Asia

India scraps high currency notes to fight corruption

  • This photo illustration shows a 500 rupee Indian currency note which is being withdrawn from midnight Tuesday, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. India's highest-denomination currency notes are being withdrawn immediately from circulation, the country's prime minister said Tuesday night, a surprise announcement designed to fight corruption and target people who have stashed away immense amounts of cash. As of midnight Tuesday, 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, worth about $7.50 and $15, will have no cash value, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

    This photo illustration shows a 500 rupee Indian currency note which is being withdrawn from midnight Tuesday, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. India's highest-denomination currency notes are being withdrawn immediately from circulation, the country's prime minister said Tuesday night, a surprise announcement designed to fight corruption and target people who have stashed away immense amounts of cash. As of midnight Tuesday, 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, worth about $7.50 and $15, will have no cash value, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)  (The Associated Press)

  • This photo illustration shows a 1000 rupee Indian currency note which is being withdrawn from midnight Tuesday, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. India's highest-denomination currency notes are being withdrawn immediately from circulation, the country's prime minister said Tuesday night, a surprise announcement designed to fight corruption and target people who have stashed away immense amounts of cash. As of midnight Tuesday, 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, worth about $7.50 and $15, will have no cash value, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

    This photo illustration shows a 1000 rupee Indian currency note which is being withdrawn from midnight Tuesday, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. India's highest-denomination currency notes are being withdrawn immediately from circulation, the country's prime minister said Tuesday night, a surprise announcement designed to fight corruption and target people who have stashed away immense amounts of cash. As of midnight Tuesday, 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, worth about $7.50 and $15, will have no cash value, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Indian counts currency notes of 1000 and 500 denomination in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. India's highest-denomination currency notes are being withdrawn immediately from circulation, the country's prime minister said Tuesday night, a surprise announcement designed to fight corruption and target people who have stashed away immense amounts of cash. As of midnight Tuesday, 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, worth about $7.50 and $15, will have no cash value, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

    An Indian counts currency notes of 1000 and 500 denomination in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. India's highest-denomination currency notes are being withdrawn immediately from circulation, the country's prime minister said Tuesday night, a surprise announcement designed to fight corruption and target people who have stashed away immense amounts of cash. As of midnight Tuesday, 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, worth about $7.50 and $15, will have no cash value, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)  (The Associated Press)

India's prime minister has announced the scrapping of high denomination 500 and 1,000 rupee currency notes in what he describes as a major step in the battle against undeclared earnings, corruption and fake currency.

Narendra Modi in a speech carried live on radio and television on Tuesday reassured citizens, saying people will be able to deposit these notes into their bank accounts until Dec. 30. Also, Modi said people would be exempted for some time when purchasing medicine and buying airline and rail tickets.

Modi said new 500 and 2,000 Indian rupees notes would be issued soon.

In an indirect reference to Pakistan, Modi accused the neighboring country of circulating fake Indian currency notes to damage its economy.