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To Tackle Cash Crunch, Banks in India disbursing Soiled Currency Notes, sprayed with Perfume and Insecticides

Such soiled and damaged notes are usually returned to banks and sent to RBI offices where they are ferried to dumping sites

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Indian Currency, Pixabay

New Delhi, November 19, 2016: Battling an unprecedented cash crunch after the government spiked high-value currency notes, banks at various places have been receiving soiled Rs 100 notes for disbursal that were otherwise supposed to be dumped after being taken out of circulation years ago.

Many customers in Delhi complained to IANS that they received some of these soiled and almost mouldy currency notes that in the odd case even smelt bad.

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A bank manager, who wished not to be named, told IANS: “The RBI is sending old 100-rupee notes stored for years but not destroyed, These notes smell. We are spraying them with perfumes and insecticides before disbursing them.”

The manager said that a large number of 100-rupee notes worth millions of rupees have been returned for circulation to narrow down the huge cash demand-supply gap after the November 8 demonetisation of 500- and 1,000-rupee notes — which accounted for 86 per cent of the currency in circulation.

As a normal practice, such soiled and damaged notes are usually returned to banks and sent to RBI offices where they are put into shredder machines and ferried to dumping sites.

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However, it appears that the central bank may not have dumped some of these notes in years and these have now come to the RBI’s rescue in these times of a severe cash crunch.

Long queues outside banks and ATMs continued for the ninth day on Saturday with people jostling to get cash to meet their daily needs.

Although the Finance Ministry and the RBI insist that there are sufficient number of new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes to replace the estimated Rs 14.5 lakh crore sucked out of the economy by the demonetisation, there is clear evidence of a shortage.

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While some attribute this to logistical issues — the problem of getting the new notes to bank branches across the country — others have made calculations, based on the printing capacity of the four currency presses in the country, to contend that the demand-supply mismatch will take anywhere between six and nine months to bridge. (IANS)

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RBI May Recoup Reserves, Strong Inflow of Foreign Funds And Benign Oil Prices Strengthening Indian Currency

A major factor supporting the rupee is the strong prospect of better fund flows from abroad.

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Experts now see a chance for the RBI to recoup the reserves it spent in 2018 defending the rupee. Pixabay

A strong inflow of foreign funds and benign oil prices have strengthened the Indian currency but what has worked best for the rupee is the fading impact of war hysteria. Experts now see a chance for the RBI to recoup the reserves it spent in 2018 defending the rupee.

Putting a number to this, Gurang Somaiya, currency analyst at Motilal Oswal, said: “It is possible that RBI may limit some of the appreciation and recoup some of its lost reserves… but it may only come if the rupee strengthens to around Rs 68.20 a dollar.”

Explaining the factors at play, Anindya Banerjee, Deputy Vice President for Currency and Interest Rates with Kotak Securities, said: “Post-Abhinandan (shooting down of the IAF pilot), geopolitical risk has subsided which has boosted investor sentiments.”

oil prices
The decline in crude oil, which accounts for a large import bill for India, directly affects the exchange rates.
Pixabay

Banerjee added that the gains of the rupee will help the Reserve Bank of India recoup reserves which it lost last year in a bid to arrest its fall.

“The rupee appreciated and closed at 70.14 for the last week on the back of strong flows and fading impact of war hysteria,” said Sajal Gupta, Head Forex and Rates, Edelweiss Securities.

In addition, Gupta said that some “big flows are lined up next week. Maybe Arcelor Mittal money can hit the Indian markets which can lead to some more appreciation towards 69.50 unless the RBI intervenes”.

However, the rising dollar index is causing nervousness and any breakout may lead to a reversal in the rupee’s trend, said Gupta. Somaiya said that RBI may choose not to intervene as the central bank’s prime aim was to arrest volatility.

“Yes the rupee is inching below the 70-a-dollar mark but then the (general) election can cause massive volatility. Also, it is seen that a lot of central banks are getting into a dovish stance owing to the fears of global slowdown.”

The RBI had to stop the slump in the rupee late last year after it touched an all-time high of 74.47 on October 11 following the rising crude oil prices.

dollar
However, the rising dollar index is causing nervousness and any breakout may lead to a reversal in the rupee’s trend, said Gupta. Somaiya said that RBI may choose not to intervene as the central bank’s prime aim was to arrest volatility. Pixabay

The Brent Crude touched $86-a-barrel mark in early October but started to ease following the US decision to exempt 8 countries, including India and China, to continue buying oil for six months from Iran despite sanctions.

The decline in crude oil, which accounts for a large import bill for India, directly affects the exchange rates.

A major factor supporting the rupee is the strong prospect of better fund flows from abroad.

Also Read: The Dining Table Starts Turning To The DIEning Table, Is Eating Alone Healthy?

“Inflows into India have clearly turned positive since the end of January. The flows in February at Rs 17,720 crore is the highest since November 2017. The trigger for this inflows is the dovish statement that came from the Fed at the end of January,” said V.K. Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

India’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $401.78 billion as against $393.13 billion in November last year. As the data suggests, with improving macros, the forex is already on the recovery path. (IANS)