Rs 2.5 lakh for weddings: Government says yes, banks say no
Even as government insists it has not rolled back its order upping withdrawal limit for weddings and farmers, banks continue to turn away desperate citizens, leaving them in further financial mess
Ganesh Mohite and fiancee Jyoti Gurav
On a day when the government got busy dispelling reports that the higher cash withdrawal limits for those families that have upcoming weddings has been rolled back, confusion reigned in Mumbai, as banks continued to turn away people in dire need of cash.
Ganesh Mohite got engaged to Jyoti Gurav yesterday
While citizens lined up at banks, officials told them they have not yet received any circular to that effect. At the same time, social media users kept circulating what they claimed was a government order withdrawing the announcement.
Hoping to ease the demonetisation drive for those soon getting married, the government issued a circular on November 17 stating they can withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh from one account for the wedding. But they forgot to send a memo to the banks regarding the same, leaving the soon-to-be-weds queuing up for the cash in a lurch.
Malad resident Ganesh Mohite will get married today. He had saved up Rs 3 lakh for wedding expenses from his friends and family, but, it was all in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. The government’s November 17 announcement gave him a ray of hope, but it died as soon as he reached the Dindoshi branch of HDFC bank.
“I reached HDFC Bank, Dindoshi around 10 am on Saturday in order to deposit Rs 2.5 lakh in my account and withdraw the same. We directly spoke to the bank manager to confirm the news but he denied the transaction, after which we wrote a formal letter to him on which he wrote that they have not received any such notice from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) so they cannot permit this transaction,” said Mohite.
The letter issued by Dindoshi branch bank manager Mukesh Singh states that, as now the bank has not received any process note on withdrawal limit for wedding expenses.
“After receiving letter from the Dindoshi branch, we also visited the bank’s head office in Pali Hill to confirm whether they have received any such notice. The bank manager showed us his e-mail and said he has not received any such notice from the RBI,” added Mohite.
Still getting married
Despite not receiving the exchanged amount for the wedding, Mohite is sticking to his wedding date, which is today. He got engaged to Jyoti Gurav yesterday.
Mohite has managed the bare minimum he requires for the wedding day from his family, but he is yet to pay for the catering, decoration and the wedding hall.
“Our marriage was finalized on November 13 and after that, the invitation cards were distributed among relatives. Delaying the wedding after that was not an ideal option for me.”
A troubled bride
While Mohite found a way to grapple with the money crisis, the family of Jesal Patel, who is getting married on December 4 is still worried about how they’ll manage the wedding.
When Jesal’s family reached the Allahabad Bank’s branch in Kalina on Saturday, to withdraw money for the nuptials they too were told the same thing: that the bank had not yet received any notification about the same from RBI.
Jesal’s mother Pramila said, “My husband reached Allahabad Bank branch in Kalina on Saturday to withdraw the money, but we were clearly told by the bank manager that they cannot give us the permission to withdraw the amount as the bank has not received any notification regarding the move.
‘Will have to borrow’
We have to pay the caterers, choreographer, decorator and few other people too and if we don’t get the money we will have to borrow the same from our relatives. We have some cash in our hand and had plans to withdraw extra cash as and when required, but now it has become very difficult for us to get the money with the marriage just a few days away,” Pramila added.
The demonetisation is also affecting caterers, decorators and pandits, who are getting last-minute cancellation calls from clients and awaiting payment. “I have around Rs 3 lakh worth of payments pending from weddings, but since the government has permitted families to withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh for weddings, we are hoping to recover the dues that are pending with the clients,” said Sudhakar Karkera.
Confusion over notification
While a photo was doing the rounds on social media stating that the govt has rolled back its notification relaxing the withdrawal limit for weddings, Shaktikanta Das, the Secretary of Economic Affairs put out this tweet last night: “No withdrawal of any concession for farmers or for weddings. Aspects of Notification 3408 now included in 3407 as a technical correction.”