Demonetisation: Siddaramaiah urges Arun Jaitley to address common man’s concerns

In the wake of the Centre’s move to demonetise Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday urged Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to take immediate steps to mitigate the difficulties faced by the citizens of the country.

“There has been much inconvenience to the common public, both for exchanging the old notes and also for withdrawing cash from banks and ATMs. This is primarily on account of the fact that the banking system does not appear to have been geared up for this mammoth task given to them,” Siddaramaiah wrote in a letter to Jaitley.

Suggesting that sufficient and practical measures could have been put in place in advance, Siddaramaiah said, “I hope that the Central Government and Reserve Bank of India will take immediate and effective steps to mitigate these hardships taking into account the suggestions.”

Stating that in his view the new Rs. 500 notes should have been introduced first before Rs. 2,000 notes, he requested Jaitley to introduce new series of Rs. 500 notes immediately to give relief to the common man.

He also suggested that the time limit for use of old currency for the exempted categories of payments be extended till December 30 as this period is anyway available for them for the exchange of old currency.

“While the currency notes of Rs. 500 and 1,000 have been withdrawn, new notes of Rs. 2,000 have been introduced in the market. There is no currency available in the market between Rs. 100 and 2,000 today. This is causing many practical problems. In my view, new Rs. 500 notes should have been introduced first before Rs. 2,000 notes.

Release of Rs. 2,000 has not solved the problems due to withdrawal of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes. I am informed by the bankers that new series of Rs. 500 notes is being issued soon. I request you to introduce them immediately to give relief to common man,” Siddaramaiah said.

Stating that medical services are in a nature of an emergency service irrespective of them being in the government or private sector, the Chief Minister said there were instances of patients being denied treatment in private hospitals due to lack of availability of cash with them.

“Private hospitals, diagnostic labs, blood banks may also be included in the exempted list. The time limit for use of old currency for exempted categories of payments may be extended till December 30,” he added.

The Chief Minister’s other suggestions to Jaitley included increasing the cash supply to the cooperative banking sector as per their requirement, enhanced withdrawal limits for registered traders and commission agents of the markets to enable them to pay small and marginal farmers in time.

The Karnataka Chief Minister yesterday took stock of the prevailing situation in the state in the wake of demonetisation.