The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the deadline to exchange pre-2005 currency notes to June 30, 2015 from the earlier deadline of January 1, 2015. The central bank in a notification on Tuesday said that the notes could be exchanged for their full value till June 30. It has also clarified that all such notes continue to remain legal tender. Explaining the rationale behind withdrawing the pre-2005 notes from circulation it said, “…the notes in Mahatma Gandhi series have been in circulation for a decade. A majority of the old notes have also been withdrawn through bank branches. It has, therefore, decided to withdraw the remaining old design notes from circulation.” In March 2014, RBI had announced all currency notes issued prior to 2005 will be withdrawn from circulation. Banks were told to exchange any number of notes for both customers and non-customers.
Earlier, RBI had set a deadline of July 1 for exchanging the notes, after which banks would exchange the notes only for their customers and non-customers had to furnish proof of identity and residence. But subsequently this deadline was extended to January 2015 which has now been revised again to June-end next year. It is easy to identify pre-2005 notes, as they do not have the year of printing on the reverse side. In the notes issued after 2005, the year of printing is visible at the bottom of the reverse side. Post-2005 notes have added additional security features and help curbing the menace of fake currency. In its March circular, RBI had also told banks to stop re-issue of pre-2005 series notes over the counters/through ATMs. Those exchanging the notes will get the full value of the money in return. The RBI says on its website that coins in the denomination of 1 paise, 2 paise, 3 paise, 5 paise, 10 paise, 20 paise and 25 paise have been withdrawn from circulation with effect from June 30, 2011 and are, therefore, no more legal tender. Even bank notes of Rs 1, 2 and 5 continue to be legal tender, though these denominations have been coinised and their printing has been discontinued.