India took its citizens by surprise last month when it invalidated the most circulated currency notes. Now, it is making it a criminal offence to possess those tender bills.
The country’s government today approved an ordinance to impose penalties on anyone who has more than 10 bills of the demonetized Rs 500 ($7.3) and Rs 1,000 ($14.6) currency notes after March 31.
Those found guilty would be subjected to legal actions such as jail time of up to four years and monetary fines, the ordinance says.
The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also approved an ordinance to amend the RBI Act to call a halt to government and the central bank’s liabilities on the demonetized notes.
In a televised address to the nation on Nov. 8, Modi said the government is invaliding Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, the highest denomination currency bills in India at the time. People were asked to deposit all their demonetised notes to the bank by Dec. 30.
Those who haven’t been able to deposit all their old cash to the bank — and there are many — will have only select RBI branches who would still accept the money till the end of March, the ordinance adds.
In the meanwhile, Prime Minister Modi will address the nation on New Year’s Eve to talk about demonetization and his government’s attempts to curb black money.