NEW DELHI, Nov 27 (PTI): People have deposited a staggering Rs 326.31 billion (Rs 32,631 crore) in nearly 0.15 million (1.55 lakh) post offices across the country following demonetisation of Rs 500/1000 currency notes.
The post offices have also exchanged about Rs 36.80 billion (Rs 3,680 crore) of old currency notes between November 10 and 24, Department of Posts Secretary B V Sudhakar told PTI.
"From November 10 to November 24, we have exchanged 578 lakh notes of value of about Rs 36.80 billion (Rs 3,680 crore). If you look at the deposits, 434.8 million (43.48 crore) old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were accepted as deposits, and their value is about Rs 326.31 billion (Rs 32,631 crore)," he said.
As many as 1.55 lakh post offices -- about 0.13 million (1.30 lakh) in rural areas and the rest 25,000 in urban and semi-urban areas -- are playing a "prominent role" in the entire exercise, he added.
During the same period, Rs 35.83 billion (Rs 3,583 crore) was withdrawn from post offices, Sudhakar said.
Following demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes from midnight of November 8, people rushed to banks and post offices to deposit or exchange old currency notes. Serpentine queues were seen in front of banks, ATMs and post offices with people lining up to get valid currency notes.
Those without postal savings accounts were also permitted to exchange the old notes up to a certain limit in the post offices by producing their identity cards.
While the window of a fortnight to exchange these currency notes over-the-counter at banks and post offices ended on November 24, the old notes can be deposited in bank accounts until December 30.
Another report adds: The demonetisation move by the Indian government would reduce the role of blackmoney and will lead the country towards a digital economy but moving to a cashless system will take some time, a leading Indian-American entrepreneur has said.
"This is a massive step (towards fighting blackmoney and digital economy). The foundation of which was laid by Aadhar, Jan Dhan Yojana and direct benefit transfer," Venkatesh Shukla, a venture capitalist and president of TiE Silicon Valley.
"Those are the foundation that has already been laid. And universal payment interface is another brilliant that the government of India is working on," Shukla told PTI.
"I think, the move to cashless economy can't come soon to India. It is unfortunate that people are going through so much of a pain. But there is absolute no doubt that this is the right direction to go.
"The sooner the economy moves to a digital economy there will be less wastage, more productivity, more evolution and less of a black economy," Shukla said.
"It (moving towards a cash less economy) would take a while, but infrastructure is in place," he said in response to a question, adding Indian-American entrepreneurs are highly impressed by this move of the government.
"I have not run into a single person who criticises this.
We are overwhelmingly in favour of this," he said.
"What is not to like about this," he questioned when asked about criticism to the demonetisation plan of the Indian Government.
"I am not the one who is suffering and I am not on the street (for changing / depositing money). But if you look at it from a strategic perspective... people who are outside India had complaint over the past 70 years that people just did not had the political will to do those things in India.
"Here comes a politician who first recognises what is the right thing to do and has the courage of conviction to pull it off," he said.
"His (Prime Minister Narendra Modi's) focus on startups as engine of job growth, unfortunately for India is 70 years late. But at least he started the process. I wish the first prime minster of India had focused on entrepreneurs not with suspicion and distrust, but with confidence and trust," Shukla said.
The head of the Silicon Valley chapter of TiE said that "this incremental trend putting disincentive to the cash economy is the right thing to do."
Putting disincentives to use of cash in large transactions, political parties not accepting cash donations and rationalising this stamp duty non-sense for property transactions, rationalising tax structure to encourage people to be complaint would be helpful in fighting black economy.