Here is a quick low down on how to exchange your demonetised currency without having to endure long queues and election ink. Of course, not all of these methods are strictly official.
Pay off your BSNL mobile and landline bills. Top up your currency if you are a pre-paid subscriber.
Book a railway ticket: The Indian Railways are accepting these notes at their counters. But don’t get too smart, like the guy who wanted platform tickets worth Rs 10 by furnishing Rs 1,000. The railway counters are already reeling under a shortage of change; go there only if you are genuinely travelling. And cancellations are not encouraged, just in case one thought it was an easy way to convert small amounts of black into white.
Post offices: In the wake of demonetisation, these long forgotten institutions come to your aid – buy envelopes, stamps, and greeting cards, and for those with accounts, pay for your Monthly Income Schemes, Recurring Deposits and other miscellaneous services. Do not, however, expect any change back.
Property tax: Most municipal corporations demand property tax in advance or at the beginning of the financial year. In case you have missed the April 30, 2016 deadline, now is the time to catch up. Also, take the opportunity to pay last year’s dues or all unpaid taxes at one shot, no questions asked. You may have to endure a small fine, at most.
Bank services: Pay your recurring deposits, loan instalments, and overdraft accounts and deposit up to Rs 2.5 lakh without worrying about the taxman. But remember, for cash deposits over Rs 50,000, a photocopy of your PAN card is a must.
Pay your electricity bill: Some ESCOMs are accepting old currency for not just dues, but also for other services like new power connections and upgrades, changes of ownership and even a year’s advance against this financial year’s electricity bills.
Water bills: Piped water may come to your house only once or twice a week, but the monthly bill is certainly a blessing in disguise. There are, surely, thousands of consumers who have a couple of months’ bills pending. Make the best of this opportunity.
If you are in Bengaluru, the metropolitan transport corporation is selling a special Rs 500 city bus pass, valid till November 24 midnight. It was introduced on November 14 and is valid on all buses except the BMTC’s aircon services. Finish up all your work in the city and feel proud that you’ve left behind a smaller carbon footprint.
If your vehicle can tank up on old currency, you can tank up too! Don’t despair at being left without your daily tipple. Many bars and liquor joints are accepting old currency; make the most of it before their spirit of giving runs out. Only, don’t drink and drive.
Rumours are doing the rounds that certain bus conductors are playing Good Samaritan by exchanging Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency for Rs 100s. However, they are also charging a hefty 10 percent commission for this kindness. It might be best not to ask the conductor, as chances are that both parties may end up counting bars.
Athithi Devo Bhava: Apparently, the Indian Railways catering contractors are accepting Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes on running trains as many travellers have been caught unawares by the government’s move. Kiosks at railway stations are also accepting these notes, even giving back change.
Many traders are also accepting demonetised currencies as cash payments, knowing that they can eventually get them deposited or changed in banks once the rush eases.
So, don’t rush to banks for an exchange just yet. Count the notes and divide the blessings!