Weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, cash crunch still hitting the people. Though the situation is not as grim as it was a few days back, country’s politicos have mounted pressure on the central government over the issue. With an aim to mitigate the hardships faced by people and supply cash to rural areas, the Centre has deployed teams headed by senior officers to Nashik (Maharashtra) and Dewas (Madhya Pradesh) — the two locations where new currency notes are printed to personally oversee and expedite the process of printing and distribution of new notes, an Indian Express report said. The presses have been working 24×7 and the staff has been promised financial incentives to get them to work extra hours and also give up on their holidays. Sources told The Indian Express that the government has also asked the RBI, which also prints new notes at its Mysuru (Karnataka) and Salboni (West Bengal) security presses, to speed up the process. Significantly, while 65 per cent of the currency is printed at the RBI units, the rest is printed at government presses.
The teams, comprising senior functionaries of the Union Finance Ministry, are also working in tandem with various other agencies, including the Indian Air Force and commercial airlines, to ensure seamless airlifting of currency to various parts of the country. With sowing season already on, the focus is on supplying currency to rural areas. Since scarcity of Rs 500, reintroduced with a new design, and Rs 100 notes is causing problems to those who have received Rs 2,000 notes, the focus is now shifting to these denominations.
“It has come to our notice that people holding Rs 2,000 notes are facing inconvenience in getting businessmen and shopkeepers to accept these notes due to shortage of smaller currency. We are now focussing on the smaller denominations. Also, since the sowing season has started, we are going to focus more on ensuring supply of notes in rural areas,” said a source.
According to the Indian Express report, RBI presses, which are currently printing only Rs 2,000 notes, are also expected to begin printing Rs 500 denomination notes by early December, for which new machines are also being installed. The RBI has been asked to ensure adequate supply of the high-security paper on which the currency notes are printed. While admitting that there were “some issues” with the supply, sources said the government expected the situation to return to “near-normal” by December-end. ” There were some logistic issues which have mostly been sorted out,” said a source.