At least 66 Sophisticated Currency Verification and Processing (CVPS) machines are being used for counting junked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were deposited post demonetisation, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said.
A global tender has been floated for the procurement of new CVPS machines, the central bank said in reply to an RTI query on details of such machines being used for counting demonetised notes in the country.
"As on date 59 CVPS are in operation in RBI for the purpose. In addition to this, seven CVPS available with commercial banks are also being used," it said in response to the RTI application filed by a PTI correspondent.
It said seven CVPS machines were in the process of being leased, while seven others available with commercial banks were also being used.
Referring to leasing charges, the central bank said the information sought was in the nature of commercial confidence and therefore exempt from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (d) of Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
The Section bars "information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information".
In Reserve Bank offices, 59 CVPS machines are used and each machine is operated by a set of five persons under a supervisor who supervises a cluster of machines, the bank said.
"Besides, a number of other people are involved in forward and backward linkages of the processing," it said.
The government had on November 8 last year banned the use of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes but allowed holders to deposit them with banks or use them with certain notified utilities. The notes deposited or collected are being counted by the central bank at its offices to establish the total number of currency returned and to weed out fake notes.
In its annual report for 2016-17 released on August 30, it had said Rs 15.28 lakh crore, or 99 per cent of the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, have returned to the banking system.
In the annual report, which was for the year ended June 30, 2017, the central bank said only Rs 16,050 crore out of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore in the old high denomination notes have not returned.
As on November 8, 2016, there were 1,716.5 crore pieces of Rs 500 and 685.8 crore pieces of Rs 1,000 notes in circulation, totalling Rs 15.44 lakh crore, it had said.
"Subject to future corrections based on verification process when completed, the estimated value of specified bank notes received as on June 30, 2017, is Rs 15.28 trillion," RBI had said in its annual report.
While the counterfeit currency notes made for a minuscule number, RBI post demonetisation spent Rs 7,965 crore on printing new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 and other denomination notes, more than double the Rs 3,421 crore spent in the previous year, it had said.