The government ruled out on Thursday any rollback of a sudden recall of high-value banknotes, saying that the rush of frenzied customers at banks had steadily decreased over the past few days.
In an interview to ANI, finance minister Arun Jaitley said there was no shortage of currency in the country to deal with the millions lined up outside banks and ATMs to withdraw, deposit or exchange old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 withdrawn last week.
“There is a great regret that some people were inconvenienced. But the larger object of interest is to squeeze the quantum of currency,” he said, lauding banks for “bringing down the rush”. “ATMs are being recalibrated on a war footing.”
People wait outside a bank in New Delhi to withdraw cash and exchange demonetised banknotes.
(Ravi Choudhary/HT Photo)
The government said it had to withdraw currency that promotes black money, counterfeit notes and crime and finally promote digital transactions.
He also hit out at chief ministers and leaders “spreading panic” – a possible reference to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her Delhi counterpart, Arvind Kejriwal, who have threatened a public revolt
if the demonetisation move isn’t withdrawn in three days.
“Most chief ministers across the country have not only supported this but used their apparatus to support this. I appreciate this.”
He attacked the Congress for allegedly comparing the demonetisation move to the Uri terror attack, asking “vested interest” the opposition party had in blocking a move to root out black money.
“Congress as a national party must support it instead of obstructing and then comparing it with Pakistan terrorism is irresponsible.”