Friday, 20 July, 2018


India Moves to Ease Fears Over Run on Rupees

Conrad Doyle | 19 April, 2018, 00:06

'There is no need for supplying Rs 2,000 notes as it is in over supply.

In its letter to the RBI on Wednesday, the Maha Gujarat Bank Employees' Association has sought for urgent intervention of the apex bank to avoid tensions in the branches due to shortage of cash. There is also a severe shortage of Rs 2,000 denomination currency notes as the supply of these notes have been stalled by the Reserve Bank of India since 2017 and to top this even public deposits have dried up. "These notes alone can more than meet the demand of any month", he said.

On paper, the total worth of Rs 2,000 notes in circulation as of today is Rs 6.7 lakh crore.

Some ATMs downed shutters with No cash and Out of service messages, prompting the government to move currency from surplus regions.

Many people in the political circles are of the view that due to upcoming elections in several states, political parties have begun hoarding notes. An SBI ATM near Gandhi Maidan had only Rs 100 notes at around 3 pm on Tuesday.

A 9.8 per cent nominal GDP growth would have taken the currency available with the public to Rs 19.4 trillion by March 2018, as against the actual availability of Rs 17.5 trillion, it said, stressing that the gap of Rs 1.9 trillion is not the shortfall. But, off late, we have noted somewhat lesser inflow coming back from circulation.

According to Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, there are multiple factors including tendency to hoard cash - and it is stronger in some parts of the country - which led to the situation.

The Reserve Bank said on Tuesday there was no shortage of currency in the system even though it has ramped up printing of notes at its four presses. The whole sale market and APMCs [Agricultural Produce Market Committee] are facing issues because of the big cash crunch.

The Spokesperson of the Bank Officers Association Ashwini Ranas categoric statement corroborates this. Though the number of users is increasing, a more pragmatic option would be to educate on migrating to digital modes of payments to avoid similar situation and save precious time, Singh added.

As the word of cash shortage spread, people started drawing more for exigency. Economist and India Equity Strategist for Credit Suisse, Neelkanth Mishra, said that it was not "unusual" for currency demand to rise in the first half of April.

To remedy the demand supply mismatch, the government has made a decision to speed up the printing of Rs 500 notes.

When asked about its ATMs, private sector Axis Bank said it has enough cash, which is "better than the industry average and there is no such crisis".

"We have reviewed the currency situation in the country. The temporary shortage caused by "sudden and unusual increase" (in demand) in some areas is being tackled quickly", Jaitley said. The government is also analysing the demand pattern in the states.

The finance ministry did not explain the sudden increase in demand for cash, and did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

Bankers say the s hortage is because of the increasing demand in cash ahead of the kharif sowing season.

An insider in the business said, "there is no shortage of cash".

The finance minister's assurance did not help much as fear of living without cash in the coming days badly haunted people.

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