India’s central bank yesterday extended a deadline to return the country’s highest value banknotes by another week, after billions of rupees’ worth remained in circulation.
The Reserve Bank of India ordered the withdrawal of the 2,000-rupee note on May 19, giving people until the end of September to exchange or deposit 3.56 trillion rupees ($42.9bn) at banks across the country.
But as of Friday, notes worth 140bn rupees ($1.7bn) remained unaccounted for, the central bank said in a statement on its website.
“As the period specified for the withdrawal process has come to an end, and based on a review, it has been decided to extend the current arrangement for deposit or exchange of 2000 banknotes until October 07, 2023,” the RBI said.
From October 8, banks will not accept these notes anymore, but they can be exchanged, up to a maximum 10 notes or 20,000 rupees at a time, at 19 RBI issue offices. People can also return the notes at the RBI offices, “for credit to their bank accounts in India for any amount.”
The highest denomination note was introduced in November 2016 to quickly remonetise the economy after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s shock decision to remove 1,000- and 500-rupee notes as legal tender overnight. In its May notice the RBI said the notes had served their purpose and must be withdrawn as per its “clean note policy to replace soiled bills every four to five years.”