India on Monday announced a major change to comfort its citizens in coping up with the cash crunched market, but the move unfortunately isn’t going to help the vast majority of its population.
Three months after India invalidated much of its cash and imposed a limit on how much money one could withdraw from ATMs, the government today announced some relief.
The Reserve Bank of India said Monday it will be withdrawing the limits on current bank accounts from Feb. 1. The nation’s central banking institutions, however, hasn’t offered any comfort to savings accounts, which majority of people in the country possess.
The weekly limit of Rs 24,000 ($353) will also remain unchanged for savings account holders, RBI added. Today’s circular will comfort corporates, and businesses — small and medium — who have a current account.
“Limits placed on cash withdrawals from ATMs stand withdrawn from February 01, 2017,” it said in a circular. “However, banks may, at their discretion, have their own operating limits as was the case before November 8, 2016.”
In the aftermath of India’s prime minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on Nov. 8., the central bank was forced to put daily and weekly limits on withdrawals to cope up with cash crunch.
People couldn’t withdraw more than Rs 2,000 ($30) in a day, or Rs 10,000 ($150) in a week, following the announcement in November. The RBI has revised the limits several times in the weeks since, but the cap on weekly withdrawal for them has only been increased to Rs 24,000 ($350).
The decision has impacted hundreds of millions of lives in India. Long snaking queues outside banks and ATMs became a norm, with people spending hours in dim hope of obtaining some cash. Several people also lost their lives doing so.