An RTI query has revealed that the design of new banknotes of Rs 500 and Rs 2000 denominations was approved at the May 19, 2016 meeting of the Central Board of RBI. In his application, city-based activist Jeetendra Ghadge had sought the exact date of the approval of the design of new bills.
"The new design of the bank notes was approved by the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India in its meeting held on May 19, 2016," the Central Public Information Officer of RBI stated in the response. As per the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, general superintendence and direction of the Bank's affairs are taken care of by the central board of directors, a body headed by the governor of the RBI.
Raghuram Rajan was governor of the apex bank during September 2013-September 2016. RBI cited section 8(1)(a) of RTI Act to refuse information to Ghadge who had sought to know exact date of the first meeting held at the apex bank with the agenda to print new currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2000 denominations, and the exact date for the order allowing their printing.
Ghadge said on Tuesday that the RBI and its Governor need to come clean on the entire processes of demonetisation "so that responsibility could be fixed and the common people's trust is maintained."
Demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 bills was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 in 2016. RBI Governor Urjit Patel had recently appeared before the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC), and the Standing Committee on Finance headed by former union minister and senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily, to clarify on demonetisation.