Printers expected a New Year launch for new notes, caught unawares

Top SPMCIL officials told The Sunday Express that they were expecting a New Year launch for the new notes, which were being printed in three shifts at two of its security presses from September onwards.

Written by Ritu Sarin | New Delhi | Updated: November 13, 2016 9:00 am
A brand new Rs 2000 currency note. (Express Photo by Arul Horizon) A brand new Rs 2000 currency note. (Express Photo by Arul Horizon)

While both Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the Reserve Bank of India have been at pains to emphasise that there is “sufficient stock” in the 4,400-odd currency chests located all over the country, officials of a key currency printer, the Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL), admit the launch date for the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes caught them unawares. Top SPMCIL officials told The Sunday Express that they were expecting a New Year launch for the new notes, which were being printed in three shifts at two of its security presses from September onwards.

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“The date in our minds was either December 31 or January 1 and we were surely surprised with the announcement that the new notes would have to be distributed in banks from November 10. And when this was done simultaneously with the banning of the existing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the redistribution process became even more complex,” said a senior SPMCIL official.

From September onwards, the official said, SPMCIL’s security presses – in Dewas in Madhya Pradesh and Nashik in Maharashtra – have been loading the new Rs 500 notes into currency chests. The new Rs 2,000 notes are being printed almost entirely in the two security presses of the RBI’s subsidiary, the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited – one in Mysuru in Karnataka and the other in Salboni, West Bengal. Together, the four security presses have a production capacity of over three billion “pieces” of currency every month.

On Monday, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das chaired a high-level meeting in the Finance Ministry that reviewed the distribution of the new currency notes to banks as well as the withdrawals from ATMs. The meeting was attended by top officials of the RBI, SPMCIL, Intelligence Bureau, State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank.

At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that all security provisions for the safe transportation of currency consignments from currency chests to banks were in place and that state governments, too, were cooperating. For instance, Jharkhand and Bihar have pressed into service helicopters for the safe transportation of currency.

Though India produces some amount of current paper indigenously in its new Security Paper Mills in Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, and in Mysuru, a large percentage of the currency paper and ink are still imported from a clutch of foreign firms.

In 2011, the RBI cancelled all supplies of the British currency paper major, De La Rue, following deficiencies that had cropped up in the security features. In April 2016, the Panama Paper investigations, published by The Indian Express, revealed the names of two Indian “agents”, who worked for foreign companies that supplied currency paper to India.

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  1. G
    Great Game
    Nov 13, 2016 at 4:52 pm
    Are our new currency notes printed by blacklisted British company De la Rue who gave fake notes to stan? De la Rue was banned in India and blacklisted for its links with stan. Was this ban lifted? If so when and why? Did GoI pay ransom to terrorists to save its CEO Roberto Giori during the Kandhar plane hijack? Read all about The Secret World Of Indian Currency Printers
    Reply
    1. A
      AKG
      Nov 13, 2016 at 2:44 am
      Seems you have loads of cash...
      Reply
      1. T
        True Indian
        Nov 13, 2016 at 4:41 am
        Everything works under the impression of pseudo-nationaism
        Reply
        1. T
          True Indian
          Nov 13, 2016 at 4:38 am
          You die for the nation, if you don't get the treatment because of lack of planning of demonization process, if you don't have food for a week, you are bearing the burden of the nation, if you are left unemplo, you are also bearing the burden of national security
          Reply
          1. M
            mathimathi
            Nov 13, 2016 at 7:51 am
            Why can't the FM "Make in Color xerox machines" to xerox Rs.2000
            Reply
            1. V
              Vihari Naidu
              Nov 13, 2016 at 2:12 am
              That explains why this Tughlaq decision was taken. Nothing was planned properly. Even ATMs don't support these notes for another 2 weeks.
              Reply
              1. T
                tushar
                Nov 13, 2016 at 7:36 am
                I am the quick decision by our great PM was forced upon him due to suion that currency replacement news may leak out.. case that happened the black money culprits may have laughed and opposition too would have capitalized on the possible leakage. During such times even if half prepared, he had to stick his neck out and go for the surgical economic strike.
                Reply
                1. S
                  Swadeshi
                  Nov 13, 2016 at 3:32 am
                  People like you are not ready to share the burden of action for national security ...gone are the days when people of East Asia donated there everything to azad hind govt for liberation. People have become extreme selfish.
                  Reply
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