NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said normalcy has been restored within few weeks of the unprecedented decision to recall 86 per cent of the currency in circulation and there is no shortage of notes in market. Currency note printing presses of Reserve Bank of India as well as Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd (SPMCIL) have worked without a break to remonetise by issuing new bank notes, he said.
Speaking at the 11th Foundation Day function of SPMCIL here, he said the easiest task during demonetisation was to pass comments and make snide remarks. "But the toughest work is to implement it. This is perhaps the biggest demonetisation drive in the world that was aimed at striking at the very root of corruption, black money and counterfeit currency," he said. Stating that people often commented that it may take up to one year or at least seven months to restore normalcy, he said the task has been achieved within few weeks.
"Normalcy has been restored within few weeks and there is no shortage (of bank notes) in market for even a day," he said. And this has been achieved "without a single incident" of unrest anywhere in the country, he said adding this was possible because of exemplary work done by printing presses of RBI and SPMCIL who kept the supply line going. "For long you have worked for 24 hours, without break and to complete it with efficiency," he told SPMCIL employees gathered on the occasion.
Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said SPMCIL fulfils a sovereign function by printing currency notes, minting coins and printing non judicial papers and stamps. "During the last one year and especially during the demonetisation period, each and every employee of SPMCIL has risen to the occasion to meet the requirement of printing of new currency notes," he said. SPMCIL initially ran two shifts, each with longer duration, he said.
"But as we went into the process of remonetisation, during the months of November and December, SPMCIL was able to run 24x7, three shifts a day. "The total quantum of notes which were printed during those days rose exponentially, that helped the government in the process of demonetisation," he said. To give pace to remonetisation, SPMCIL airlifted currency notes from its presses at Nasik and Devas to places like Kolkata, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Delhi and Lucknow, he said.
"SPMCIL has become debt-free. This also is an opportunity for the company to leverage this status and look at modernisation of old equipment (and) to increase productivity by replacement of old equipments," he added. The government had on November 8, 2016, announced demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes valued at Rs 15.45 lakh crore or about 86 per cent of the currency in circulation. It has replaced them with new currency notes of 500 and 2000 rupee denominations.