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Flaws exposed by note ban spur currency press revamp
With the sudden demonetisation decision exposing its chinks, the country’s currency printing system is undergoing a complete overhaul, officials say.
The system’s capabilities were put to the severest test during last year’s demonetisation, with millions of people standing in queues for long to get their quota of currency because the supply of new notes was slow in coming. The Centre is focussing on the expansion, indigenisation and up-gradation of currency presses and paper mills, a top official said.
Burdened by the outdated technology of the printing presses and limited paper mill capabilities, the currency note printing system lagged way behind the demand long after the demonetisation process, announced last November, had concluded. As a spillover, the government is now working towards strengthening the country’s currency printing system, the official, who sought anonymity, said.
While new note printing lines will be added at the Nashik and Dewas printing presses by 2018-end, the paper mills will get two additional lines to help India head on to self-sufficiency and indigenisation.
“We are going to have new lines. We are planning up gradation of both Nashik and Dewas printing presses. It’s a two year process; so it will happen by the end of 2018,” a top government official said, not wishing to be identified. “It is under process right now. To update the printing machinery, the process is on for global tendering for up gradation of facilities. The process of printing notes will be through more efficient technology in the new lines. It will be able to take 1,0002,000 extra sheets at a time. The machine capacity currently is 8,000 sheets per hour,” he said.
India has four currency note printing presses — two RBI presses in Mysuru (Karnataka) and Salboni (West Bengal) and two Security Printing and Minting Corp of India Ltd (SPMCIL) presses in Nashik (Maharashtra) and Dewas (Madhya Pradesh). SPMCIL is a Centre-owned company formed in 2006.