New Delhi: Crisp, yellow Rs 200 notes debuted today but they will not be available at ATMs just yet. The machines have not been reconfigured to handle the new currency, say officials.
The notes were available today only at select branches of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) - in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and kolkata - and some other banks.
Officials say it may take a few more days, or at least a week, for ATMs to spit out Rs 200 notes, which are marginally smaller than Rs 500 notes.
The size of cash-holding cassettes inside the machines have to be calibrated by engineers to accommodate the new notes. The process can even take a month.
At the central bank's branch in Parliament Street in the heart of Delhi, a long queue was reminiscent of the desperate rush for cash after overnight demonetization in November. Even then, the recalibration of ATMs for new currency took some time, adding to people's stress.
"I am excited about the note...I want it," shrugged a young man, waiting for nearly an hour and ready to persevere.
A woman who said she had been standing in queue since 9 am, even before the bank opened, commented: "I am very curious...how does a Rs 200 note look?"
The Rs 200 denomination has been introduced for the first time in India.
It is the fourth new note to be announced since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an overnight ban on Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 notes to choke tax evaders. New Rs 2000 and Rs 500 notes were introduced days later. Recently, a fluorescent blue Rs 50 note entered the market. The government says Rs 200 notes will inject more low denomination currency in the system.
In keeping with a new policy on theme-based currency, the 200-rupee notes have a motif of the Sanchi Stupa monument, depicting India's cultural heritage, besides the Ashoka Pillar emblem.
There is a security thread with inscriptions 'Bharat' and RBI. The colour of the thread changes from green to blue when the note is tilted.
For the visually-impaired, the Mahatma Gandhi portrait and Ashoka Pillar emblem are raised, besides other special features. The new notes also have a logo of Swachh Bharat or Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Clean India" campaign. The design was reportedly approved by the PM's office.