Naresh Agarwal leads Opposition to bombard questions at Jaitley during Zero Hour.
Hyderabad: Giving credence to speculation about the withdrawal of Rs 2,000 currency notes, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday remained silent on this issue despite Opposition MPs’ demand for a clarification.
Raising a point of order during the Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agrawal said: “The government has taken a decision to scrap Rs 2,000 note. The RBI has been given order not to print the Rs 2,000 notes. ... If any policy decision been taken during the Parliament session, the tradition is to announce it in the House.”
“And now it has stopped printing... RBI cannot bully. One note ban has been done, the second one is being planned. Let the finance minister say...,” he said. Mr Jaitley who was present in the House, did not respond to the question.
While the RBI has printed 3.2 lakh crore pieces of Rs 2,000 notes, speculation is rife that the government has asked the central bank to stop printing the high value Rs 2,000 notes and focus on printing Rs 500 notes, which are in high demand.
Some bankers have suggested that RBI has stopped supplying new Rs 2,000 notes.
According to some reports, SBI has started recalibrating its Rs 2,000 note cassettes in its some of its ATMs to dispense Rs 500 notes.
Meanwhile, the government is also reportedly planning to introduce Rs 200 to improve the supply to lower denomination notes. The printing is already in advanced stages at RBI’s Mysuru press.
While an SBI Ecowrap report said that Rs 200 notes would be introduced in the coming months, a media report claimed that the new denomination could be introduced next month.
While these developments could hint at something in store, analysts suggest that these decision might have been taken for pump in Rs 500 notes, which are easy to change compared to Rs 2,000.
Answering to a question on rumours about demonetisation of `2,000 notes in April, minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju had asked people “not go by such rumours.”
However, Mr Jaitley’s silence on the issue in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday could strengthen the rumours further.
There is also speculation about the timing. While some suggest that demonetisation, if the government decides so, could happen either two months before the festival season or thereafter, others feel that the timing could be in sync with Assembly elections — Gujarat would go to polls in between December 2017 and January 2018, and Karnataka in April 2018.