The Army is planning to request the government to allow its soldiers deployed in remote areas to deposit and exchange Rs 500 and Rs1,000 currency notes at banks beyond the December 31 deadline as part of the demonetisation drive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A large number of soldiers from the Army are deployed in remote areas such as Siachen and Line of Control and have cash amount of around Rs 30,000-40,000 kept with their families at village homes for either marriage of kin or construction of house there.
“Many of them don’t have a family member who can go to the bank and get the money exchanged or deposited at the banks. So, we are planning to request the government if they can be given some relaxation in the deadline for depositing or exchanging old notes,” a senior Army source toldMail Today.
Under the present situation along the Line of Control and international border, the force cannot even send the soldiers on leave only for this purpose of note exchange, the sources said.
SITUATION AT BORDER
The situation on the LoC has been heating up since the September 18 attack in Uri by terrorists in which 19 soldiers were killed in the wee hours when they were resting in the 12 Brigade camp area in tents near fuel dump. In some places, even leaves of soldiers were cancelled as they were required to be on the front. At many places, the vigil during both day and night has been so strict that soldiers have not even got time to get the notes with them exchanged at banks due to their deployment in the remote locations.
“If we get a waiver, this will be a big relief for our troops as they can do their jobs without the worry of losing their hardearned money in the drive,” the source said.
The Indian Army has a strength of around 1.3 million soldiers who are deployed across the most inhospitable and remote terrain. Majority of the soldiers belong to rural areas where people generally prefer transactions in cash for marriage and construction of houses.
As per the guidelines issued by the Reserve Bank of India, the exchange of old 1,000 and 500 rupee banknotes will no longer be accepted from Friday, the government said, but the use of Rs500 notes for certain transactions has been extended till December 15. The Centre, which allowed a window of a fortnight to exchange these currency notes over the counter, has decided not to extend the facility given a decline in exchange transactions.