Centre approved the new currency five months before the note ban, says new RTI
The note ban, first praised as a move to curb corruption and black money has wiped out 86 per cent of the currency in circulation overnight and triggered a nationwide cash crunch
The Centre government had approved the design of the new Rs 2000 and Rs 500 notes on June 7, 2016, five months before the announcement of invalidating the high denomination currencies on November 8. An RTI query to RBI made the shocking revelations.
RBI gave the astounding reply to an RTI application by NDTV. The note ban, first praised as a move to curb corruption and black money has wiped out 86 per cent of the currency in circulation overnight and triggered a nationwide cash crunch. The announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was widely criticised as crores of Indians were left without any money. The Opposition parties stormed the Parliament demanding roll back of the move and also questioning various viral photos of BJP leaders on Social media flaunting bundles of new notes. Ruling party units stashed huge sums of money in banks days before the note ban, indicating prior knowledge of the decision.
According to NDTV, RBI had approved the designs of the new notes by May 19 itslef. The Central bank refused to share further about the details of full proposal and answering the question "whether any estimate or study was undertaken by the RBI to study how long it would take to print the new 500 and 2000 rupee note".
As an explanation of the denial, the RBI said that the publicisation of the information would "prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence".
Many other RTI queries by activists, journalists and political leaders revealed that the RBI made the recommendation of demonetising the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 8, the same day PM Modi made the announcement in a televised speech.