People Facing Major Hurdles while Exchanging Rs2,000 Notes at Post-offices
Moneylife Digital Team 04 January 2024
Although the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) says that Rs2,000 notes continue to be a legal tender and currency and can still be exchanged, it has placed a nightmarish process to exchange notes after September. RBI announced the withdrawal of Rs2,000 notes in May circulation as part of its 'Clean Note Policy'. 
 
On 1 January 2023, it issued another circular reiterating the process, but has done nothing to improve the process. 
 
After September 2023, Rs2,000 notes can only be exchanged at 19 RBI branches nationwide. People can either visit these branches or deposit the notes with the post-office which mails them to RBI.
 
Here is what happens on the ground. Mr Banerjee (name changed) visited RBI’s Kolkata office to exchange a few Rs2,000 notes that his mother-in-law had ferreted away and forgotten about. The massive crowds queuing to exchange notes would have meant a day-long wait. So he approached the local post-offices only to encounter more confusion, as the staff was completely unaware of the process and claimed to have no circular or instructions about it.  
 
A visit to the head post-office had the counter clerk helpfully advising that it would be cheaper to throw away the notes than to get them exchanged. The reason? Post-offices are levying a fat fee to send notes to RBI and there was no timeline or guarantee about when the notes would get exchanged and the amount deposited in his account. 
 
He finally exchanged the notes through one of the many scalpers offering their services just outside the RBI office. It was done in a minute at a cost of Rs200 per note! 
 
Mr Bhatija (name changed) from Pune has another story to narrate. His wife discovered a few forgotten notes, so he made his way to the post-office to exchange them. He was asked by the post-office to submit a certain form with quadruple copies and told that postage and courier charges would be Rs1,500 to send 10 notes and the form from Pune to Navi Mumbai. No justification was provided for the high charges and there is no mention of them in the RBI circular. 
 
Moneylife brought the two cases to the attention of RBI. A top central banker responded, saying, “Will request the concerned department to take note and examine what best can be done to mitigate such difficulties”. 
 
While this assurance offers some hope that the issue will be addressed, RBI tends to move slowly and it remains to be seen when it fixes an issue that is only generating fees for touts and scalpers. 
Comments
djrish
2 months ago
Our Experience has been pathetic at Mumbai

3 visits from morning 4am yet till 3pm , u don't get ur position to get the notes exchanged as there is already a long que
The process which should start at 9am starts at 11am

When sent via post office it's been over 2 months and yet no dedicated desk to handle these queries

Instead can't the psu Banks be made accountable and done the whole process much more smoothly
jkc00789
Replied to djrish comment 2 months ago
Instead why not private sector banks are also involved in the whole process ? I has exchanged my 2000 in private bank only. Why ALL work is thrown on PSBs/PSUs and show them as loss making and privatiz them ?
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