Common people across India continued to suffer, with millions scrambling for cash to meet basic needs, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended the ban on high-value notes, saying the move had given sleepless nights to those with ill-gotten wealth.
Two major bank unions have said the demonetisation scheme was announced without proper preparedness by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and has put the common man to immense difficulties.
In a joint letter to Indian Banks' Association, a copy of which was issued to the media, the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) and All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) said: "While we do not wish to go at this stage into the merits or otherwise of the scheme announced by the Government in achieving the purpose for which it has been intended, we would definitely like to point out that the scheme has been announced but without proper preparedness by the RBI to meet the situation.
"There is so much of a chaotic condition prevailing in the bank branches and the situation is unbearable, both for the customers and the general public as well as for the bank officers and employees."
According to the unions, the government and RBI must be fully aware that already there is a huge gap between the indent and supply of Rs 100 notes, noting that in 2015-16, as against the indent of 535 crore pieces of Rs 100 notes, the supply was only to the tune of 490 crores pieces.
"Even till now, new Rs 500 notes have not been issued by RBI or received the bank branches or currency chests. One cannot understand the reason behind banning the existing Rs. 500 notes and not providing new supply of Rs 500 notes in time," they said.
Expressing their apprehension that the two lakh ATMs in the country including the 35,000 machines located in rural areas would start dispensing cash in another three weeks time, the unions said the machines have to be recalibrated with proper cash trays.
With an acute shortage of Rs 100 notes, the ATMs are likely to be dead machines for quite some time, which would add to the ire of the people and this anger is bound to be shown on the branch staff thus making their life further miserable, they said.
The two unions have asked the IBA to approach the RBI/Government to allow all government departments, agencies and institutions to exchange the banned 500/1,000 rupee notes; the RBI should immediately ensure adequate supply of cash in denominations of Rs 100 and new Rs 500 notes and ATMs should be re-calibrated on a top priority basis and made ready for use within the shortest possible time.
They also sought deployment of bank staff on shift basis, uniform instructions to be sent by IBA to all banks on payment of overtime wages/compensation amount and special care to be taken by banks while asking lady employees/officers to work in late hours.
With inputs from IANS