Fact-Check: Is Congress right in claiming that demonetisation is a ‘scam’ because BJP printed two sets of Rs 500 notes ‘secretly’?

The Congress party, which is currently fighting for its existence according to their own leader, now seems to be cooking up new controversies to keep themselves relevant. Earlier today, Congress came up with a “sensational expose” which claimed that the Modi government had carried out a “scam of the century”. Naturally, people were intrigued.

The party’s ‘expose’ led by senior leader Kapil Sibal, and supported by the TMC and Sharad Yadav, started with a bang by creating such an uproar in Rajya Sabha that it forced 4 adjournments in the first hour of proceedings in the upper house.

The main point of Congress’s attack was that the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) had printed two kinds of Rs 500 notes. Kapil Sibal alleged that these 2 types of notes had different sizes and designs, and questioned as to how it was possible. He also, as a result, claimed to have understood the real reason for the demonetisation.

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Then another senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad upped the rhetoric by stating that the nation had never printed two types of notes which meant, one was for the party (BJP) and one was for the government. He also proclaimed that the Modi government had no right to remain in office even for 5 minutes.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who is these days unhappy as party leader Nitish Kumar became an ally of BJP again, also alleged that no country in the world printed two types of notes, one of which was big and one of which was small.

This attack in itself was odd, but to explain it rationally, the Congress was alleging that the RBI was working at the behest of the ruling party and had printed one set of a currency exclusively for them which were slightly different from the other notes. This as insinuated by the Congress was done secretly and they had uncovered the whole operation.

Now thanks to vigilant Twitter users, this superfluous ‘expose’ by the Congress itself was ‘exposed’. As it turns out, this “two-note theory” was not some kind of clandestine operation undertaken by the government. As we see, there was an explicit RBI notification regarding the same was issued on 8th December 2016:

RBI notification which the Congress clearly wasn’t aware of

This notice by the RBI explicitly mentions that the bank was printing a second kind of Rs 500 note, which didn’t have any Inset letter and a couple other features. Inset letter is watermark kind of capital letter which appears on the corner of the notes which is used for identification purposes by the printing presses. It was also explicitly mentioned that the previous notes would also continue to remain a legal tender.

The notification also stated that the design of the new notes is to be similar in all respects to the new Rs 500 notes, which were issued post demonetisation, but some minor differences which were pointed out by the Congress remained.

In hindsight, the RBI might have had to print these 2 kinds of notes in order to meet the heavy printing volume, which was necessitated post demonetisation. In fact, there the central bank had accepted that there were some variants due to heavy rush and that all variants would continue to be legal tenders.

So essentially, this was known and declared, which is not how “scams” work. Naturally, various aware citizens were amused by the Congress’s self-goal:

This isn’t the only time in recent days that the Congress has tried to rake up unnecessary controversy. We had recently reported how the Congress had created a hullabaloo about the option of NOTA being included in the recent Rajya Sabha elections, which the party insinuated was designed to help the BJP. But it was soon reported how the notification was in practice from 2014 itself.


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