Money & Banking

Codenamed HD: how the pink note was born

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 14, 2016

Women display their new ₹2,000 notes, in Dhanbad, Jharkhand   -  PTI

HD would mean High Definition to most, but the acronym has now acquired a special status in the Indian currency ecosystem — the cartons that contained the newly printed ₹2,000 notes came marked with these letters.

Codenamed HD, or high denomination, the ₹2,000 notes were printed in Bank Note Paper Mill India Private Limited, Mysuru, which opened in 2015-16. The new press is a joint venture of RBI’s Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited and Ministry of Finance’s Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited.

While the Mysuru mill commenced operations in November 2015 (with two production lines), commercial production began in April and July this year. The process of printing the ₹2,000 notes in Mysuru started around June, just around the time when the ₹1,000 notes were discontinued from printing.

The cartons that were packed with the ₹2,000 notes were marked as HD — say ₹500 and HD; or ₹100 and HD. It is another matter that people whose job involved moving and handling high security goods are trained not to ask questions about the contents of the boxes.

The past five years have seen a sharp jump in ₹1,000 notes. Between 2011 and 2016, there was a 109 per cent jump in circulation of ₹1,000 notes and 76 per cent jump in ₹500 notes, according to the Department of Economic Affairs.

One of the reasons India decided to print these notes was to deal with fake currency. Pakistan reportedly has a printing press in Quetta, which is used to print Indian currency. The idea was to disable the value of ₹1,000 and ₹500 note, which account for almost 86 per cent value of notes in circulation, said sources. Also, two days ago, police busted a gang transporting ₹1,000 and ₹500 notes in Nepal. This is despite the fact that use of Indian ₹500 and ₹1000 is banned in Nepal since 2005, making it clear that the Pakistan-printed notes were being pumped in through the Nepal route.

Funeral for old notes

So where will our ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes go? They will go back to RBI, be chopped in shredders and then given a funeral in incinerators.

And while the ₹1,000 in their new avatar will reappear, it may be a while before they start coming in as the design is yet to be finalised. Meanwhile, the printing of ₹2000 notes have stopped at Mysuru, it is learnt.

India’s currency notes are printed in Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited at Mysuru and Salboni (near Mednapore in West Bengal), and Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited’s Currency Note Press at Nashik and Bank Note Press at Dewas.

India Security Press, Nashik, and Security Printing Press, Hyderabad, print non-currency security material such as passport, visa, IT refund orders, identity cards for higher officials, and warrants, among other things.

Published on November 14, 2016
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