RBI currency press refuses to disclose printing capacity

New Delhi: The currency note printing press of Reserve Bank of India has refused to disclose its printing capacity, even as similar information is available on its website.

Responding to an RTI application by Pune-based activist Vihar Dhurve, Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited cited 8(1)(a) of the Right to Information Act to deny information.

The section allows a public authority to withhold the information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence.

The website of the press, however, mentions “the present capacity for both the presses is 16 billion note pieces per year on a 2-shift basis.”

In his application, Dhurve had sought to know the printing capacity to print new currency notes of Rs 2000 and Rs 500.

Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited operates two currency note press, one at Mysore in Karnataka and the other at Salboni in West Bengal.

In an earlier response to a separate RTI application, the press had refused to give details of preparedness to tackle crisis arising out of the sudden demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes on November 8, 2016.

According to Finance Ministry, the value demonetised currency was Rs 15.44 lakh crore.

The RBI has not been denying information about currency situation in the country and its preparedness in the wake of demonetisation citing one exemption or the other.

The monetary policy regulator had refused to give reasons, sought under the RTI Act, behind the decision to demonetise Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes.

It had also refused to give any details about the time it will take to replenish the currency notes.

The subsidiary was established 21 years ago with an aim to augment currency printing capacity of RBI “to bridge the gap between the supply and demand for bank notes in the country”.