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1.5 years on: Why RBI is so clueless about demonetised currency

Ashok Upadhyay
Ashok UpadhyayJun 10, 2018 | 19:10

1.5 years on: Why RBI is so clueless about demonetised currency

The RBI’s silence on the issue is quite intriguing.

On August 30, 2017, the Reserve Bank of India declared in its annual report (2016-17) that about 99 per cent of the demonetised currency had come back to the banking system.

On November 8, 2016 the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes was announced.

According to this annual report, Rs 15.28 lakh crore of the demonetised currency of Rs 15.44 lakh crore returned to the banking system within June 30, 2018.

Almost a year later, the Central bank hasn’t been able to take forward its count.

rbi_061018062500.jpgIn last one year, RBI couldn’t count the remaining Rs 0.16 lakh crore notes

This can be one of the conclusions of the RBI’s response to the Right to Information (RTI) query sent by India Today.

How much of the demonetised Rs1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes came back to system? The apex bank was asked.

rti_061018065058.jpgIn reply to India Today's RTI, RBI said it doesn't know the amount of demonetised Indian currency Nepal's banking system has

rti2_061018065126.jpg

“Subject to future corrections, if any, arising in the course of verification process, the estimated value of SBNs (specified bank notes) received as on June 30, 2017, is Rs15.28 trillion”. This is RBI’s reply.

The RBI took eight months to count notes worth Rs 15.28 lakh crore. And in last one year, it couldn’t count the remaining Rs 0.16 lakh crore notes.

It is also possible that the remaining amount may not have come back to the system. The RBI’s silence on the issue is quite intriguing.

Both Nepal and Bhutan have significant reserves and usage of the Indian currency.

modi-oli_061018062520.jpgNepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli demanded that India should exchange Rs 950 crore of demonetised notes 

Though Indian rupee is not a legal tender for financial transactions in Nepal, it is widely in use in the country.

Last month, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Nepal visit, the issue came up for discussion.

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli demanded that India should exchange Rs 950 crore of demonetised notes stuck in the banking system of Nepal.

But, there has been no agreement on how to exchange the demonetised bank notes.

According to Nepal Rastra Bank officials, the RBI verbally agreed to allow every Nepalese to exchange up to Rs 4,500 worth of scrapped Indian bank notes in a meeting last March. But nothing materialised.

notes_inside_061018062545.jpgThe RBI’s silence on the issue is quite intriguing

In the RTI query, India Today also asked the RBI the number/amount of demonetised Indian currency lying in Nepal.

“Information sought is not available with us,” RBI replied.

Has the Nepal Rastra Bank given an assessment of demonetised currency?

So far, how much of these currency notes have been converted into new currency notes by India?

These are some of the other questions asked. The RBI refused to reveal any information saying such disclosure is exempted under the RTI Act.

The apex bank also refused to reveal how much demonetised currency is with Bhutan.

Last updated: June 10, 2018 | 19:12
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