In a respite to farmers, govt outlets to accept Rs 500 note for seeds sale

SansadTV Bureau

Further easing norms for cash-strapped farmers, the Finance Ministry today permitted them to use old Rs 500 notes for purchasing seeds from any state or central government outlets and agri universities.

Farmers can purchase seeds from the centres, units or outlets belonging to the central or state governments, public sector undertakings, national or state seeds corporations, central or state agricultural universities and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), on production of proof of identity, the finance ministry said in a statement

This is in addition to the decision taken earlier for making cash available with the farmers by permitting them to draw up to Rs 25,000 per week from their KYC compliant accounts subject to the normal loan limits and conditions apart from the other facilities announced last week.

People stand in a long queue to withdraw money at an ATM in Allahabad  Photo-PTI

People stand in a long queue to withdraw money at an ATM in Allahabad
Photo-PTI

Besides, the government has also extended the deadline for payment of crop insurance premium by 15 days and permitted APMC-registered traders to withdraw up to Rs 50,000 per week.

Meanwhile chaos and rush at banks eased but the situation did not quite improve at ATMs as people were still seen waiting in long queues to withdraw valid currency notes.

There have been reports coming from different parts of the country about people being frustrated with shortage of cash at branches, leading to scuffle with bank staff and rioting at some branches.

Besides, those having wedding in their families are still not able to withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh from their accounts, even after the relaxation announced by the Centre five days ago.

Banks said they have not yet received operational guidelines from the RBI in this regard.

Senior citizens stand in a queue at a bank to exchange old notes as banks will cater to only senior citizens in Mirzapur  Photo-PTi

Senior citizens stand in a queue at a bank to exchange old notes as banks will cater to only senior citizens in Mirzapur
Photo-PTi

People are visiting their branches with gazette notification that talks of relaxation being provided to farmers and for marriage, but to no avail.

“Withdrawal for marriage purpose can be availed only after RBI’s notification, which will have clear direction about the various formalities needed to be furnished by the customers for withdrawal,” said a senior public sector bank official.

To screen repeat customers, banks at many places have started using ink mark on fingers of people who are exchanging old notes.

Besides, the government last week also reduced the exchange limit of old defunct notes to Rs 2,000 from the earlier Rs 4,500.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on November 8 surprised citizens by announcing demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes and since then large number of seemingly unending queues before banks and post offices are seen in order to exchange these currencies.