Updated: 28/11/16 : 06:44:35
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This

world

World :: Nationwide currency protests over banned notes

Indian opposition parties say thousands will participate in nationwide protests against the government's ban on two major currency notes.

Earlier this month, the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes were banned overnight, causing chaos as people lined up at banks to exchange their old currency.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended the decision saying it was an anti-corruption measure.

But opposition parties say the move was mishandled.

Last week, they stalled parliament and demanded Mr Modi should apologise for the decision.

Correspondents say it is unclear how much public momentum a day of protests will generate as many Indians have supported the move, despite the inconveniences.

Most opposition parties have said they will participate in the so-called "day of rage".

The southern state of Kerala, ruled by the Communists, is likely to see a shutdown, while a major protest rally has been planned in the eastern city of Kolkata.

In the southern city of Bangalore, the main opposition Congress party will hold a protest march, where up to 4,000 people are expected to participate.

About 90% of India's transactions are in cash and many people don't have a bank account.

In his first national address since the government banned most existing bank-notes on Sunday, Mr Modi called on people to embrace digital payments and use less cash.

Last week, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the government's move to ban the much-used banknotes was "monumental mismanagement", and that the gross domestic product would fall "by about 2%" because of the move.

Earlier this month, Mr Modi announced that 500 and 1,000 rupee notes were no longer legal tender as part of a crackdown on corruption.

There have been chaotic scenes in India ever since the currency ban was announced two weeks ago. People have been queuing for hours outside banks and cash machines which are fast running out of money.

In some instances the police have had to be called in to manage queues of anxious customers trying to change their savings in banned notes for legal tender.