In an attempt to end the prevailing scarcity of currency in banks across the nation following the demonetisation drive, the government is importing a high-volume limited tender of currency paper from a clutch of foreign firms, possibly by next week.
Citing finance ministry officials, who were part of a meeting chaired by Econmics Affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das, The Indian Express in its report said that the import order could be in the range 20,000 tonnes, far higher than the approximately 8,000 tonnes imported over the current year.
“It will be a huge import order, which will take care of our printing projection for a year and beyond. But it is not a record order since India relied entirely on imported currency paper in the past. Now, we manufacture most of our currency paper ourselves,” a senior official was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.
According to the report, the annual consumption of currency paper over the last few years has been in the range of 25,000 tonnes. However, officials claimed that almost 18,000 tonnes are now manufactured at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) presses.
In normal condition, there would have been sufficient currency paper stock until mid 2017. But the frantic practice of printing of replacement currency, following the demonetisation drive, has hastened the decision to import.
Following the proposal of importing a large tender of currency paper, the top officials of two foreign security paper manufacturing firms are currently visiting printing facilities in India.
Several representatives of these firms said that they expected the orders to be split among a number of companies in order to rationalise the import prices.
Meanwhile, officials at the Finance Ministry and Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited (BRBNMPL) said that the order is expected to be shared by around foreign firms who have obtained security clearance from the Home Ministry.
They include Landquart from Switzerland, Komsco from South Korea; PWPW from Poland; Arjowiggins from France; Crane from Sweden; Goznak from Russia; PT Pura from Indonesia; Fabriano from Italy and Louisenthal from Germany.
According to the report, while six of these firms have been supplying currency paper of India, others may be included in the process for the first time.