Economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das today said initially the focus was on printing Rs 2,000 notes and now the focus has been shifted to Rs 500 as there is enough of former now. He also estimated that in another 10 days about 50 percent of the value of notes demonetised will be replaced.
He also said the enforcement agencies are conducting surgical action of cash hoarders referring to the increasing income tax raids on various individuals and bank branches. He, however, did not give out details as to how much the government has been able to receive through these actions.
He said the seized Rs 2000 notes will be returned to the system as soon as possible. There have been criticism that while common man is finding it difficult to get hold of new currency notes, many rich and wealthy people have been able to hoard the new notes.
Das said of the 2.2 lakh bank ATMs, over 2 lakh ATMs have already been re-calibrated. But banks prefer to supply cash via branches than ATMs as they want to serve their own customers. “We have requested the banks to continue dispensing cash via ATMs,” he said.
He said the total number of notes in lower denominations of Rs 100 and below supplied in the last 5 weeks of demonetisation is three-fold higher thatn what the RBI supplies in a year.
On 8 November about Rs 1.6 lakh crore of Rs 100 crore notes were in circulation by value. The RBI has now supplied about Rs 80,000 crore worth additional Rs 100 notes supplied into the market.
Also he said the government is taking steps to streamline the distribution of cash. Towards this objective, district coordinators of statel level banking committees are being asked to coordinate with the currency chests. They will ensure that the cash from the currency chests are being equitably distributed all banks. This will also avoid criss-cross movements.
Airlifting of notes is being done where ever necessary, he said.
The banks have been told to tighten their surveillance and vigilance mechanism to keep a check on the hoarders.
The income tax raids and other actions taken by enforcement agencies are based on specific inputs. “You may call in surgical action,” he said.