The government on Thursday said that the new currency notes of Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 denominations have been designed indigenously with new security features.
“It is the first time that the design of notes is done indigenously. Earlier, Rs 500 notes were all designed outside. Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes have been entirely designed in-house. So they are much more secure. Scope of counterfeiting is far far lower,” economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das told reporters on Thursday.
Das said that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was now focusing on the printing of Rs 500 notes which would ease the liquidity situation over the next two-three weeks.
“The situation has considerably improved. I expect in 2-3 weeks, the situation will ease out because of the focus on the printing of Rs 500 notes,” he said.
He further added that the banks preferred to supply cash via branches to their own customers than through ATMs. This may partly explain the long queues in front of ATMs.
“Initial focus was to supply Rs 2,000 notes to replenish the earlier Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. Parallely, printing of Rs 500 notes had started.
“More and more production lines have been diverted for Rs 500 notes as enough stock of Rs 2,000 notes is now there. Printing of Rs 500 notes significantly stepped up so that Rs 2,000 notes become more mobile,” he said.
Das said that the process of distribution has also been further streamlined with printing presses being linked to distribution areas nearer to them.
For making adequate cash available in the rural areas, cooperative banks have been given enough money to provide for crop loans, he said.
On the ATMs not having enough cash, he said that out of 2.20 lakh ATMs, over two lakh have already been recalibrated. Many a times banks prefer to give out cash through their branches to their own customers rather than putting in the ATMs that results in no-cash in the ATMs at times, he added.
Meanwhile, the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, the government’s policy think-tank, on Thursday announced a lottery with daily, weekly and mega awards for consumers and merchants, to encourage a transition to digital payments.
The awards will be offered through two schemes — the Lucky Grahak Yojna for consumers and the Digi-dhan Vyapar Yojna for merchants at an estimated cost of Rs 340 crore, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said. Both the schemes will cover small transactions between Rs 50 and Rs 3,000 to encourage every section of society to move to digital payments, Kant explained.