demonetisation rbi currency notes mpc meeting urjit patel
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governor R. Gandhi smiles during an interview with Reuters at RBI head office in Mumbai, India May 17, 2016.Reuters file

In a revelation that has largely gone unnoticed, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday said that it has supplied 19 billion notes of smaller denominations in 26 days, even as people continue to face shortage at ATMs and bank branches.

"As regards lower denomination notes of Rs 100, Rs 50, Rs 20 and Rs 10, the Reserve Bank, over its counters and through bank branches all over the country, has supplied 19.1 billion pieces of denominations in this period (Rs 100 – 8.5 billion pieces, Rs 50 – 1.8 billion, Rs 20 – 3.1 billion and Rs 10 – 5.7 billion). This is more than what the Reserve Bank had supplied to the public in the whole of last three years," R Gandhi, deputy governor, RBI said in a statement.

He said that facilities of both the Central government and the RBI are working relentlessly to print notes.

"The Reserve Bank and the Central Government run note presses are working to their full capacity and all efforts are being made to reach the notes to every part of the country. In fact, during this period (from 10th November 2016 to 5th December 2016), the Reserve Bank has supplied to the public banknotes of various denominations worth Rs 3.81 trillion," Gandhi said.

The statement is significant in the context of many ATMs that are still dispensing only Rs 2,000 notes, leaving customers upset when they go to withdraw money. Smaller denominations are sought after by both buyers and sellers at shops where the transaction value is generally small. Instances of some people managing to garner a large number of notes with "help" from bankers have added to the anger among the people.

"We reiterate that there is an adequate supply of notes and hoarding of notes helps nobody's cause," Gandhi said.

In another significant move, he said that close to Rs 12 lakh crore notes of demonetised notes have come back to banks since they (Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes) were declared invalid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a surprise announcement on November 8, 2016.

"Almost 11.85 lakh crore notes have been deposited so far," Gandhi said at a press conference after the 5th bi-monthly monetary policy review of the RBI's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), according to IANS.