Post offices get just Rs. 238 cr. in cash from RBI
Post offices across the country received just Rs. 238 crore in cash from the RBI since the Centre’s demonetisation of high-value currency notes on November 8, the government informed Parliament on Friday.
Apart from account holders who may have sought to withdraw funds against their savings balances, the government allowed people to exchange their old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes at post offices from Nov. 10 to 24. As per an annual report, the Post Office Savings Bank had 16.5 crore savingsaccounts and another 9.4 crore accounts held by beneficiaries of schemes for households below the poverty line, including 6.48 crore MGNREGA beneficiaries.
“After withdrawal of the legal tender of specified banknotes, various offices of the Reserve Bank of India have provided Rs 238 crores (approximately) in cash to the Department of Post,” minister of state for finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
Necessary instructions have also been issued by Reserve Bank of India (on December 2 and November 10) to facilitate cash withdrawal by post offices from banks,” Mr Meghwal said, but didn’t specify the amount provided by banks following the RBI directives.
In its latest directive to all banks maintaining currency chests in the country, the RBI on December 2 said, “A perception has also emerged that banks with currency chests are according priority towards supplying cash to their own bank branches. These banks with currency chests are, therefore, advised to make visible efforts to dispel the perception of unequal allocation among other banks and their own branches.”
Reiterating its November 22 advisory to banks about making adequate cash available for the Rabi crop season, the central bank asked them to ensure adequate allocation of banknotes for rural branches, post offices and district central co-operative banks. The banks were advised to involve the district co-ordinators or lead district managers functioning under the aegis of the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) in facilitating and planning the distribution of currency from the currency chests.
“Savings Bank facility is provided through a network of 1.54 lakh Post Offices across the country,” the postal department’s annual report for 2015-16 notes, adding that it has a total of over 33 crore account holders, including those who have small savings schemes and other deposit accounts with the Post Office Savings Bank