Money is anything used as a medium of exchange in the form of paper money and coins. In today’s world, where digital currency is also deeply rooted, paper money and bills are still used by many people. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), also known as the apex institution, has the sole authority to issue money in India. The RBI is authorized to issue all currency bills from Rs. 10 to Rs. 2000 and all coins except the one rupee coin.
The RBI has many functions and tasks to perform, of which money printing is the most important. Currency has to be printed keeping in mind the requirements of the economy and the market situation. The RBI also designs the currency and is also responsible for putting it into circulation. The money has to be printed under strict supervision, control, and security by the authorities to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the money. The number of currencies printed for each denomination is determined based on projections of the GDP growth rate, inflation, and electronic transactions.
The Department of Currency Management (DCM) is headed by a Chief General Manager. The department has various cells for the step to be performed while printing currency. At large, we can say that in India we have four printing presses, two of which are owned by the government of India, and the other two are owned by RBI, though they both are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Ltd. (BRBNML). The government-owned presses are at Nasik and Dewas whereas, the other two presses are at Mysore and Salboni. For coins too, there are four mints, these are located in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Calcutta, and Noida.
It is generally said that the paper used, is made up using cotton and a special type of ink is used to make currency notes. Ink and paper are also imported from countries like Germany, Japan, and Britain to meet the high demands. According to the Reserve Bank, India prints 2,000 crore currency notes every year and 40% of its cost goes to the import of paper and ink. The notes are printed using a machine known as Intabeau. The notes are then watermarked.
The notes are made under appropriate security arrangements and under the close supervision of the authorities. Thus, we can say that printing currency is the most crucial function of the RBI, as they have supervise the process from the beginning to the end, an even after its circulation, RBI needs to closely observe activities to prevent counterfeiting.