Indians have only a few days to return billions of notes

Adriana Lima
By Adriana Lima 2 Min Read
origin 1An Indian woman sells wallets printed with images of Indian 500 and 2,000 rupee notes on a street in Hyderabad on June 8, 2017. ©NOAH SEELAM/AFP

India’s highest denomination note will soon be off the market: the 2,000 rupee notes will be withdrawn in five days, but the $2.9 billion ones are still in circulation.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ordered the withdrawal of the note on May 19, giving people until the end of September to exchange it or deposit it with banks. Next, people will have to explain why they failed to meet the deadline.

After the announcement, 93% of the banknotes, worth 3.32 trillion rupees (40.14 billion dollars, or 37.7 billion euros), were returned by September 1.

However, 7% of the notes, worth 240 billion rupees, are still in citizens’ pockets.

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Data collected from major banks indicates that around 87% of the notes received from lenders were in the form of deposits, while around 13% were exchanged for other denominations, the RBI said.

The 2,000 rupee notes were introduced in 2016 to replenish the circulating currency of the Indian economy following the government’s shock move in 2016 to demonetise the economy by scrapping high-value notes overnight.

However, the central bank has often said it wants to reduce high-value notes in circulation and has stopped printing 2,000 rupee notes for the past four years.

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