The cost of printing currency notes increased by over 43% during the year demonetisation was introduced, a comparison of figures presented by the government shows. During 2015-16, the year prior to demonetisation, the expenditure incurred by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on printing of currency notes was Rs 3,421 crore. In 2016-17, this rose to Rs 7,965 crore; in 2017-18, it came down to Rs 4,912 crore, according to a statement tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in response to a question by Rajya Sabha MP Elamaram Kareem (CPM). Demonetisation was announced on November 8, 2016.
In addition to the expenditure on printing, remittance of currency cost a further Rs 109 crore in 2015-16, Rs 147 crore in 2016-17 and Rs 115 crore in 2017-18, the government said. While Kareem had wanted to know the expenditure incurred in recalling and destroying Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes; the response said this has not been shown separately in the RBI accounts.
In response to another part of Kareem’s question, Jaitley said State Bank of India has reported that three staff members and a customer died during the period of demonetisation while other public-sector banks had reported no such information. The families of the deceased were paid compensation of Rs 44,06,869, including Rs 3 lakh to the customer’s family.
In a separate question, Samajwadi Party members Ravi Prakash Verma and Neeraj Shekhar asked whether the Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes printed after demonetisation have become unusable due to poor paper quality and the inability of ATM sensors to recognise them. Minister of State (Finance) Pon Radhakrishnan said these notes are expected to have normal life as the manufacturing processes and raw materials are the same as those used in earlier currency notes, although some design elements have been changed in the new banknotes. The question of ATMs not being able to recognise them does not arise, Radhakrishnan said.
This Word Means
Nationally Determined Contributions: NDCs feature at international climate conferences, including in Katowice. What are these contributions?
Heard very often in the context of the just-concluded climate change conference in Katowice (Poland), NDCs or nationally determined contributions is an expression that refers to the climate actions that every country needs to take under the Paris Agreement. The phrase “nationally determined” emphasises the fact that countries themselves decide what actions to take, unlike the scenario in the previous agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, in which a few countries were assigned specific targets. And “contributions”, because each country’s actions is only a small part of the global effort against climate change.
Countries are free to decide for themselves what actions they can take to help in the global fight against climate change, in line with their resources and capacities. So, richer and developed countries are expected, but not compelled, to take much stronger action than others. The climate actions included in its NDC by any country cannot be questioned by others, either on grounds of strength, or on grounds of adequacy in the global effort. But its progress can be reviewed.
Currently, many countries have proposed NDCs that run until 2025, while others, including India, have proposed NDCs that go on until 2030. Countries are supposed to update their NDCs after those timelines, if not earlier, with fresh and stronger NDCs. India has made three main promises in its NDC — that it will reduce its emission intensity, or the emission per unit of GDP by 33% to 35% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, that it will ensure that at least 40% of its electricity in 2030 will come from non-fossil fuel sources, and that it will create 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of additional carbon sink through forests.