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The government has gone back on its decision to halt production of coins entirely, and has asked the four mints in the country to restart production, albeit at a slower pace, industry sources said on Saturday. It has directed the state-run Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) — which runs the four government mints in Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Noida — to work on a single shift, instead of the usual two, and keep minting coins of different denominations. “We have started minting of coins from yesterday (Friday). We have been asked to produce coins of all denominations,” said Bijan Dey, vice-president, Calcutta Mint Employees Association. The official said that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had given an indent of 7,712 million coin pieces to the government mints for 2017-18, of which 5,900 million units have already been produced. The mints are expected to meet the target in the remaining two-and-a-half months of the current fiscal.
The RBI picks up the coins and banknotes from the mints for distribution in the market.The government had halted coin production from January 9 owing to a glut in the market and lack of storage space. In its order, the government had asked SPMCIL to stop production and circulation coins with immediate effect and urged the mints to follow normal working hours “without any overtime for staff” for printing of banknotes only. The directive did not go down well with the mint workers, as the order would have affected their pay. The official said representations were made to the Centre following which the government decided to restart production of coins. Earlier, RBI sources had said that the calibration of coin production needs to take place from time to time based on an assessment of the coins in circulation and storage space. Production was stopped since there was no space with banks or the Reserve Bank of India to store the coins. The SPMCIL notice, a copy of which is available with the PTI, had also said that as on January 8 this year, there was an inventory of 2,528 million pieces of circulation coins lying in the government mints which were not picked up by the RBI.