The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday said it is reconciling invalid currency with physical cash balance and will release the numbers on the quantum of high value notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 deposited in banks and post offices at the earliest after a Bloomberg report said that 97 per cent of the old bank notes have been returned at the end of December.
“The RBI has already initiated this process and till this is completed any estimate may not indicate the actual numbers of the SBNs that have been returned. The RBI is taking all steps to complete the process expeditiously so as to release firm figures of SBNs received at an early date,” a release issued by the RBI said.
“We would like to clarify that the periodical specified bank notes (SBNs) figures released by us were based on aggregation of accounting entries done at the large number of currency chests all over the country. Now that the scheme has come to an end on December 30, 2016, these figures would need to be reconciled with the physical cash balances to eliminate accounting errors/possible double counts etc,” the RBI said.
Banks have received Rs 14.97 lakh crore ($220 billion) as on December 30, the deadline for handing in the old bank notes, a Bloomberg report had on Wednesday said quoting people who were not identified. The government had initially estimated that about Rs 5 lakh crore of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore rendered worthless by the sudden move on November 9 to remain undeclared as it may have escaped the tax net illegally, known locally as black money, it said.
On December 30, the RBI had asked all banks including cooperatives to report details of deposits of old Rs 500/1,000 notes to it after the close of banking hours. The Finance Ministry had said that there were lots of areas where double counting could have happened. The government on November 9 demonetised old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes worth Rs 15.44 lakh crore, 86 per cent of the total currency in circulation.
The RBI last released the figures almost three weeks ago. SBNs of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 returned to the RBI and currency chests amounted to Rs 12.44 lakh crore as on December 10, 2016, the RBI had said in a statement.
Bank of America-Merrill Lynch on Wednesday nearly halved its estimate of RBI dividend from black cash money not returned to banks to Rs 50,000 crore from Rs 95,000 crore earlier, as banks are reported to have collected over Rs 14 lakh crore out of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore in demonetised notes deposits by December 19. Earlier, analysts had made projections that Rs 1 to 1.5 lakh crore — 10 per cent of the demonetised notes (valued at Rs 15.44 lakh crore) — would not come back to the banking system. Some analysts also estimated that close to Rs 3 lakh crore may not return to the banking system.