Replying to a question whether the government intends to replace or add photos of other leaders on currency notes, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said “a Committee was formed during UPA which has already decided that there is no need to change Mahatma Gandhi’s photo on the currency notes.”
During Question Hour, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said “the government takes a decision from time to time in consultation with the RBI” on what currency to be circulated. “The design and security features of banknotes are decided by the Government from time to time, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The decision about the circulation of banknotes in the country is taken by the RBI,” he said.
Asked whether government proposed to introduce a currency note or coin on B R Ambedkar to mark his 125th birth anniversary, Meghwal said government has already issued a non-circulation commemorative coin of Rs 125 and a circulation coin of Rs 10 denomination to mark 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, which was released by Prime Minister on December 6, 2015.
“I assure you that as per demand, we would increase the circulation of Rs 10 denomination coins bearing Ambedkar’s picture. We will work towards providing more such coins,” he told the members.
Jaitley, in reply to a question whether the government plans to introduce plastic currency notes, said “RBI has decided to procure the plastic substrate through open tender process for printing of plastic banknotes for trial purpose and accordingly initiated the process of procurement. Pre- qualification bid has been floated for the purpose.”
Meanwhile, fake currency notes with face value of a staggering amount of Rs 400 crore are in circulation across the country, a government-mandated study has found. The study on Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) issues, including estimation of FICN in circulation, was conducted by Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata under the overall supervision of NIA (National Investigation Agency).
“As per the study, the face value of FICN in circulation was found to be about Rs 400 crore. It was found the value remained constant for the last four years,” Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question. To check the menace of counterfeiting of banknotes, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs, Reserve Bank, security and intelligence agencies of the Centre and states are working in tandem to thwart the illegal activities related to FICN, Meghwal said.