The Reserve Bank has directed banks to do away with stapling of note packets and issue only clean currency notes to the public.
". . .banks should do away with stapling of any note packet and instead secure note packets with paper bands and should sort notes into re-issuables and non-issuables, and issue only clean notes to public," it said in a notification.
It also asked banks to stop writing of any kind on the watermark window of bank notes. Reiterating its clean note policy, RBI said instances of certain branches of banks continuing to follow old practices such as stapling, writing number of note pieces in loose packets on watermark window of notes disfiguring the watermark impression and rendering it difficult for easy recognition have come to its notice.
It also said that certain bank branches do not sort notes into re-issuables and non-issuables, and issue soiled notes to public.
"Such practices are against the 'Clean Note Policy' of Reserve Bank of India," it said.
The objective of the RBI's Clean Note Policy is to give the citizens good quality currency notes and coins, while the soiled notes are withdrawn out of circulation.
According to RBI data, on an average, one out of five paper notes in circulation (over 20 per cent) gets disposed of every year after getting soiled and the number of such soiled currency bills stood at over 13 billion units during the fiscal ended March 31, 2012.
RBI will soon run a trial pilot project for plastic or polymer currency notes with a view to increase the shelf-life of notes.