Coronavirus: RBI pumps Rs 1.2 lakh cr fresh currency into system
The Reserve Bank has pumped Rs 1.2 lakh crore of fresh currency into the system in last 45 days since the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Friday.
Automated teller machines and business correspondents, who take banking services to far flung areas, are also working at high capacity levels to ensure financial services reach everybody, he said.
The comments on currency come amid media reports of a Rs 86,000 crore jump in currency circulation in March and also a greater tendency among people to withdraw to hoard cash amid the lockdown.
"Regional offices of the RBI have supplied fresh currency of Rs 1.2 lakh crore from March 1 till April 14 to currency chests across the country to meet increased demand for currency in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic," Das said in a video message on social media.
He lauded banks for ensuring that ATMs are refilled regularly despite the logistical challenges during the lockdown, and pointed out that there has not been any downtime in internet or mobile banking during the crisis.
The governor said banks have been required to put in place business continuity plans to operate from their disaster recovery (DR) sites, or identify alternate locations for critical operations so that there is no disruption in customer services.
Das said 150 officials from the RBI are in quarantine, but they are looking after currency functions like in circulation, retail and wholesale payment and settlement systems, reserve management, financial markets and liquidity management, financial regulation and supervision, and a host of other services available so that "the nation may survive COVID-19".
In a bid to boost the economy, Das earlier today said banks will be exempted from making dividend payments for the time-being so that there is adequate liquidity in the system.
The RB, earlier this month, announced an increase in the ways and means advances (WMA) limit of states by 30 percent.
It has now been decided to increase the WMA limit of states by 60 percent, over and above the level as on March 31, 2020, to provide greater comfort to the states for undertaking COVID-19 containment and mitigation efforts, and to plan their market borrowing programmes better. The increased limit will be available till September 30, 2020.
Edited by Aparajita Saxena