In a surprise television announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, declared that all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would cease to be legal tender. It was indeed one of India’s boldest policy experiments ever. Soon after the announcement, intellectuals and analysts in India slammed the step, while public at large were gung-ho about the move. In the weeks and months after November 8, 2016, Indians formed serpentine queues to deposit old currency notes and get hold of new ones to carry on with their daily lives. Clearly, demonetisation was a drastic attempt to change the behaviour of Indians, so as to make them minimise using the cash transactions, and adopt electronic modes of transferring money. Many called it as a ‘serious shock’ to check black money and curb terror funding.
As a result of the decision, 18 billion notes (accounting for about 86 percent of country’s total money in circulation) worth more than Rs 14 lakh crore, were nullified.
You may b wondering what happened to those notes.
Reports suggest that they were sorted, shredded and recycled, by a factory in North Malabar region of Kerala, and further pressed into producing hardboard. For this, the Thiruvananthapuram unit of the Reserve Bank of India has tied up hands with Western India Plywood Limited (WIPL) in Kannur district, where the old currency will be used to make hardboard (largely used in construction and furniture industries) and soft board.
The government considered it as a safe method to dump old notes as conventional methods of charring by incineration and using it in landfills, may prove to be disastrous to the environment. The RBI shreds soiled and mutilated notes on regular basis.
Recycling dealers used shredding machines to shred the old notes to pulp and turn them into small briquettes. They are mostly cylindrical in shape. Briquette is described as a compressed block of any combustible biomass material.
The choice of using the currency notes for making hardboard proved to be smart as the paper used in these notes is of high-quality and they provide strength to the output.