RBI allays concerns on note quality

Bundles of Rs 500 notes
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday said that it maintained the quality of bank notes “well within the various tolerance parameters for dimension, placement of design, print features, etc,” and that its currency printing presses were state-of-the-art and well-documented.

The RBI’s clarification came after the opposition Congress alleged that the RBI was printing two types of Rs 500 notes, differing in size, terming it the “biggest scam of the century”.

“The currency printing presses are equipped with state of the art machinery, documented systems and technically qualified personnel through which quality control is ensured at each stage of banknote production,” the RBI said, adding there were integrated systems in place for inspecting each note.

“The stringent quality control procedures also include various online and offline systems for inspection of final product quality. Labs with specialised paper and ink testing facilities, which verifies the specification parameters are available in the presses,” the RBI clarification on its website said.

It said there were tolerance limits prescribed for certain features of the note, such as “security thread width, wandering of watermark and security thread, and cutting accuracy”.

While the RBI rarely receives complaints from the public on banknotes with features beyond the acceptable tolerance level, “a standard operating procedure is in place for dealing with such rare cases wherein each such note is examined and corrective steps taken, if necessary,” the RBI said.

Banknotes are printed in four presses. Government-owned Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL) has its press at Nashik (Maharashtra) and Dewas (Madhya Pradesh). 

The other two are owned by the RBI, through a subsidiary, Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran (BRBNML), at Mysuru (Karnataka) and Salboni (West Bengal).

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