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Union clean chit to clean notes

Calcutta, June 9: A key union of bank employees has agreed to go along with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its drive to dish out clean currency notes to people.

RBI governor Bimal Jalan today met the members of the United Forum of Bank Unions, which had been opposing the clean-note policy on the ground that it leaves employees vulnerable to the risk of loss or shortage. It wants a degree of protection against the pitfalls.

Though most banks have started implementing the order, some have run into resistance from employee unions. The RBI, however, believes that the protest against unstapled currency notes is based on frivolous grounds.

The RBI has issued the directive under Section 35 A of the Banking Regulation Act. According to this law, stapling of currency notes thwarts the objective of providing clean notes to public and to weed out soiled ones.

Multiple stapling mutilates and damages currency, besides making it difficult for the RBI’s new currency verification and processing system to sort out soiled notes.

“A free exchange of views took place at the meeting between the forum and the central bank. The governor said the RBI was keen to implement its clean-note policy for the benefit of people, who deserve clean notes. There is no intention to cause difficulty to bank staff or customers,” a spokesperson for the Reserve Bank said.

The union, she said, told the RBI about difficulties bank staff face in implementing the policy. It was agreed that bank management, unions and the RBI will work together to supply good notes to members of the public.

RBI has decided to do way with the practice of stapling currency notes, but left it up to the managements to decide how to go about it. There are several methods, other than stapling, to secure packed currency notes.

“Paper or polythene bands can be used to bundle currency notes,” said a senior RBI official. Currency bundles can be handled adequately for the accuracy of count without stapling, and endorsing the number, the RBI said.

Banks can identify the branch and the employee who counted notes, even if they are not stapled. Identification slips can be tagged to note bundles wrapped in paper or polythene bands. Most countries do not staple their currencies, said a senior bank official.

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