By Vidya : The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has submitted an affidavit in the Bombay High Court, stating that the mere printing of existing currency notes costs more than Rs 4,000 crores, and introducing new currency notes would be even more expensive.

The affidavit was in response to a petition filed by the National Association for the Blind (NAB), claiming that the new currency notes issued by RBI a few years ago are difficult for visually impaired individuals to identify due to changes in their physical features.

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According to the RBI, introducing a new series of banknotes is a massive undertaking that requires careful consideration. Having multiple series of banknotes with different sizes and features for the same denomination could cause more confusion than solve the problem. The annual expenditure on security printing for 2022-23 is Rs 4,682.80 crore, which includes printing notes to replace old and damaged ones and meet the increased demand for banknotes.
The RBI further stated that the cost of introducing a new series of banknotes would be even higher than the current expenditure.

The central bank assured that it has taken all necessary steps to address the grievance raised by the NAB and is diligently examining the issue. Work on the next series of banknotes has been ongoing since 2017, and feedback from representatives of two national-level associations of visually impaired individuals has been taken into consideration. The RBI intends to factor in the concerns raised by these associations while designing the next series of banknotes.

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Advocates representing NAB, Uday Warunjikar and Sumit Kate, pointed out that the affidavit did not specify the exact steps being taken by the RBI to introduce the new series.

In response to the affidavit, the court has asked NAB to provide their response. Additionally, RBI has been directed to clarify the specific measures it will undertake to address the issues highlighted in the petition. The case will be heard again in October.

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