Feb 18, 2017 11:07 AM IST | Source:

Did RBI print Patel signature notes when Rajan was still Guv?

The new notes bear RBI governor Urjit Patel's signature but the process of printing began before he took office, according to a report in Hindustan Times.

Moneycontrol Bureau

The process of printing the new 2,000-rupee currency notes, which came into circulation last November, started much earlier while Raghuram Rajan was still the Reserve Bank of India's Governor, according to a report in Hindustan Times.

The report quotes two RBI presses as saying that they began the “first stage” of the printing process on August 22, which was the first working day after the government named Urjit Patel as Rajan’s successor. Patel took over nearly a fortnight later, but his signature still features on the Rs 2,000 bills instead of Rajan.

It is unclear whether Rajan was aware of the decision to introduce the new notes. In December, the RBI told a parliamentary panel that it received permission to print Rs 2,000 notes on June 7 last year – when Rajan was still in office – and the presses were advised to initiate production. However, the printing process began only two-and-a-half months later.

In response to a Right to Information (RTI) applicatiom, Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran (P) Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of the RBI, said the company started the printing process for the redesigned Rs 500 notes only on November 23, two weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to do away with the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in circulation. The note ban had triggered an immediate cash crisis.

The note ban decision raised several doubts about the RBI's autonomy. Rajan's silence on the issue and his decision not to extend his tenure led to speculation that he was not on board with the move.

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