Field trial of plastic polymer currency in the country
In response to an application filed under the Right to Information Act, the Reserve Bank of India has informed that the government shall conduct a field trial with one billion plastic/ polymer bank notes to check the possibility of introducing plastic notes in India. The trials will be conducted in five places which have been selected on the basis of their varied geographical location and climatic conditions. They are - Mysore, Kochi, Shimla, Jaipur and Bhubaneshwar. The decision regarding the introduction of the plastic notes in the country would depend on the results of the trial.
The plastic notes have a longer life and have lesser wear and tear. The RBI has proposed such bank notes, particular the lower denominations, so to cut down the production and disposal costs. Currently, there are:
- 11,540 million pieces of Rs. 2/- and Rs. 5/-,
- 14,119 million pieces of Rs100/-,
- 10,934 million pieces of Rs. 500/- and
- 4774 million pieces of Rs. 1,000/- in circulation
As per the RTI reply, the average cost of printing notes of different denomination is as under:
- For a Rs. 500 note - Rs. 3.58
- For a Rs.1,000 note – Rs. 4.06
The RTI also indicated that the small denomination bank notes have a lower average life than bank notes in higher denomination (Rs.100, 500, 1,000). The RBI had taken certain measures to increase the life of the notes:
- Instructions to the banks recommending doing away of stapling of fresh note packets
- Directing banks to stop writing of any kind on watermark window of bank notes.