A report of the sub-group set by the ministry of finance in 2012 to review the working of c urrency chests and to make sug gestions on improvement says: “Historically, the currency chests in the country were being established and operated by the public sector banks, keeping in view the requirement of currency at the time of opening of the respective currency chests. However, not only the requirement and circulation of the currency has increased many-fold; its dispensation through ATMs, improved features to combat counter feiting, notification of ‘Clean Note Policy’ by RBI, increased volumes, e tc, have added new dimensions in operation and management of currency chests by the banks. Therefore, the efficiently managed currency chests are now not considered as mere storehouse for currency; but for quick and efficient sorting, fast-churning and safe and secure maintenance of some minimum amount of currency to meet urgent/unexpected additional requirement of few days so as to ensure adequate supply of clean and genuine currency in the market.”
There are more than 4200 currency chests operated by various banks – both public sector and private – in the country. More than half of these – 2200 – are operated by the State Bank of India.