As the government administrative mechanism apparently fails to cope with the currency shortage following demonetisation, several Indian Army personnel has been deployed to help the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) print new notes, according to reports.
Generally the military, an instrument of “last resort” in all emergency situations, is deployed when other arms and agencies of the government are incapable of an adequate response.
According to a report by The Huffington Post, at least 400 soldiers including officers have been deployed in two security printing presses in Salboni in West Bengal and Dewas in Madhya Pradesh to help print new currency. The Dewas Security Press is printing new ₹500 currency notes whereas new ₹2,000 and ₹100 notes are being printed in Salboni.
“There are about 150-200 soldiers and officers in each of these presses,” a top official said. The troops were called in about a week ago. “They were deployed shortly after that,” the officer said.
The Ministry of Defence did not comment.
The troops deployed are from Indian Army’s Eastern and Central command. Another about 100 soldiers of the Indian Air Force are on stand-by.
According an army official, the military is carrying out “administrative duties,” of the presses, “protecting the presses” and doing other sundry duties including movement of currency. “The presses are working round the clock,” Huff Post quoted army sources.
All the persons who spoke to media asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
However, in an ironical note on Tuesday, finance minister Arun Jaitley claimed that RBI have enough cash to tackle the situation.
Ever since the Modi government had demonetized ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes on 8 November and had introduced new ₹2,000 and ₹500 notes, the country has been witnessing sheer shortage of new banknotes. Several banks and ATMs have been still running short of currencies and no respite is in sight even after 40 days.