The Reserve Bank on Thursday said in its annual report for 2018-19 that it is planning to introduce varnished banknotes of Rs 100 denomination on a field trial basis in order to increase the life of currency notes. The central bank said in its report that it incurred an expenditure of Rs 4,811 crore on security printing during July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019, while the expenditure stood at Rs 4,912 crore in the previous year.
The RBI had said in its 2017-18 annual report that it was trying to find ways to increase the life of Indian banknotes. "International experience suggests that varnishing of banknotes is expected to increase their life and durability, reduce the banknote replacement requirements and thereby lower the overall security printing expenditure," the RBI said.
According to RBI report, Rs 10 and Rs 100 banknotes constituted 47.2% of total banknotes in circulation at end-March 2019, while it was 51.6% at end-March 2018. Varnished banknotes are used in several countries only because they have a longer life. The RBI report also said that in terms of value, Rs 500 banknotes account for 51% of the total currency in circulation and Rs 2000 banknotes account for 31% of the total currency.
The RBI also said in its report that “Aiding Visually Impaired in Identification of Denomination of Banknote,” is also in its Agenda for 2019-20. The central bank said that it is holding consultations over developing mechanism for aiding the visually impaired in the identification of denomination of banknotes.
“Indian banknotes have several features which enable the visually impaired (colour blind, partially sighted and blind people) to identify them, viz., intaglio printing and tactile mark, variable banknote size, large numerals, variable colour, monochromatic hues and patterns. Once the old series banknotes are withdrawn from circulation, identification of the new series banknotes will automatically become easy for the visually impaired," the report read.
“As indicated in the Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies of June 6, 2018, the Reserve Bank has embarked upon exploring alternative technological solutions to help the visually impaired in identifying the denomination of banknotes,” it added.