The government ruled out on Thursday any rollback of a sudden recall of high-value banknotes, saying that the rush of frenzied customers at banks had steadily decreased over the past few days.
In an interview, finance minister Arun Jaitley said there was no shortage of currency in the country to deal with the millions lined up outside banks and ATMs to withdraw, deposit or exchange old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 withdrawn last week.
"There is a great regret that some people were inconvenienced. But the larger object of interest is to squeeze the quantum of currency,” he said, lauding banks for "bringing down the rush”. "ATMs are being recalibrated on a war footing.”
Speaking on the issue of ATMs being non-functional, he said that the machines are being recalibrated with "war efforts”. Explaining the reasons for reducing exchange limits to Rs 2,000 from Rs 4,500, he said that the decision has been taken to reduce the misuse of money. "In last few days we received complaints, and now we have reduced the figure because we don’t want any trouble,” he said.
Jaitley expressed his displeasure at some state chief minister’s who have not supported the demonetisation move. "Most CMs have used state apparatus to support this move, I appreciate that. Some CMs, however, are spreading panic,” he said.
At a rally in New Delhi's Azadpur Mandi, both Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal had given the government an ultimatum of three days to withdraw the demonetisation scheme, accusing it of creating chaos and causing nearly 40 deaths in the country so far.
When asked about the Opposition's demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should reply to the demonetisation debate in Parliament, Jaitley said it is the "prerogative of the government" to decide who will speak on the matter.
He attacked the Congress for allegedly comparing the demonetisation move to the Uri terror attack, asking "vested interest” the opposition party had in blocking a move to root out black money.
"Congress as a national party must support it instead of obstructing and then comparing it with Pakistan terrorism is irresponsible.”
Both the houses of Parliament were adjourned today as a belligerent Opposition demanded that PM Modi should reply to the debate.