lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Name:
Location: Kolkata, India

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Don't bank on us

I'd have discovered this about a year ago, if I hadn't been putting off. We all acquire mutilated or soiled notes once in a while. I have a habit of stuffing them in a side compartment of my bag, and letting them accumulate. I always tell myself that I must change them the next time I am at the bank. But each time I either forget or the bank is too crowded, or I'm running late for something else. So they have been accumulating.

Yesterday I was at the bank, the counters weren't too crowded, and I remembered. So I asked to exchange my bad notes.

Before I go into a foaming at the mouth ranting mode, I want to tell you I have nothing against State Bank of India, my branch; they are good sorts, mostly.

But.

The man who took my notes first spread them out and arranged them according to denomination. This took a while. ( I did say they had been accumulating) Then he leaned forward. "Ah, here is what you must do, " he started.

Open-mouthed, I listened to him expound on how I was to take a white paper (he described the exact dimensions of it) , and how I was to glue it on the vertical tear in the middle of the note, let dry, and bring it back to him. He then went on to the next note. This one had multiple earlier staple punctures run together to form a sieve- like pattern at one edge. Again the procedure was explained.

After the third note, which had a half-inch tear, I stopped him. Are you saying that I have to get scissors and paper and glue, and do a school home-work sort of cut and paste project before these notes can be exchanged, I asked incredulously.

Yes.

I pointed to the notice saying that this branch accepted and exchanged mutilated and soiled notes, by order of the Reserve Bank of India. I said there was nothing about amateur bank note repairs to be carried out by the general public in it. As long as the serial numbers are clear, they had to be exchanged without question, I said.

After the necessary procedure has been followed, he said. Those are our guidelines, he said. I won't be able to exchange these notes without all that cutting and pasting, then? I said. Not in this branch, he said.

Oh, he kindly exchanged three tenners which were merely soiled.

I came home and did some research. The Reserve Bank of India has a website, after all. Their policy for exchanging mutilated and soiled currency doesn't say anything about this supposedly required doctoring of the bank notes. Nor did I find anything about it here, or here or at the State Bank of India website where they listed their services.

As I said once before, I am not a confrontational sort of person. But the idea that a bank won't exchange torn notes until the customers have done a repair job on them is an outrage.

I have written a mail to the regional director of the Reserve Bank of India, and sent a copy to the Grievance Redressal Cell.

I am not going to sit down and cut out small bits of white paper and paste them on bank notes. For all I know, the gent at the counter will then tell me it's the wrong sort of paper and won't do. Damaged they might be, but they are legal tender and a bank ought to accept them as they are and send them on to the Reserve Bank of India, not harass unsuspecting general public like this.

I will keep you informed what happens next, folks.

Cheers!

14 Comments:

Anonymous Badari Narayanan said...

I wonder if the helpful gent at the bank counter is correct in asking people to stick white paper on currency notes. If he does not mind it, I would be glad to stick two white sheets together and present it to him saying that beneath this is a five hundred rupee note : )

8:27 pm  
Blogger greensatya said...

You have done an admirable job by writing to RBI. One more thing you could have done is to complain to the manager or if they have some complaint book, put this in that. This would have made this incident come 'on record'.

Do one more thing. Write to State Bank of India that branch under "Right to Information act 2005" asking the procedures for changing the soiled notes. You will have to pay Rs10 as application fees. If you want the format of the letter under RTI or more information let me know.

Please don't take it as hyper activism but we should make use of Right to Information act.

1:54 am  
Blogger Deepali said...

My mother had the same nonsense once repeated to her at which point my no-nonsense father took over and asked for the manager loudly to show proof of where it was said so.

The Manager meekly took him in, offered chai which was declined and went to exchange it himself.

Confrontational has it's perks I guess!

2:29 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ha, Badari the enterprising.

Greensatya, thanks for the suggestion, I will definitely write to RBI once more. Thanks, too for the format. No, it is not hyper activism, but claiming citizen's rights and dues.



Dee, more power to your papa. My kind of man. :D

7:14 am  
Blogger Speech is Golden said...

I will be truly surprised if someone at RBI takes ur letter seriously and answers. (I have had some experience writing letters to grievance cells and haven't got anywhere)

7:36 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ram,
Hope springs eternal... :D

6:03 pm  
Anonymous Ash said...

You are full of angst, then. I can't expect a thoughtful post for a while then.

RBI won't reply, Speech is golden has got that right.

Get back to larking, m'lady (as Rajesh addresses you).

Let's have another post about morality and why men are indulged and women are sneered at for the same libido.

12:04 am  
Blogger Phõéníx said...

Thing is these people sit behind their little desks all day long twiddling their thumbs cooking up inventive ways to annoy you. Think The Twelve Tasks of Asterix. I have to deal with these people on a regular basis at the KMR or at the Central Library at College. One can almost sense a powerful field of stupidity as soon as you enter such a building.

When I joined college I never chose to make a library card...why? Cause I rarely read. According to a senior of mine, one does not recieve his/her graduation certificate until and unless one has cancelled all the library cards...irrespective of whether you have them! If you don't...too bad...you gotta get them made...and then cancel them!

1:36 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ash, I thought I already had my say about morality.

Phoenix, Some of the rules are so meaningless and petty, aren't they? When they are not downright vindictive, that is.

9:06 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Phoenix- Um, er. Consider the nagging service started and the meter is ticking. :D Post, will ya?

9:45 pm  
Blogger Priya said...

taking a leaf outta dee's book, i'd say you should have asked him where it was explicitly stated that it was to be done like that.

12:22 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Hello Priya,

I wish I had. I was just so gobsmacked at the rules I left in a daze. :D I intend to go and talk to the manager though.

12:58 pm  
Anonymous PTC said...

Lady,I have been doing the cut and paste handicraft,would have liked to do it for you too.And then spend the money having lunch with you :D

7:01 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

ptc, feel free to treat me to lunch when you convert your bad currrency notes, or better still, come and do the handicraft on mine. Perhaps you and Badari can share tips and craft secrets.

Seriously, welcome, and keep visiting and commenting.

12:07 am  

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