New Delhi, July 8 : Narendra Modi government used defence assets to ferry the newly-issued Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 currency notes post-demonetisation that cost exchequer over Rs 29.41 crore.
This huge amount of expenditure was made after Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly announced to scrap the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8, 2016 that witnessed 86 per cent of the currency being sucked out of the system.
To fulfill the urgent need to transport bundles of currency from security printing presses and mints to various destinations across the country , the Modi government used IAF ultra-modern transport aircraft — the C-17 and the C-130J Super Hercules to ferry newly-issued Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 currency notes after the Rs 1,000 and the Rs 500 notes were demonetised.
The entire operation to replenish the system with the new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes the said aircraft undertook 91 sorties.
According to the response provided by the IAF, its frontline transport aircraft undertook 91 sorties to transport bundles of currency from security printing presses and mints to various destinations across the country after the Rs 1,000 and the Rs 500 notes were demonetised by the government in a sudden move on November 8, 2016. The IAF, in turn, had billed the government-owned Security Printing and Minting Corporation of and the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Ltd Rs 29.41 crore for its services.
According to Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd), who furnished the RTI reply, the government should have avoided using defence assets and instead could have easily requisitioned the services of civil transport aircraft. This situation could have been avoided, had the government fully prepared itself before making the announcement to demonetise currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 on November 8, 2016, he said.
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.