lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Don't bank on us, Part 2

Folks, I said I'd keep you informed about my bad bank notes

(For those of you who came in late: I tried to change my soiled and mutilated currency notes at my bank a couple of weeks ago; I was told I had to stick white paper on the tears and rips and repair them before they can be exchanged. I wrote to Reserve Bank of India and asked about their policy.)

Here is the letter I wrote:

Soiled mutilated currency notes

B Mahapatra,
Regional Director,
Reserve Bank of India,

Dear Sir,

Yesterday, I tried to exchange a few soiled and mutilated currency notes at the Southern Avenue Branch of State bank of India.

I was told that I had to stick white paper on the puncture from earlier staples that caused the mutilation, and do the same for cuts and torn edges before they could be exchanged.

Nowhere in your website did I come across any instructions to general public that they had to repair the notes in an amateur fashion before they could be exchanged.

Is this in fact a policy of the Reserve Bank? If so, why are there no notices about it in banks, so that customers can take note?

This is causing inconvenience and harassing the public, rather than a helpful service.

I'd be grateful to hear from you what my course of action should now be.

cc to P K Mahapatra, Grievance Redressal Cell

I got a mail yesterday from an official of the Reserve Bank of India:

Smt. Lalita Mukherjea


Exchange of soiled / mutilated notes

- the procedure to be followed by the customer

We acknowledge with thanks your e–mail dated May 30, 2006 on the above subject. With regard to your concerns about the deficiency in customer service extended by banks while exchanging of mutilated notes, we advise that the banks have instructions to provide good quality gum / papers for pasting mutilated notes as also to display a suitable notice in this regard. We have reiterated our instructions to all banks.

Yours faithfully ,

( S.N. Das )


Issue Department

I have several points to make:

The subject is 'procedures to be followed by the customer', but there is no mention of the procedures.

There is no reference to their policy at all.

The letter doesn't clearly state whether Reserve Bank of India expects mutilated currency to be patched up and mended before they will exchange it.

The letter does not even acknowledge my question, let alone answer it.

So RBI is going to make sure good quality gum and paper are in plentiful supply in all banks, and that is all. (Will they provide scissors too, or do they think people go about carrying them?) Is this a tacit admission that it is indeed their policy that customers must repair the currency notes before exchanging them?

Why not admit it and state it clearly?

It seems that they prefer, nay indeed expect, that an ordinary citizen to do cut out reasonable sized pieces of paper and stick them on to legal tender before any bank will deign to exchange them, but can't direct me to where it is written down in plain words.

In fact, my letter seems to have only made RBI send more circulars (if that) to all banks (more trees dying for bureaucracy and red tape). And all they will do is put up more notices about how to exchange mutilated or soiled currency.

So if I want those notes exchanged for good currency notes, I will have to sit down and devote time for a mending project. It will involve cut and paste, whether at home or at a counter in at the bank.

Is this for real?

Isn't tampering with currency notes some sort of a crime? I used to have an idea defacing a currency note was a something of a crime, but RBI is now advising me that I had better do that to exchange my bad notes.

What is wrong with this picture?

In writing this, I went back to the original post and found that one of the links I gave is opening, and another leading to 404 error.

I am mortified that some of you may have clicked on the links and been irritated by what happened next; I am mystified, too. I am not very well versed in this links stuff, so I double check before I post. I checked before I posted originally and they worked fine. I am giving the links here again, and can somebody tell me what I did wrong?,453,102,505



Anonymous Badari Narayanan said...

If this is the policy RBI follows, it is truly shameful. The mail is certainly not encouraging. Hope more and more shops switch over to net banking (transcations using cards).

9:26 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Badari- Hi there, nice to have you back.

How will credit card transactions help, Badari? For people who deal in cash economy and try to deposit their painstakingly saved money into a laboriously opened account only to be told that the notes are not acceptable? This happened to my maid. So I know what I am talking about.

11:25 pm  
Anonymous priya said...

gawd, what? they're sorry for not providing adequate material to tack notes up with? i have a suggestion on that front... they should encourage use of cellotape, it's easier on the eyes.
i have an uncle who works in RBI, and he once told me that banks are the places where new notes are brought into circulation, and that the mutilated notes are crushed to bits and the bits are used some vague purpose i dont remember.
in the light of that, i dont see the point in tacking up notes with white paper.

2:28 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Priya- But why do we have to do it at all? That is my grouse.

Bad currency is destroyed by RBI anyhow, so why ask for patch-up jobs from public? Did you notice how the letter totally avoided stating their policy?

3:40 pm  
Anonymous Ash said...

This is a sorry reflection on RBI's image. They want repaired currency. That much is clear.

I clicked on your earlier links. and I'm mystified too. Are you sure you got them right?

10:32 pm  
Anonymous priya said...

hey, why dont you write a letter regarding this to one or more newspapers? Maybe you'll start off ToI making a survey, or a sting operation, or some such sensation.

12:26 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ash- I wish I knew what happened. Any techie reader willing to explain what I did wrong is welcome to do so.

Priya- Writing to newspapers is what I do to vent, but I don't mail those letters. It's pointless, as they never published a single letter that I did mail. :D

Starting off a campaign or a crusade sounds like fun, but is probably hard work. Now that is anathema.

12:59 pm  
Anonymous priya said...

just try it this once.... ToI, from what impression I've got of them, would simply lap it up.

9:28 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Priya- The bank saga needs a third and final part. I will post about it soon. ToI or the Telegraph do seem to make crusades out of issues don't they?

9:49 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. /body>