New Delhi, Dec 15: People can use old Rs 500 notes for paying utility bills or buying medicines till tonight, as the government has decided not to extend exemptions beyond December 15. At the same time, mobile recharge facility with old Rs 500 notes will not be available.
However, people can deposit invalid Rs 500 currency in their bank accounts. "Exemptions for use of old Rs 500 notes will end on December 15 midnight," Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das had tweeted.
That means old 500 currency notes will not be acceptable at medicine shops and for paying public utility services such as payment of electricity and water bill etc.
The government had already withdrawn some of the relaxations such as booking railway or plane tickets and payment at petrol pump and toll plaza by using the old Rs 500 notes. While cancelling legal tender of 500 and 1,000 notes on November 8, the government had allowed them to be used for utility bill payments for the first 72 hours.
This deadline was extended repeatedly and the last extension was granted until December 15. In between, the government withdrew use of 1,000 rupee notes for utility bill payments and discontinued use of even 500 ones for services like purchase of petrol and diesel at petrol pumps as well as buying air tickets at airport counters.
Since the demonetisation announcement, the government has been pushing towards promoting digital transactions and has come out with a package to incentivise cashless payments. Now petrol, railway tickets and insurance policies of PSU companies will cost less if bought through debit/credit cards or other digital modes.
The government also waived service tax for payments up to Rs 2,000 made through cards and decided to do away with transaction fee for payment to the central government departments and PSUs.