Banks are expected to face a spike in demand for cash on the first pay day since notes ban.
New Delhi: On the first Pay Day since the notes ban announcement, crowds formed outside banks of people desperate for cash to buy grocery or pay helps. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has assured the government that it is ready for higher withdrawals of cash, but many banks told people on Thursday morning that they had run out of cash. RBI has said it will increase cash supply till December 7 to meet the massive demand. All government presses are printing the new 500-rupee note, the central bank has told the Finance Ministry, sources said.
Bank unions have demanded that the RBI increase the supply of notes to meet increasing demand for money.
People can withdraw up to Rs 24,000 per week from banks and Rs 2,500 from ATMs a day, but most banks have said they need to ration the withdrawals as there is not enough money.
In Delhi, people waited for two hours outside a bank only to be told, when the branch opened, that there is no cash. Expecting angry customers, bank employees have suggested police protection in the next few days.
The State Bank of India, India's largest public sector bank, has said it is ready for the cash rush, admitting that the situation is "not normal" yet.
"That it is an absolutely normal situation is a statement I can't make. We are getting supply wherever we are telling them there is a shortage, they are making efforts," SBI Managing Director Rajnish Kumar told NDTV.
Mr Kumar said of the Rs 14 lakh crore banned cash, almost Rs 2 lakh crore has been pumped back into the system.
"We are very much prepared...For the last 20 days, we have been working at 100% capacity," Mr Kumar told NDTV, adding that arrangements had been made for orderly handling of queues, seating and even serving water.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi 's sudden announcement of a ban on 500 and 1,000-rupee notes to choke tax evaders took 86 per cent of the money out of circulation in one go, resulting in a massive cash crunch. The government has promised that the situation is temporary and will ease soon.
Opposition parties have accused the government of being poorly prepared to handle the impact of the currency ban, which they allege has punished the poor instead of the corrupt as was intended.