Demonetisation: A 50-Day Saga

50 days are up. Here’s a recap, and a timeline


This year on November 8, the Prime Minister abolished Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. The announcement was utterly unexpected for most of us. The numerous announcements and updates took us on a roller coaster ride. 50 days after the abruptly announced demonetisation, Bayside Journal gives you a timeline of events.


Nov 8 – Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes abolished


Nov 8 – ATM withdrawal limited at Rs 2000 per card per day. Bank withdrawal at Rs 10,000 per day, Rs 20,000 per week

Nov 9 – Long queues at banks, ATMs shut

Nov 13 – ATM withdrawal limit upped from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500. Bank withdrawal upped to Rs 24,000 per week. Rs 10,000 per day rule chopped

Nov 14 – Cash withdrawal limit for current account holders increased to Rs 50,000 per week

Nov 19 – ATM withdrawal limit increased to Rs 4,000

Nov 28 – Withdrawal limit from banks kept at Rs 24,000

Nov 30 – Withdrawal from Jan Dhan accounts limited to Rs 10,000 a month

Dec 1 – 1.80 lakh ATMs recalibrated to dispense new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes


Nov 8 – Exchange of old notes limited at Rs. 4,000

Nov 13 – Currency exchange limit upped from Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,500

Nov 17 – Exchange limit lowered to Rs 2,000

Nov 24 – Currency exchange stopped entirely. Old Rs 500 notes permitted to buy airline tickets and for use at petrol pumps until Dec 15


Nov 8 – Old notes can be deposited in banks until Dec 31

Dec 19 – Deposits of more than Rs 5,000 of demonetised currency note allowed only once, till Dec 30

Dec 21 – Fully KYC compliant account holders allowed to deposit over Rs 5,000, no questions asked


Nov 11 – Use of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes permitted till Nov 14 midnight

Nov 14 – Old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes accepted for public utility and fuel payment till Nov 24

Nov 17 – Use of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes permitted till midnight Nov 24 instead of Nov 14


Nov 9 – Metro stations, toll plazas, pharmacies ordered to accept old notes

Nov 14 – Farmers can withdraw up to Rs 50,000 per week

Nov 21 – Farmers can buy seeds with old currency

Dec 1 – Old Rs 500 notes permitted in purchasing airline tickets and at petrol pumps until Dec 2 instead of Dec 15

What the RBI said

Nov 8 – Says exchange of old notes permitted until Dec 30

Nov 9 – Ensures ATMs recalibrated so that Rs 100 dispensed, old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 not dispensed

Nov 11 – Asks public not to panic, says there’s enough cash

Nov 12 – Urges public to use alternative payment methods

Nov 13 – Again asks public not to panic, says there’s enough cash

Nov 14 – Says enough notes in supply, asks not to hoard

Nov 16 – Banks to collect PAN card info of those depositing more than Rs 50,000 in accounts not seeded with PAN

Nov 25 – Says can exchange abolished notes at its counters

Dec 7 – Says demonetisation not hasty, defends note ban, plays down economic impact

Dec 13 – Advises banks to preserve CCTV recordings of their branches between Nov 8 to Dec 30

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh famously called the implementation of demonetisation a “monumental mismanagement”. Purportedly adopted as a means to combat black money and turn the Indian economy digital and cashless overnight, the decision to demonetise 86% of currency has most severely affected Indians who earn money in cash (approximately 90%), most of them being labourers and daily wage earners.

Several people in the rural areas didn’t even have bank accounts when demonetisation was announced. In some areas, people have to walk miles to reach the nearest ATM. After the announcement, sellers of perishable goods were tremendously impacted, since the average middle-class Indian was busy scrambling for and hoarding Rs 100, Rs 50 notes, and foraging for 500 and 1000 notes that suddenly needed to be rid of.

Demonetisation is more than a short-term inconvenience for the average Indian. It has cost lives. There is no way of undoing that now. It has infringed upon our fundamental right, as the former PM said, to be able to withdraw our own money that we have deposited in our own accounts. With the termination of the 50-day grace period that the government asked for, the ATM queues have certainly reduced. How substantial are the other changes, if any?

On New Year ’s Eve, the PM is to address the nation again. The nation will be watching him.