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Did RBI have authority to issue Rs 2,000 and Rs 200 currency notes?

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RBI

Mumbai, Oct 28: In what could be a bizarre situation, the Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) does not seem to have any official records to prove that it had authorised the issue of new currency notes in denominations of Rs 2,000 and Rs 200, after demonetisation, according to documents available through RTI.

“As per RTI replies provided by the RBI, the country’s central bank has apparently not published any Government Resolution (GR) or a circular till date to issue the new Rs 2,000 and recently, the Rs 200 currency notes,” says Mumbai-based RTI activist M.S. Roy.

A May 19, 2016 document — roughly around six months before demonetisation — shows that the RBI’s Central Board of Directors approved a proposal put forth by its Executive Director on May 18, 2016.

This (proposal) pertained to the new designs, dimensions and denominations of future Indian bank notes, and the Board resolved to forward it to the central government for approval, as per extracts of the minutes of that Board meeting.

Essentially, this was carrying forward an earlier such proposal made on July 08, 1993 to introduce a new family of Indian bank notes of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 500 of reduced sizes.

This old proposal (July 08, 1993) was approved at an RBI Central Board Of Directors meeting on July 15, 1993 as per a memorandum dated August 3, 1993 sent from RBI’s Central Office, Mumbai, to the Chief Officer, Department Of Currency Manager (RBI Mumbai), which was signed by the then Executive Director, A P Aiyer.

As per that proposal (of July 8, 1993), these new Indian currency notes of reduced size were to incorporate several fresh and enhanced security features in order to check counterfeiting, according to the same August 3, 1993 memorandum (quoted above).

Roy had also filed a separate RTI query on February 27, 2017, asking for documentation about photographs of Mahatma Gandhi which are not being printed on the Re 1 notes, but were being printed on all currency notes of denominations ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 2,000.

In reply to this particular query, the RBI provided resolutions of its board meetings held on July 15, 1993, July 13, 1994 and May 19, 2016.

However, these resolutions talk about design features merely for Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 500, all of which bear the photographs of the Father of the Nation.

None of these RBI board resolutions make any references about design features or Mahatma Gandhi photographs for denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 2,000 and now, the latest entrant to the Indian bank notes family, the Rs 200 currency note.

Hence, Roy said that if the RBI board resolutions never even discussed design features or Mahatma Gandhi photographs to be incorporated in Rs 1,000 notes (discontinued after demonetisation), Rs 2,000 denomination notes (introduced on November 8, 2016) and the subsequent Rs 200 notes (introduced in mid-2017), it clearly indicates that no official approval was granted.

He questioned that if no approval was granted for issuing these denominations, who authorised these denominations, their design, printing and distribution.

“If there has been no approval by the RBI Board, no supporting GR or any other known documentation in the public domain, then there is a big question mark about the legal validity and official (monetary) status of these notes — namely Rs.200 and Rs.2,000. The matter merits an independent investigation,” Roy said.

However, if such approvals do indeed exist, then the RBI and government must explain why these documents were not made available despite an RTI query or why they were not in the public domain.

IANS

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Petrol costs Rs 82.44/litre in Delhi, Rs 89.80 in Mumbai

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Petrol Price

Sep 22 : Fuel prices climbed to fresh highs across the metros cities on Saturday as in Mumbai, where the fuel cost is highest due to the highest VAT, petrol prices inched up to the psychological Rs 90 a litre-mark and sold at Rs 89.80 per litre.

In the national capital, petrol was sold at Rs 82.44 per litre, up from Rs 82.32 per litre on Friday, data on the Indian Oil Corp’s website showed.

As per rates released daily by state-run Indian Oil Corp, the depreciating rupee and expensive crude oil further pushed petrol and diesel to new record highs on Monday.

Fuel prices in the country have been rising almost daily since August 1. They fell only once on August 13 and have been on record levels for over two weeks now.

Sector experts say a weak rupee and high excise duty are major factors for the rise in fuel prices.

Inflationary risks along with broadly negative global cues depressed the Indian rupee to a new low of 72.91 against the US dollar.

Also, high global crude oil cost has become a major concern for the country, which imports over 80 per cent of its oil requirements. The UK Brent crude oil price hovers around $78 per barrel.

Since the start of the calendar year, the petrol price in Delhi has gone up by over 15 per cent from Rs 69.97 on January 1, 2018. The hike in diesel price has been even more steep. It has gone up by more than 22 per cent since January 1 when it cost Rs 59.70.

Last week, the West Bengal government reduced the excise on petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre each.

The Karnataka government announced on Monday that petrol and diesel will be cheaper by Rs 2 per litre each across the state from Tuesday following the reduction in cess on these fuels.

As per the country’s pricing mechanism, the domestic fuel prices depend upon the international fuel prices on a 15-day average and the value of the rupee.

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Sensex swings 1,500 points, closes 280 points lower

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Sensex equity Nifty

Mumbai, Sep 21: High volatility, following a likely credit crisis in the infrastructure lending and development sector, dragged the market in the red, with the S&P BSE Sensex swinging in around 1,500-point range on Friday.

A plunge of over 1,100 points was witnessed on the BSE Sensex around 1 p.m, only to recover from the day’s low within few minutes. Similarly, the NSE Nifty50 also recovered after dropping below the 11,000-mark.

The sudden sell-off took place across the board with banking and financial stocks losing the most.

At 3.30 p.m, the wider NSE Nifty50 provisionally closed at 11,143.10 points, lower 91.25 points or 0.81 per cent from the previous close of 11,234.35 points.

The BSE Sensex, which had opened at 37,278.89 points, provisionally closed at 36,841.60 points, lower 279.62 points or 0.75 per cent from the previous close of 37,121.22 points.

The Sensex touched an intra-day high of 37,489.24 points and a low of 35,993.64 points.

The fourth consecutive session’s slide was triggered also by other factors, including lower possibility of the Reserve Bank of India cutting its key lending rates, analysts said.

IANS

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Man finds insect in cake at Ikea Hyderabad store, Tweets video

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IKEA Cake insect
The photo tweeted by the customer who bought a cake at IKEA's Hyderabad restaurant.

Hyderabad, Sep 21: Swedish furniture major IKEA’s first ever store in India in Hyderabad has again landed in controversy. Weeks after a customer had complained about finding a caterpillar in his biryani, ordered at Ikea’s store in Hyderabad, another customer has said that he found an insect in a chocolate cake that he ordered at the Ikea store.

The customer, Kishore, tweeted on September 12 that he found the insect inside a slice of chocolate cake while his daughter was eating the dessert at the IKEA store. He also posted a video in which an insect can be seen crawling over the chocolate cake.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has reportedly fined the Swedish furniture major Rs. 5,000 based on Kishore’s complaint.

IKEA on Thursday expressed regret over the incident. “In our Hyderabad restaurant when a customer was eating a chocolate cake which he bought, a fly was seen on the cake which eventually flew away. We regret this and apologise to our customer for the unfortunate experience. We are taking steps to avoid such occurrences,” an IKEA spokesperson said.

This is the second such incident that happened at the Ikea Hyderabad store that was opened on August 9. On September 2, a customer reported a caterpillar in the vegetable biryani supplied to him. Ikea India subsequently took vegetable biryani and samosa off its menu and apologised to the customer.

Read More: IKEA stops selling biryani, samosa after complaint

In the incident of the caterpillar in biryani, the furniture giant was fined Rs. 11,500 by the Hyderabad civic agency.

IKEA opened its first India store in Hyderabad on August 9. It has a 1,000-seater restaurant that serves a wide range of food, from Swedish to Indian snacks.

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