India may soon mint money for world

Greater Kashmir

New Delhi, Mar 31: India may soon be the popular choice of several nations as a printer of currency. It produces the largest volume of bank notes in the world, at a third of the cost of production of established leaders.
Therefore, the government is exploring tie-ups in this lucrative market, by asking some of the large currency-printing companies in Europe and the US to outsource their currency note manufacturing functions to India.
The multi-billion dollar market is now dominated by companies like De la Rue and Royal Mint, both from the UK, Canadian Banknote Company and Orell Fussli Security Printing of Switzerland, among others.
The proposal would be based on the platform provided by the recently-set up Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India. The company has a capital base of Rs 3,700 crore and has the ability to serve this rapidly-growing international market for currency notes and coins, feel sources associated with the project.
The government has already held discussions with some big banners who have shown keen interest in sourcing some key operations from here. Apart from working on lower costs, the new public sector company also has a highly-trained work force that can churn out notes and coins with advanced security features.
Despite the great wear and tear that Indian notes go through, they have a reasonably long shelf life. The problem of counterfeiting is also something that has been addressed, sources said. For a large number of countries, therefore, these could be compelling reasons to source their requirements from here.
The other issue regarding currency notes is that of ensuring security and safe delivery of the print runs. Sources said that this is an area where the government will have to convince potential customers, as governments are usually reluctant to change their suppliers for this reason.
However, given the extremely good record that domestic bank note presses and mints have enjoyed, they felt that several projects could be swung this way. Incidentally, the Centre spends around Rs 1,447 crore on printing currency notes every year at its four currency note presses.
These presses, along with the four India government mints and the Security Paper Mill at Hoshangabad, have now come under the banner of the new company.