India Allows 250,000 Rupee Wedding Cash Withdrawals After Notes Ban

A couple waits for a bank to open to deposit or exchange their old high denomination banknotes in the early hours in Ahmedabad, India, November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave

MUMBAI, Nov 21 – India’s central bank said on Monday that people can withdraw up to 250,000 rupees ($3,670) for wedding related expenses, provided they submit adequate proof and the wedding is on or before Dec. 30.

The cash withdrawals will be allowed out of the balance in the account as of close of business on Nov. 8, the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dropped a bombshell on Nov. 8 by abolishing 500 and 1,000 rupee notes that accounted for 86 percent of cash in circulation. The move was aimed at cracking down on the shadow economy but has brought India’s cash economy to a virtual standstill.

Modi’s decision to withdraw the high-value bills in the middle of the wedding and seed sowing season has drawn widespread criticism from Indians forced to queue at banks to exchange bills or without cash to pay for goods and services.

The RBI said the wedding withdrawals could be made by either of the parents or the people getting married after submitting an application.

People looking to withdraw have to also submit evidence of the wedding, including the invitation card and copies of receipts for advance payments, and a detailed list of people who will receive the cash.

The RBI also said it would allow farmers to withdraw cash up to 25,000 rupees a week from their loan or deposit accounts subject to their accounts.

Earlier on Monday, the Indian government allowed farmers to purchase seeds with old 500 rupee banknote from state-run outlets.

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