NEW DELHI: Transporting the newly issued currency of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 through Indian Air Force’s ultra-modern aircraft cost the public exchequer over Rs 29.41 crore following demonetisation.
An RTI reply has disclosed that the IAF had raised bills to ferry the currency in its frontline transport aircraft, C-17 and the C-130J Super Hercules, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation on November 8, 2016.
The move saw 86 per cent of currency being sucked out of the system, needing an urgent operation to replenish it with the new notes.
In an RTI response to Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd), the IAF said it has billed the government-owned Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India and the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Ltd to the tune of Rs 29.41 crore for its services.
The reply disclosed that the IAF aircraft undertook 91 sorties to transport bundles of currency from Security Printing presses and mints to various destinations across the country post-demonetisation.
After the note-ban the Reserve Bank of India had spent Rs 7,965 crore in 2016-17 on printing the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes, and those of other denomination, more than double the Rs 3,421
crore it had spent in the previous year.
The demonetisation was hailed as a step that would curb black money, corruption and check counterfeit currency, but the RBI, in its annual report for 2017, had said just 7.1 pieces of Rs 500 note per million in circulation and 19.1 pieces of Rs 1,000 notes per million in circulation were found to be fake in its sample survey.
The Bankers’ Bank had said that as much as 99 per cent of the junked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes had returned to the banking system, which had prompted the opposition to question the efficacy of the government’s unprecedented note ban decision to curb black money and corruption. Following the note ban, old notes were allowed to be deposited in banks, with unusual deposits coming under the Income Tax department’s scrutiny.
A collateral damage as a result of rise in printing and other cost was dividend RBI pays to the government.
‘No hidden demons’
The IAF had raised bills to ferry the currency in its aircraft.
IAF aircraft undertook 91 sorties to transport bundles of currency.
The details were revealed in an RTI response to Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd).