New Delhi: The Centre has denied accusations that a Chinese company has been given a contract to print Indian currency.
The Ministry of Finance, in a statement, said, "Reports about any Chinese currency printing corporation getting any orders for printing Indian currency notes are totally baseless."
Subash Chandra Garg, secretary, Department of Economic Affairs told news agency ANI, "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."
An article in South China Morning Post titled, "Why other countries are giving China a licence to print money", has said that a Chinese state-owned company, China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, has been contracted to print currencies on huge scale of international countries including that of India.
The report further said China is printing foreign currencies as Beijing seeks to increase its influence on the world economy and geopolitics.
"Since then, the company (China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation) had seized the opportunities brought by the initiative (Belt and Road Initiative) and successfully won contracts for currency production projects in a number of countries including Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Brazil and Poland," the South China Morning Post quoted president of a state-owned firm involved in printing Indian currency among several others.
The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party sought clarification from the Narendra Modi government at the Centre following a report published in the Chinese daily.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor asked Union minister Arun Jaitley and Piyush Goyal to clarify on the issue.
"If true, this has disturbing national security implications. Not to mention making it easier for Pak to counterfeit," the Congress leader tweeted quoting another tweet carrying SCMP report.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala referred to the report and said that the report, if true, poses "grave breach of National Security".
Aam Aadmi Party national spokesperson Raghav Chanda also termed the revelation as a "big threat to India's national security" and "financial sovereignity" 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?" Raghav Chadha asked.
The report in the Chinese daily claimed that despite domestic currency demand being at its lowest, China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation has been "functioning at full capacity to deliver on international contracts".
AAP also questioned Centre's intentions behind demonetisation and making India, a cashless economy. Chadha went on to dub the Modi government's demonetisation move as "wasteful and dubious" in making India a cashless economy and said that similarly, the decision of outsourcing the printing of Indian notes to China is "counter-productive and dangerous."