From a groom’s garland to festoons at pandals, there are few countries other than India where currency notes are used in so many ways. But such usage has the country’s central bank worried, as it leads to shortage of currency notes, especially those in smaller denominations.
The Reserve Bank of India has appealed to the public “not to use banknotes for making garlands, decorating pandals and places of worship, or for showering on personalities in social events.” An official statement issued on Wednesday said banknotes should be “respected as they are a symbol of the Sovereign and public should not misuse them so that the life of banknotes is enhanced.” Through the fiscal year ended March 2007, the central bank shredded soiled notes worth over Rs 48,000 crore.
Farrukhnagar farmer’s son Jagdeep Singh, who famously hired a helicopter for his wedding some months ago, however, says garlands of currency are part of the Indian tradition. “It is considered auspicious. But we should ensure that notes stitched with flowers remain intact,” says Singh.
The quantum of currency printed by RBI broadly depends on demand, which in turn is dependant on inflation, economic growth, and reserve stock requirements.