Time to cash in on currency waste

AHMEDABAD: Around 86% of currency in circulation was withdrawn on November 8 last year when demonetization was announced, according to the Reserve Bank of India data.

When these retired notes are destroyed in specialized machines, an average of 7 tonnes of currency waste is generated at each RBI centre across the country daily, according to estimates provided by Kusters Engineering, a global manufacturer of custom-designed currency disintegration systems.

To put such a huge volume of currency waste to productive and environmentally sustainable use, Kusters Engineering and the National Institute of Design announced a national competition — 'Value of Money' — on Thursday. Ideas for putting currency waste to productive mass-market use have been invited from art and design students across India. The competition was launched by CM Vijay Rupani. The first round of the entries will be evaluated on June 20. Sylvia Laurensse, the strategic innovation manager of Kusters Engineering, said: "Through the competition, we are looking for ideas to implement industrial solutions for using the enormous amount of demonetized currency waste." Laurensse said: "Therefore, the winning teams will not only get cash prizes but Kusters Engineering will also help to industrially implement design ideas." According to Kusters Engineering data, it will take around two years to crush the entire lot of demonetized currency working at the current pace of destroying around seven tonnes every day. "Around 16,486 million pieces of 500 and 1,000 denomination notes were in circulation in 2014; 18,740 million in 2015; and 22,033 million in 2016," said Jose Philip, director, Kusters Engineering India. "This amounts to a total of 57,259 million pieces of currency notes which were retired over the past three years that need to be destroyed."

Jayant K Dash, the regional director of the RBI who was present at the launch event, said: "Until around 10 years ago, we used to pay an average of Rs 30 to dispose of a bag of 50kg of currency waste. As people began to realize the potential of this waste, we started making Rs 100 per bag of 50kg waste. This shows there is a huge value chain attached to these currency notes ," Dash said.

(From: TNN | Updated: May 19, 2017, 05.33 AM IST)

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