People in large numbers started queuing up outside ATMs and banks since early morning on Tuesday to withdraw valid currency notes from vending machines and exchange demonetised bills.
While banks remained closed on Monday on the account of Guru Nanak Jayanti in many parts of the country, cash-starved customers again were disappointed on Tuesday with most of the ATMs running out of the cash.
Even at some ATMs which had cash were facing server issues, making people wait in the queue frustrated. Many households are running out of even piggybank money saved by their children for meeting essential daily provisions. Banks' infrastructure is unable to handle the huge rush resulting in long serpentine queue where average waiting time is 4 hours, especially for exchange.
ATMs will still take two more weeks before they start dispensing new high-value Rs 500 and 2000 notes. Currently, they are dispensing Rs 100 notes which make them go dry in few hours. With public anger rising across the country over limited cash availability, the government eased key restrictions, including raising daily withdrawal limit from bank counters and ATMs as well as hiking the amount of old and now defunct currency notes that can be exchanged.
The limit of old and now defunct Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that can be exchanged for freshly minted Rs 2,000 and new Rs 500 notes was increased from Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,500 per day. The weekly limit of Rs 20,000 for withdrawal from bank counters has been increased to Rs 24,000. The maximum limit of Rs 10,000 per day on such withdrawals has been removed.
Many street vendors also switched to using digital wallets:
(Feature image source: Reuters)