New Delhi: The Finance Ministry on Thursday said that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was now focusing on printing of Rs 500 notes which would ease the liquidity situation over the next 2-3 weeks.
“The situation has considerably improved. I expect in 2-3 weeks, the situation will ease out because of the focus on printing of Rs 500 notes,” Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das told reporters here.
Das said that initially the focus was to supply enough Rs 2,000 notes so as to replenish the demonetised notes as soon as possible.
“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.
The government is in touch with the RBI and National Bank For Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to ensure district cooperative banks have enough cash, he added.
“We are identifying rural areas from where we are getting reports of inadequate cash. Emphasis is also on greater cash to rural areas,” Das 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.
“More than two lakh ATMs already recalibrated. Larger number of ATMs are working. It is not correct that only 13 per cent ATMs are working. Have advised banks to focus on loading money in ATMs also,” Das said.
The circulation will also increase as the large amount of seized notes will also be put back in circulation as soon as possible, he said.
On the designing and security features of the new notes, Das said that the Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes have been indigenously designed which lessens the scope of counterfeiting.
“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,” he added.