ATMs not calibrated to maintain secrecy: Jaitley

  • It will take 2-3 weeks for normal operations

New Delhi: As the chaos continued on Saturday at banks and post offices over exchange of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes and deposits being made by thousands of people in urban areas throughout the country, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has sought to assuage the ruffled feelings of common man saying, a�?be patient.a��

Speaking to the media here on Saturday, Jaitley first urged the people not to panic about their money, which is safe, and appealed to them not to rush to banks to swap their old notes for new. Acknowledging the fact that massive crowds had been swarming the banks, the minister counseled patience until the banking operations became normal.

Jaitley said it was humanly and mechanically impossible to replace 14 lakh crore currency notes overnight. Moreover, the ATM machines had not been recalibrated to handle the new notes and it would take time to make changes to thousands of ATMs spread across the country. However, the minister assured the public the massive operation would be completed in two to three weeks time. Until then the ATMs would dispense hundred rupee notes, not Rs 2000 notes.

Explaining why the ATMs had not been readied to handle the new notes, Jaitley said: “The recalibration could not be done before the announcement, in view of the secrecy that was required till the Cabinet decision was made. If we had started the process of recalibration before, we would have risked a leak of the information, which would have rendered the whole exercise pointless.”

Giving an idea of the scale of operation being carried out by banks, Jaitley said, the State Bank of India and its group which handle 25 to 30 per cent of all banking operations in the country have effected 2.28 crore transactions since November 10 and received deposits worth Rs 47,868 crores.

Jaitley dismissed allegations that some people with prior knowledge of demonetization had deposited crores in banks. The effort to clean up politics is causing inconvenience to some,” he said.


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