The Reserve Bank of India has supplied Rs 5 lakh crore worth of new currency notes to the banking system, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the Supreme Court on Thursday. In addition to this, Rs 2.5 lakh crore in old and valid currency remains in circulation, he added.
The comments came at the hearing of a case related to the government’s decision to withdraw the legal tender status of notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination. The decision left the country grappling with a cash crunch as enough new notes to compensate for those withdrawn had not been printed. 86 percent or Rs 15.4 lakh crore of currency was withdrawn from a total of Rs 17.97 lakh crore in circulation.
Data provided by the Attorney General suggests that the valid currency in circulation is now at about 42 percent of the currency that was in circulation before the demonetisation.
The Numbers So Far
- Rs 15.4 lakh crore in currency withdrawn as part of the demonetisation.
- Rs 13 lakh crore in invalid currency has come back to banks.
- Rs 5 lakh crore in new currency has been released to banks.
- Rs 2.5 lakh crore in old currency remains in circulation.
At a separate briefing, economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das said the focus right now is on printing new Rs 500 notes. He did not provide any data on how many of these notes have already been printed.
The lack of adequate supplies of Rs 500 notes has also made it difficult for citizens to use the Rs 2,000 notes since lower denomination notes are in short supply.
Printing of Rs 500 notes has been significantly stepped up, said Das.
Commenting on the availability of lower denomination notes, Das said that Rs 1.6 lakh crore worth of Rs 100 notes were in circulation on November 8. Since then, another Rs 80,000 crore worth of Rs 100 notes have been supplied.
He added that the government is trying to ensure supply of cash to rural areas where there are complaints of inadequate currency. Wherever necessary, cash is being airlifted, said Das. Also currency is being supplied to cooperative banks to ensure adequate supply to farmers.
Investigating Suspicious Deposits
The government is closely tracking any high value suspicious deposits, said Das while adding that the revenue department is narrowing down their search and investigating such cases.
Over the past week, a number of reports have surfaced on large of amounts of cash being seized and also on alleged collusion of bank officials on high value deposits which may be unaccounted for.