Rumours that currency notes with scribbles on them have been made invalid from January 1 have left many concerned, despite a clarification by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that no instructions have been issued on non-acceptance of such notes.

“In the wake of rumours circulating in the market that from January 1, 2014, banks will not accept notes with anything written on them, the Reserve Bank has urged members of the public not to fall prey to such rumours and to use the notes without any fear. The RBI has clarified it has not issued any such instruction,” said the RBI, in a notification on New Year ’s Eve.

However, many people complained that shopkeepers have stopped accepting notes with scribbles, stating that they were now out of circulation owing to an RBI directive.

Kanchan Bisht, a Delhi resident, said: “While paying my electricity bill, the official refused to accept a scribbled note and said such notes are no more valid. Then I was told that the RBI has issued some instructions in this regard.”

Rakshita, a resident of South Delhi, said: “I’m unable to use one Rs.500 note because it has something written on it. I tried making two transactions with that note, but shopkeepers refused. My relatives who live in West Bengal have also raised similar concerns.”

Raunak Sinha, who belongs to Patna and is presently in the Capital, said he was shocked when an attendant at a grocery store declined to accept a scribbled Rs.1,000 note.

“Even auto-rickshaw drivers have refused to take such notes as they think they are invalid , said Delhi University student Kirti Sharma.

However, the RBI has, in its statement, clarified that it had issued instructions on August 14, 2013, “only to banks, advising them to instruct their staff not to scribble or write on the body of the notes since it was observed that the bank officials themselves were in the habit of writing on notes, which went against the Reserve Bank’s Clean Note Policy”.

The RBI has sought cooperation the public, institutions and others in keeping the notes clean by not writing/scribbling anything on them, said RBI Principal Chief General Manager Alpana Killawala.

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