The Centre on Monday denied reports that a company in China has been granted a contract to print Indian currency.
“Reports about any Chinese currency printing corporation getting any orders for printing Indian currency notes are totally baseless. Indian currency notes are being and will be printed only in Indian government and RBI currency presses,” ANI quoted Subash Chandra Garg, secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, as saying soon after a controversy broke out in this regard.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had earlier sought a clarification from the Centre on a Chinese newspaper report that made the claim. Party national spokesperson Raghav Chadha termed the revelation as a “big threat to India’s national security” and “financial sovereignty”, and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi why this information was not available in the public domain.
“What were the reasons behind approaching a foreign firm instead of assigning someone domestically? Was India approached by China, and did we succumb to pressure from them in their bid to increase their global influence?” Chadha asked.
The South China Morning Post, a Chinese financial news publication, has reported that a Chinese state-owned company, China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, has been contracted to print large quantities of international currencies — including that of India.
The report states that in 2013, Beijing launched the belt and road plan which involved 60 countries from Asia, Europe and Africa to stimulate economic growth. Liu Guisheng, president of the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, was quoted as saying that his company has since then “successfully won contracts for currency production projects in a number of countries including Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Brazil and Poland”.
Referring to the report, Chadha said that an undisclosed source was quoted as saying that some governments have asked Beijing “not to publicise the deal because they are worried such information could compromise national security or trigger unnecessary debates at home”.
The AAP leader asserted that in the light of recent hostilities between the two nations, this could lead to some “serious strategic disadvantages for India”.
The report claims that despite domestic currency demand being at its lowest, the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation has been “functioning at full capacity to deliver on international contracts”. It also states that while there was not much work until last year, there has been a sudden jump in production.
Chadha went on to say that just as the Modi government’s demonetisation move was “wasteful and dubious”, the decision of outsourcing the printing of Indian notes to China was “counter-productive and dangerous.”
“If the intent was to move towards a cashless economy, what is the objective of rolling out new currency for Rs 10? Who is the beneficiary of the expense at which the printing is being pursued?” Chadha asked.
“Another suspicious aspect of this deal is how it negates our fight against counterfeit currency. This action puts us in a vulnerable position. Will this not create more avenues for international parties for counterfeiting?” he added.
(With IANS inputs)
First Published: Aug 14, 2018 01:52 IST