To ensure there are enough coins circulating in the city, Reserve Bank of India, Chennai region, is encouraging banks to install coin vending machines.
At present, 20 such machines have been installed in the branches of various banks across the city, including in Ayanavaram, Teynampet, Purasawalkam, Kilkattalai, Mylapore and Mogappair.
A source in RBI said it was providing incentives to banks that installed coin vending machines. While 50 per cent of the capital cost incurred in the purchase of the machines is reimbursed to banks in urban areas, nearly 75 per cent of the cost is reimbursed when the machines are installed in rural banks.
RBI’s office on Rajaji Salai too, is visited by several people every day to make use of the five coin vending machines on the premises.
In the last four months, RBI has intensified measures to distribute coins to consumers through market distribution scheme. It distributes coins worth Rs. 50 lakh every month in 12 markets chosen across the city.
RBI also plans to extend the scheme to other cities across the State soon. A source said that RBI has been pumping in 70-90 million coins of various denominations worth about Rs. 50 crore every month in the past few months.
RBI is also in the process of identifying 18 branches of various banks, including private ones, to set up dedicated counters to exchange soiled notes and for the retail distribution of coins.
Though RBI has instructed banks to exchange soiled currency notes and provide coins daily, customers said they had to wait until the bank was not very busy or go to bigger branches, to obtain coins.
RBI has also tied up with various banks to conduct coin melas in busy trade hubs in the city. During the camps held in several bank branches between January 8 and January 11 ahead of Pongal, coins worth nearly Rs. 1.5 crore were distributed.
At the ongoing trade fair on Island Grounds, RBI has tied up with 10 banks to conduct camps in its stall. Coins worth about Rs. 1.2 crore and fresh currency notes worth Rs. 7 crore are expected to be distributed at the fair.
Similarly, a private bank is involved in distributing coins worth Rs. 50 lakh at the book fair in Nandanam.