Indians told to return billions in high-value notes as bank issues recall order

Indians have been told to hand over billions in banknotes after the country’s reserve bank set a deadline of the end of the month to exchange or deposit the country’s highest-value notes.

The 2,000 rupee note is still in wide circulation and is said to total £2.3billion.

Indians still in possession of the notes after the deadline in four days’ time will have to provide a reason for doing so.

The Reserve Bank of India announced the move on May 19 and by the start of September, 93 percent of the notes had reportedly been returned.

Of those notes returned so far the majority were deposited while a fraction have been exchanged for other denominations, according to banking data.

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In a shock move, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in November that all 500 and 1,000 rupee notes would be phased out. The 2,000 rupee notes were brought in soon after to boost the amount of money in circulation.

The decision sparked chaos as people waited in long queues outside banks and ATMS to exchange their 500 and 1,000 rupee notes before the deadline came.

Modi defended the move as a measure to combat money earned from the black market.

India’ reserve bank has looked to avoid similar panicked scenes by keeping the 2,000 rupee legal tender status beyond the deadline.

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This means that while Indians are encouraged to deposit or exchange the 2,000 Rupee notes, they can still be used for purchases past the deadline.

The Governor of the Bank issued a plea to Indians not to rush the banks as the required replacement notes had been made available.

Shaktikanta Das also insisted that the withdrawal of the notes will have minimal impact on the country’s economy.

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