What are the pre-2005 series banknotes?
The RBI, India’s central bank issued Mahatma Gandhi series (MG series) 2005 banknotes in the denomination of ` 10,` 20,`50, `100,` 500 and`1000. These notes contain some additional / new security features as compared to the 1996 MG series. All banknotes issued before the 2005 MG series are called as Pre-2005 Series banknotes.
How can one distinguish the pre-2005 series banknotes?
Apart from the additional security features, the 2005 MG series banknotes have the year of printing on the reverse of the notes in the lower middle portion. Banknotes printed before 2005 do not have the year of printing on the reverse side and hence can be easily distinguished.
Why has RBI decided to withdraw pre-2005 series banknotes?
RBI decided to withdraw from circulation all banknotes issued prior to 2005 as they have fewer security features as compared to banknotes printed after 2005. The withdrawal exercise is in conformity with the standard international practice of not having multiple series of notes in circulation at the same time. The RBI has already been withdrawing these banknotes in a routine manner through banks. It is estimated that the volume of such banknotes (pre-2005) in circulation is not significant enough to impact the general public in a large way and the members of public may exchange the pre-2005 series banknotes at bank branches at their convenience.
Do the pre-2005 series banknotes cease to be legal tender?
The notes issued before 2005 shall continue to be legal tender. The notes are only being withdrawn from circulation and this withdrawal exercise is in conformity with the standard international practice of not having multiple series of notes in circulation at the same time.
Can the pre-2005 series banknotes be used for normal transactions?
Members of the public can continue to freely use these notes for their transactions and can unhesitatingly receive these notes in payment, as all such notes continue to remain legal tender.
Is there any time limit for exchanging these notes?
RBI decided to extend the date for the public to exchange their pre-2005 banknotes till June 30, 2016. Earlier, the RBI had, in June 2015, set the last date for public to exchange pre-2005 banknotes notes as December 31, 2015.
However, RBI added that from January 1, 2016, such facility will only be available at identified bank branches and Issue Offices of the RBI.
Is there any fee to be paid for the exchange facility?
No. The exchange facility is to be provided free of cost by all bank branches.
How is RBI ensuring that these notes are withdrawn from circulation?
Banks have been advised to stop re-issue of the pre-2005 series notes over the counters/through ATMs and they have been instructed to forward them to the RBI.