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Need to move towards plastic currency: FM Jaitley

 The Hawk |  2015-06-03 10:28:03.0  0  Comments

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday made a case for greater use of plastic currency even as he stressed that development of new facilities at Hoshangabad and Mysore would help in reducing reliance on imports for printing of currency notes. "The developed world has moved substantially to plastic currency and payment gateways. I think there is need for India and our determination is there to gradually take steps to move in that direction," he said. Jaitley was speaking at a conference on 'Make in India - Indigenisation of Currency' here. The minister said that the country needed to get rid of "obsolete methodologies" and catch up with the technologies of future to promote industrialisation and create jobs. The plastic currency refers to the usage of credit and debit cards. It also reduces reliance on paper currency notes. Meanwhile, Jaitley said that development of paper manufacturing facilities at Hoshangabad and Mysore would help in printing currency notes on domestically produced paper and promote 'Make In India' initiative of the Modi government. "It's about time that we start at least printing our own currency with our own ink and paper. It is not merely symbolism. It also represents a thought process where there is a desire to bring back Indian manufacturing at a particular level," he said. Jaitley last week inaugurated the New Bank Note Paper Line with an annual capacity of 6,000 tonnes at the Security Paper Mill (SPM) at Hosanghabad. The minister also made a case for development of industrial corridors saying that it would help in generating jobs in the rural areas. Observing that India missed industrial revolution in the past, Jaitley said that the industry now must focus on producing quality products at competitive price for the global market. The government's Make In India initiative is aimed at making the country a hub for manufacturing goods for the global market. "It is extremely important that you make quality products cheaper...You don't only cater to our own consumers. You should also cater to consumers in other countries," he said, adding that large economies like China have benefited by focusing on core competencies and low cost manufacturing. "Time is running against us and therefore we cannot merely be satisfied with a slow incremental growth in manufacturing," Jaitley said, adding that there was a need to shift labour from agriculture sector to manufacturing. Narendra Modi had in April made a case for use of Indian paper and ink to print currency notes as part of the 'Make In India' campaign. "Can we not fix a date...That on any specific date, whatever currency is being printed, paper will be Indian and ink will also be Indian," Modi had said. Speaking at the conference today, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said there are 30 billion bank notes that are printed in India today and with the indigenous currency paper we should also aim to meet the global needs. "To meet global needs innovation is also required. We have to continuously improve the security features of the bank notes to stay a step ahead of counterfeiters. We have to match in the cost and security features," he said. Sinha said since India is moving quickly towards a cashless economy, the RBI will be soon issuing licences on Payments Bank. He said a cashless economy can facilitate volumes of transactions through a variety of institutions -- telecom operators or postal service-- and do transactions at a tremendously low cost. PTI

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