Coronavirus Can Spread Via Currency Notes? RBI Is Not Denying This Possibility!
As the COVID-19 pandemic is upon us, people have switched to digital transactions out of the fear that COVID-19 transmits through currency notes.
Well, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) isn’t denying the possibility!
Read on to know more about why RBI thinks so…
RBI Hints At Spread of Virus Through Currency Notes!
In March, the traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had questioned the Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman on March 9, 2020, through a letter seeking clarity on the issue of currency notes being possible carriers of viruses included COVID-19.
The letter was forwarded to the RBI. The RBI responded on October 3, via an email.
On Sunday, the CAIT said in a statement that RBI has hinted “hinted that ‘the currency notes could be carriers of bacteria and viruses including Covid virus.’”
Trader Body Concerned About Traders Being Vulnerable to COVID-19!
The statement cited CAIT National President B.C. Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal as saying, “RBI could not deny the fact and their reply fully indicates that the currency notes do carry viruses and bacteria.”
Bharti and Khandelwal also said, “The traders across the country are most vulnerable since handling of cash currency constitutes a major component of their businesses. Being alarmed by this fact, the CAIT has sent several communications in the past one year to Union Health Minister & Institute Council of Medical Research (ICMR) but they didn’t even bothered to even acknowledge the letters.”
RBI’s Actual Response!
However, RBI, in its response said, “In this (currency notes carrying Covid-19 and other viruses) connection, we inform that the Reserve Bank, in terms of its clean note policy, provides good quality banknotes to the members of the public. With this objective in view, the banknotes received back from circulation are examined and those fit for circulation are reissued while the others (soiled and mutilated) are destroyed so as to maintain the quality of banknotes in circulation.”
RBI has also encouraged people to avoid usage of currency notes and use digital payment options such as NEFT, IMPS, UPI, and BBPS through online platforms like mobile banking, internet banking, cards, and so forth as much as possible.
Further RBI said, “Information on the introduction of any new type of banknotes will be shared in the public domain, at the appropriate time,” RBI added.
In its annual report released on August 29, 2019, RBI had said that the value of banknotes in circulation increased by 17% to Rs 21,109 billion and the volume increased by 6.2% to 1,08,759 million pieces during 2018-19.