To meet the “unusual” currency demand in the country, the government has decided to increase printing of Rs 500 notes by five times, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said here on Tuesday.
“We have taken steps to increase the supply of currency in case the demand were to go up further. To give you an example, Rs 500 notes — we print about 500 crore of notes per day. We have taken steps to raise this production five times,” Garg said at a press meet called to calm fears after reports of currency shortages emerged from several parts of the country.
“Very soon, in the next couple of days, we will have a supply of about Rs 2,500 crore worth of Rs 500 notes per day. In a month, supply would be about Rs 70,000-75,000 crore. These notes alone can more than meet the demand of any month,” he said.
Garg asserted that there was no cash crunch in the country, pointing out that currently around Rs 18 lakh crore worth of currency was in circulation — a little over what was in circulation at the time of demonetisation.
“We keep Rs 2.5-3 lakh crore more currency in stock for excess demand. In the last few days, we have pumped cash into the system to meet the demand. We still have a reserve of Rs 1.75 lakh crore.”
He said there was “unusually high demand” for currency in the last couple of months. As opposed to an average demand of about Rs 20,000 crore a month, “in the first 13 days of April itself there was a demand of Rs 45,000 crore”, he said.
Garg attributed this sudden cash demand to localised phenomenon.
“This unusual spurt in demand is seen more in some parts of the country like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We have noted that this is coming more from some parts of the country. There might also be some sort of a feeling in some people that if the cash runs out, why not keep it in reserve so it may be safe… a kind of ‘shortage mentality’. But believe us, there is no shortage, there is no cash crunch,” he said.