Yerevan, 24.April.2018,
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Shock as India scraps 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes

The surprise announcement by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that all 500- and 1,000-rupee notes will be scrapped has been met with shock.

Indian media described the move variously as a "surgical strike" on tax evaders in the country's overwhelmingly cash economy and a "big bang note".

On Tuesday there were serpentine queues at ATMs as people tried to withdraw 100 rupee notes, which are still legal.

Banks and ATM machines were shut on Wednesday.

The surprise move, announced on Tuesday evening, is part of a crackdown on corruption and illegal cash holdings. New 500 and 2,000 rupee denomination notes will be issued to replace those removed from circulation.

The most affected are likely to be small traders, vendors and labourers but newspapers were quick to point out that India's wedding season, due to start in a few days, will also be hit hard.

"Black money and corruption are the biggest obstacles in eradicating poverty," Mr Modi said in his address. He said that the move would "cause some hardship" but asked people to "ignore" it, calling the step a "celebration of honesty".

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