As the country prepares to mark November 8 as the first anniversary of the demonetisation drive by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Sunday said the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bills returned to banks are still being “processed in all earnest” through a sophisticated currency verification system.
According to a PTI report, the central bank in reply to an RTI query said that it has processed about 1,134 crore pieces of Rs 500 notes and 524.90 crore pieces of Rs 1,000 junked notes, having face value of Rs 5.67 lakh crore and Rs 5.24 lakh crore respectively, as on September 30. The combined value of the processed notes is Rs 10.91 lakh crore approximately, it added.
The RBI stated that specified bank notes are being processed in “all earnest in double shift on all available machines (sophisticated counting machines)”.
On being asked about the deadline for completing the counting exercise, it said, “The verification of notes withdrawn from the circulation is an ongoing process”. It further said that at least 66 Sophisticated Currency Verification and Processing (CVPS) machines were being used for counting of junked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were deposited with various banks post demonetisation.
Last year, the Narendra Modi-led central government announced the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation, saying that it was aimed at curbing the menace of corruption and black money which have taken deep root. Following the announcement, the government allowed the holders of these currency bills to deposit them with banks or use them at certain notified utilities.
The deposited notes were then verified by the central bank at its offices to establish the total number of currency bills returned and to weed out those that are fake.
Several opposition parties including the Congress have announced the first anniversary of demonetisation, as ‘Black Day’ and would hold protests across the country to highlight its “ill-effects” on the economy. At the same time, to counter the opposition protest, the ruling BJP has decided to observe the note ban anniversary as “anti-black money day”.
Earlier, in its annual report for 2016-17 released on August 30, the RBI had said Rs 15.28 lakh crore, or 99 per cent of the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, have returned to the banking system. The central bank added that only Rs 16,050 crore out of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore in old high-denomination notes have not returned.
As on November 8, 2016, there were 1,716.5 crore pieces of Rs 500 and 685.8 crore pieces of Rs 1,000 notes in circulation, totalling Rs 15.44 lakh crore, it had said.
“Subject to future corrections based on verification process when completed, the estimated value of specified bank notes received as on June 30, 2017, is Rs 15.28 trillion,” RBI had said in the annual report.
While the counterfeit currency notes made for a paltry number, RBI, after the exercise of demonetisation, shelled out Rs 7,965 crore on printing new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 bills and notes of other denominations, more than double the Rs 3,421 crore spent in the previous year, it said.
WITH PTI INPUTS