The Delhi headquarters of the country’s only currency and bank notes manufacturer, that printed the new series of notes of denomination ₹2,000 and ₹500 in 2016, has been declared a “prohibited place” under the British-era Official Secrets Act (OSA) by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The office of the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL), located on the 16 th floor of Jawahar Bhavan, Janpath in central Delhi, has been declared a prohibited place “to prevent the entry of unauthorised persons,” said an MHA notification published in the Gazette of India on February 15.
An SPMCIL official told The Hindu that the decision was taken by the MHA owing to the critical decisions taken by the office.
“The nine production units of SPMCIL, where bank notes and other government papers are manufactured, are already prohibited places. Only the Delhi headquarters where crucial decisions are taken and important files are generated was not under the purview. Through the recent order, even the Delhi office has been declared a prohibited place,” said the official.
Asked what the order implies, the official said, “There will be heightened security, visitors will be allowed but sparingly.” The official said all important meetings and key decisions involving various organisations such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Finance Ministry and others are take at the Delhi office.
An MHA official however said the notification was issued as per the SPMCIL’s request.
The nine production units are four India Government Mints, two Currency Note Presses, two Security Printing Presses and one Security Paper Mill located in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Noida, Nashik, Dewas and Narmadapuram respectively.
The February 15 notification issued by Additional Secretary Mritunjay Kumar Narayan, MHA, said the headquarters was declared a prohibited place in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-clause (c) of clause (8) of Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923).
“...considering the ground that information with respect thereto, or damage thereto would be useful to the enemy, it is expedient that precautions should be taken to prevent the entry of unauthorised persons there at, the Central Government hereby declares the place specified in column (1) of the Schedule given below to be a prohibited place for the purposes of the said Act,” the notification said.
According to the SPMCIL’s website, it is engaged in the manufacture and production of currency and bank notes, security paper, non-judicial stamp papers, postal stamps and stationery, passport and visa stickers, security inks, circulation and commemorative coins among others.