Paying with plastic in India may still mean paying with real currency notes if a pilot project launched by Reserve Bank of India RBI is successful. Jaipur, Shimla, Bhubaneswar, Mysore and Kochi have been selected as trial centers for a new polymer/plastic rupee note. In the trial run, only Rs 10 denomination notes will be used. The five Indian cities were chosen because of their differences in climatic conditions providing an opportunity to see how the new currency responds to daily handling.
The RBI will also be checking for instances of counterfeiting and tampering of currency notes. Switching to a plastic material will prove more difficult for counterfeiting. More importantly, RBI is hoping to cut the high cost associated with the printing of paper currency. The average life of India’s paper currency stands around one year due to soiling and mutilation while that of more durable plastic notes would be closer to five years.
Reserve Bank of India first floated the idea back in 2009, then again in 2010, and yet again in 2011. Should the paperless money come into reality, there are several advantages for consumers and businesses:
Plastic bank notes are durable. They aren’t susceptible to easy tearing like paper notes. Plastic notes are waterproof. And, the polymer that is generally used in plastic bank notes is a biaxially-oriented polypropylene, a material which is recyclable.
Plastic bank notes have a hard texture making them much harder to counterfeit or to be scanned, reprinted, and copied. Shop keepers can concentrate on conducting business rather than looking for better notes or worrying about worthless paper notes.
If enacted country wide, India would join just seven other countries across the globe already using plastic currency.
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