In the wake of the ongoing cash-crunch post the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, the government on Thursday extended the exemption of toll tax on highways till December 2.
“Toll suspension is extended till 2nd December midnight across all National Highways,” tweeted Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari.
The earlier deadline of November 24 was extended to facilitate smooth traffic movement across all National Highways and provide some relief to people.
Instructions about the extension have been communicated to the necessary agencies.
Further, following a Cabinet meet on Thursday, the centre also decided to not allow over the counter exchange of old currency from November 24.
As a result, individuals with old Rs 500 or Rs 1000 notes will no longer be able to exchange them at banks or post offices. However, they will be able to deposit them at banks and subsequently withdraw the money in the form of new notes.
“It has been observed that over the counter exchange of the old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination has shown a declining trend,” read a government statement announcing the decision.
“It has further been felt that people may be encouraged and facilitated to deposit their old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in their bank accounts. This will encourage people who are still unbanked to open new bank accounts. Consequently, there will be no over the counter exchange of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes after midnight of 24.11.2016,” the statement added.
Following the demonetization, the government had also permitted government hospitals, petrol pumps, medical shops, public transport, crematoriums etc to continue accepting old notes for 72 hours.
It later allowed two more extensions on November 11 and 14, taking the deadline for accepting old notes till November 24.
Earlier this week, the government told the Supreme Court that it may give yet another extension if it thinks it was necessary. Although an extension is likely, a final confirmation regarding the same is awaited.
Other important updates pertaining to demonetization:
# Vehicle parking charges at all airports have been waived off till midnight November 28.
# Railways has waived off service charges for ‘e-tickets’ and ‘i-tickets’ booked through IRCTC till December 31.
# Rs 500 notes will be accepted towards toll fee at National Highways till December 15 even after the exemption is withdrawn.
# Demonetized notes can no longer be deposited in small savings schemes. Banks can still accept old notes in post office savings accounts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes on November 8 to curb corruption and black money.
Owing to the limitations placed on withdrawals post demonetization, millions of Indians were forced to line up outside bank and ATMs. Most businesses, which rely on cash transactions, also took a hit.
In the wake of chaos, both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been getting adjourned consistently since the start of the ongoing Parliament session.