New Delhi: Amid reports of misuse, the central government has put an end to the use of old Rs 500 notes for buying fuel at petrol pumps and purchasing tickets at airports from Saturday, while exemption for payment of toll on highways will also end on Friday.
Earlier, these facilities and the toll exemption were to continue till December 15. All toll plazas on National Highways have been equipped with card swipe (PoS) machines through which people can make payments using their credit or debit cards, although people will be allowed to use old Rs 500 notes for paying toll above Rs 200 or for purchasing FASTags from the midnight of 2 December.
The government had last week extended the time period of use of invalid currency notes for making payment of public utility bills, buying petrol, mobile recharge, rail tickets and air tickets at airport till 15 December. However, it has decided to withdraw the facility for use of old Rs 500 notes at airports and petrol pumps from midnight of 2 December.
The ministry said that the process of production, dispatch and distribution of currency notes have been continuing and more cash is flowing into the system steadily and digital transactions have also made an impressive progress and are expected to significantly improve during the coming days.
"Now, therefore, as digital transaction options have been increasing across different sections of the economy, it has been observed that the outlets of the oil and gas marketing companies are better equipped to accept payments through digital means," it said while removing petrol pumps from exempted list.
The ministry, however, clarified that supply of LPG continues to be in the exempted category for the purpose of payment through old Rs 500 bank notes. While junking old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on 8 November, the government had allowed their use for utility bill payments for 72 hours.
This deadline was extended twice. When the last one was to expire on 24 November, the government amended it to state that
only the old Rs 500 notes could be used for payment of utility bills like electricity and water, school fees, pre-paid mobile top-ups, fuel purchases and airline ticket bookings.
While old notes will continue to be accepted for other utility bill payments as well as at railway ticketing counters and counters of government or public sector undertaking buses till 15 December, they will be discontinued for purchase of fuel and airline tickets at airport counters.