The Ministry of Finance on Monday informed Parliament that Rs 2,000 notes had not been printed in the last two years.

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader A Ganeshamurthi had asked the government whether it was aware of the fact that the circulation of the currency notes was very low and they were not available in banks and ATMs.

“Printing of banknotes of particular denomination is decided by the Government in consultation with RBI [Reserve Bank of India] to maintain desired denomination mix for facilitating transactional demand of public,” Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur said in a written response to the question. “During the years 2019-20 and 2020-21, no indent has been placed with the presses for printing of Rs 2,000 denomination bank notes.”

Thakur also highlighted that there had been a reduction in the circulation of Rs 2,000 notes. “As per the Reserve Bank of India, as against 3,362 mpcs [million pieces] of Rs 2,000 denomination banknotes in circulation on March 30, 2018, constituting 3.27% & 37.26% of NIC [notes in circulation] in terms of volume and value, respectively, 2,499 mpcs [million pieces] were in circulation on February 26, 2021, constituting 2.01% and 17.78% of NIC [notes in circulation] in terms of volume and value, respectively.”

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The Reserve Bank of India had in 2019 reportedly reduced the printing of Rs 2,000 notes to a minimum. However, Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said that the notes were being printed according to the projected requirement. “We have more than adequate notes of Rs 2,000 in the system with over 35% of notes by value in circulation being of Rs 2,000,” he had said. “There has been no decision regarding 2,000 rupee note production recently.”

The government had introduced Rs 2,000 notes after banning the old Rs 500 and the Rs 1,000 denominations on November 8, 2016.