India in Chaos as Citizens Scramble to Deposit Discontinued Banknotes

People in India have been forming long lines outside banks to deposit discontinued cash before the December 30 deadline, but thousands are still trying to exchange old bank notes for new currency.

Hoping to curb corruption and tax evasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8 that 500 and 1,000 rupee notes will no longer be legal. Since then, banks have witnessed desperate lines forming outside their premises and in front of ATMs.

The discontinued banknotes represent 86% of India’s currency circulation, BBC wrote.

With 40% of cash dispensers empty, many failed to withdraw new notes that supposedly replaced the amount they deposited.

In addition, India’s central bank has not completed printing new notes, resulting in a currency shortage, The Independent said.

However, the Reserve Bank of India introduced an exchange facility for Indian citizens and non-resident Indians (NRIs) who were out of the country between November 9 and December 30, 2016.

According to The Hindu Business Line, resident Indians who were abroad for the duration can access the facility until March 31, 2017. Non-resident Indians, on the other hand, can do so until June 30, 2017.

The facility, which opened on Monday, is available through Reserve Bank offices at Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nagpur and New Delhi. Indian citizens residing in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan cannot use the service.

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