BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has lashed out at the government’s poor planning and execution of the demonetisation drive and the subsequent currency chaos that has engulfed India.
Swamy, also a member of BJP’s national executive, told the South China Morning Post daily that he was “appalled by the lack of preparation” in this regard by Finance Ministry.
“It is easy to argue that the ministry was not in the loop, but that is no excuse for not having a contingency plan,” he was quoted by SCMP.
“Ad hoc roadside kiosks should have been set up for all and special kiosks organised for senior citizens. All these should have been planned as part of a contingency plan,” Swamy said in Hong Kong, where he will give a talk on the anti-corruption efforts in India at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said in a press briefing that ATMs had not been recalibrated and that it would take up to 3 weeks for all the 2 lakh teller machines in India to start dispensing the new currency notes.
Jaitley estimated that it would take 21 days to recalibrate all the 2 lakh ATMs in the country so that they are able to dispense the new bank notes.
That was little consolation for people queuing up outside banks and ATMs on Sunday amid heavy crowds and serpentine queues. A bank holiday on Monday in some parts of the country has added to the desperation of people who are running out of lower denomination notes for meeting day to day expenses. People lining up outside ATMs on Saturday night and Sunday morning have not been able to withdraw money because the ATMs are shut or have run out of cash.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked Indians to put up with the inconvenience of demonetization for 50 days, or until December 30, in a speech in Goa.
The Prime Minister in a televised announcement on November 8 said that 500 and 1,000 rupee notes would cease to be legal tender from midnight that night. He also said that ATMs would be shut for the next 2 days and would start working on November 11.
But 3 days later, there is a severe shortage of 100 rupee notes (which are still legal tender). Cash is drying up fast at ATMs, which are witnessing unprecedented queues, while serpentine queues outside bank branches mean that a lot of people are coming away disappointed.
A cap of Rs. 4,000 has been imposed on withdrawals from bank branches while ATM withdrawals ave been limited to Rs. 2,000 per card per day till November 18, after which it will be raised to Rs. 4,000.