RBI refuses to disclose why new banknotes advertise Swachh Bharat mission
The central bank cited a section of the RTI Act that allows for secrecy if some information could pose a threat to national security or foreign relations.
The Reserve Bank of India has refused to disclose why the new currency notes that were issued last November after the government’s demonetisation drive had the logo and tagline of the Swachh Bharat mission, citing security reasons, PTI reported on Sunday.
In response to a Right To Information request by a PTI reporter, the central bank also refused to share rules on using banknotes to advertise government initiatives.
“The information on form, material, design and security features of banknotes, other than available in public domain, is exempt from disclosure in terms of Section 8(1)(a) of the Right to Information Act, 2005,” the RBI said. The section allows for information to not be disclosed if it could affect India’s sovereignty, security, strategic or economic interests, or relations with foreign countries, among other conditions.
The RTI request had asked for a copy of the relevant order, based on which the Swachh Bharat logo and tagline were printed on the new notes. A request to share norms or standard operating procedures for advertisements on banknotes got the response: “Indian banknotes contain design elements such as guilloche, flora pattern, motifs and security features.”
The back of the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 banknotes have the spectacles logo of the Narendra Modi government’s cleanliness initiative, and the tagline for the mission, “Ek Kadam Swachchta Ki Or [A step closer towards cleanliness]”.