The Reserve Bank will soon introduce varnished currency notes of ₹100 denomination on a field trial basis. This was stated by the central bank in its annual report for 2018-19. Varnished notes help increase the life of currency notes.
The RBI said that it incurred an expenditure of ₹4,811 crore on security printing during July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 as compared to ₹4,912 crore in the previous year.
In its 2017-18 annual report, the RBI had noted that it was exploring the feasibility of increasing the life of Indian banknotes. “International experience suggests that varnishing of banknotes is expected to increase their life and durability, reduce the banknote replacement requirements and thereby lower the overall security printing expenditure,” the RBI said.
In volume terms, ₹10 and ₹100 banknotes constituted 47.2% of total banknotes in circulation at end-March 2019 as against 51.6% at end-March 2018.
The RBI also said that the value and volume of banknotes in circulation increased by 17% and 6.2% to ₹21.1 lakh crore and 10,875.9 crore pieces, respectively, during 2018-19. In value terms, the share of ₹500 and ₹2000 currency notes, which had together accounted for 80.2% of the total value of banknotes in circulation at end-March 2018, increased to 82.2% at end-March 2019. There was a sharp increase in the value of ₹500 banknotes in circulation—from 42.9% to 51% over the year.
The RBI in its 2018-19 annual report also said that it will develop a mechanism/device for aiding the visually impaired in identification of denomination of banknotes.