and Sunday.
— Shaktikanta Das (@DasShaktikanta) November 9, 2016
As per the normal schedule, the coming Saturday being the second would have been an holiday, but keeping in view the expected rush at the branches, it was decided otherwise.
There are about 149 scheduled commercial banks, including 56 regional rural banks, with branch network of about 1.30 lakh across the country. Besides, the co-operative banks have also been asked to take deposit and exchange the old with the new one.
It is, however, not clear whether post offices would be open or not on the weekend. There are about 1.25 lakh post offices across the country.
In the aftermath of the government demonetising the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, banks have anticipated panic and rush thereby coming up with the solution of opening for longer hours.
While all banks will be open this Saturday and Sunday, most banks have also open up extra counters while ensuring sufficient Rs 100 notes in ATMs.
"In order to meet the anticipated heavy demand from members of the public to conduct their banking transactions, it has been decided that banks shall remain open for public transactions on Saturday, November 12, and Sunday, November 13, 2016," RBI said in a statement.
As per reports, the banks will also be open on November 10 and 10 till 7 pm.
Usha Ananthasubramanian, MD and CEO of Punjab National Bank told a new channel that banks would be open this Saturday and Sunday while it would be open till 7 pm on November 10 and 11.
The nation's leading lender State Bank of India on Thursday said it was opening more counters to help customers while ensuring that its ATMs had sufficient Rs 100 notes.
Meanwhile, new bank notes will also be available in banks and post offices from Thursday.
"Through RBI's currency chest, adequate currency is (being) provided in all banks and post offices. But it would require 2-3 weeks for full adequate replacement. It would begin tomorrow morning," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters.
As for withdrawal limit, Jaitley said the Rs 2,000 a day from ATM per card and Rs 10,000 through bank account on a day and Rs 20,000 in a week, will continue for some time.
The new hard-to-fake Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes will be available at bank ATMs when they start operating again from Friday, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said on Wednesday.
Declaring war on black money, PM Modi on Tuesday scrapped the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and stated they will not longer be legal tender from Wednesday.
This move of the government created panic among the common man who throng ATMs last night either to withdraw Rs 100 notes.
The government also announced that customers could return the notes to bank for exchange till December 30.
With PTI Inputs