Currency in circulation peaked to over Rs 21 lakh crore at the end of March 2019, having dipped to a mere Rs 13 lakh crore at the end of fiscal 2016-17, Parliament was informed on Monday. The value of total notes in circulation as at end of March 2019 stood at Rs 21,10,900 crore Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
In the preceding fiscal 2017-18 (fiscal ended March 2018), the notes in circulation were Rs 18,03,700 crore; while it stood at Rs 13,10,200 crore at the end of 2016-17. The value of total notes in circulation in the Indian economy stood at Rs 16,415 billion as on March 31, 2016.
Thakur was responding to a query whether currency notes in circulation increased post-demonetisation compared to pre-demonetisation levels. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced banning high value Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8, 2016 with the aim to curb black money, check terrorism and further digital economy.
On asked if the government proposed total elimination of cash from the market, Thakur said, "No such proposal regarding total elimination of cash from the market is under consideration of the government."
To a question whether government has taken note of the fact that non-availability of Rs 1,000 currency causes problems to the citizens, Thakur said the economy has already adjusted itself to the new scenario where the earlier series of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 had ceased to be a legal tender.
Fresh series of Rs 500 were issued and a new denomination of Rs 2,000 has been introduced, he added. As per the RBI's much-delayed report on how much of the junked currency was returned by public, it was found that 99.3 per cent of the invalid Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes returned to the banking system.
The RBI data on return of junked currency notes was published in its Annual Report for 2017-18. Of the Rs 15.41 lakh crore worth Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation on November 8, 2016, currency notes worth Rs 15.31 lakh crore were returned.
To a question if the government has assessed any impact for past one year on digital adoption of currency, Thakur said no formal assessment to measure the impact of Digital India programme has been conducted by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
"However, the statistics of e-transactions on e-Taal platform gives an indication of increase in digital penetration and usage of e-Government tools in India. More than 1,454 crore e-transactions have been recorded for 3,702 services since January 2019," the minister said.