I remember the evening of November 8, 2016, as vividly as I do my first day at college.
There was a notification at around 7:40 pm that asked the nation to standby for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation. It was a bolt from the blue, but not really unexpected, especially with the Uri attacks and the following Surgical Strikes that had created a lot of tension between the two neighbours even as India had vacated all the bordering villages in the wake of a possible military action from the other side.
Are we at war with Pakistan?
Just after the announcement of demonetisation, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) took the onus to clear the air on note exchange.
Every single moment felt like an eternity even as the team discussed the worst case scenarios.
And then appeared the man himself, on the television monitor, with bated breath, eyes, and ears to the television, hands on the keyboards the team was raring to jot it with speed and accuracy.
In a sudden and surprising move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes with effect from the midnight of November 8, thus making these two denominations notes invalid. Cease to be legal tenders to quote the PM.
Reasons cited ranged from war on black money, corruption, Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) being circulated by anti-national elements, Naxalism, and terrorism.
PM Modi said people holding notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 can deposit the same in their banks and post-office accounts from November 10 till December 30 and also exchanged across the bank counters by showing government-issued ID proofs.
He said, "From midnight 500 and 1000 denomination currency notes would cease to be legal tenders and would be just pieces of paper. 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 rupee notes and coins are not affected."
He also said that ATM withdrawals will be restricted to Rs 2,000 per day till November 11, and this limit may be increased gradually.
There was no change in any other form of currency exchange be it cheque, DD, payment via credit or debit cards etc.
On November 9 and in some places November 10, ATMs did not work.
Withdrawals from bank accounts were limited to Rs 10,000 for the first few days. Banks were ordered to remain shut on November 9.
Order to accept old Rs 500 and 1000 notes until 11 November midnight.
In a respite of sorts, government hospitals were ordered to accept old Rs 500 and 1000 notes until 11 November midnight.
PM Modi also said that retail petrol pumps will accept such notes until November 11, after which the stations will have to keep a register of such notes for some time.
President Pranab Mukherjee called upon people not to panic and to follow government's guidelines for exchanging currency notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 denomination available with them.
Here are 10 highlights of the new monetary policy
1. RBI posted a detailed FAQs on note exchange guidelines:
2. RBI said the most important reason for the ban was the abnormal rise in the fake currency of higher denominations.
3. One can get value for the entire volume of notes tendered at the bank branches/RBI offices.
4. One will get up to Rs 4,000 in cash irrespective of the size of tender and anything over and above that will be receivable by way of credit to the bank account.
5. ATMs in some area will remain closed on Wednesday and Thursday, One can withdraw of only Rs 2,000 per day up to 18 November and Rs 4,000 per day from 19 November onwards.
6. One cannot get the entire amount in cash as the scheme of withdrawal of old high denomination notes does not provide for it.
7. One can use balance in bank accounts to pay for other requirements by cheque or through electronic means such as online banking, mobile wallets, IMPS, credit/debit cards etc. Rs 2,000 can be withdrawn per day up to 18 November.
8. For those without any bank account, RBI said they can open an account with necessary KYV documents.
9. Even no-frills accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana can also avail of the exchange facility subject to the caps and other laid down limits in accord with norms and procedures.
10. For the exchange of notes, the person has to carry valid identity proofs. The exchanges of notes can be done at any branch of the bank that one is banking with.