RBI seeks more time for final count of scrapped notes


NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has promised to make public the total quantum and value of  scrapped notes that have been deposited in banks and post offices across the country at the end of the 50 days, beginning November 8, 2016, asked for by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, the Central Bank has refused to fix a date on which it will release this data but has sought a few more days to reconcile invalid currency to physical balance. Once the numbers of Specified Bank Notes (old Rs 500/ Rs 1000) deposited in the banks is released, the public will know if the number matches the currency printed by RBI.

If the amount exceeds the amount that was printed and circulated, then a few questions will have to be answered — is the excess fake currency or has it been double counted? If the amount is less — then what is the quantum that tax authorities need to look for.  Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal on November 29, 2016 told Rajya Sabha that there were 17,165 million notes of Rs 500 denomination and 6,858 million notes of Rs 1,000 denomination in circulation on November 8, 2016. Going by this figure, total value of notes demonetised is Rs 15.44 lakh crore (Rs 8.58 lakh crore in Rs 500 and Rs 6.86 lakh crore in Rs 1,000). There have already been estimates —  the RBI is speculated to have received deposits close to Rs 15 lakh crore till December 30. “Now that the Scheme has come to an end… these figures would need to be reconciled with the physical cash balances to eliminate accounting errors/ possible double counts etc,” said RBI. The Finance Ministry also acknowledged the possibility of double counting. The RBI however, has clarified that till the exercise is completed, any estimate may not indicate the actual numbers of the SBNs returned.

“We would like to clarify that the periodical SBN figures released… were based on aggregation of accounting entries done at the large number of Currency Chests all over the country. .. RBI is taking all steps to complete the process expeditiously so as to release firm figures of SBNs received at an early date,” it said in its official statement.

“There is no doubt that all the money in circulation will have come back, at least it will be above 98%, but the Googly will be if the amount exceeds, then RBI will have a lot of explaining to do,” said Aamirullah Khan, senior economist at Amity University.