One Helluva Lot, it turns out. As of March 2016, nearly 14 trilion (lakh crore) rupees were in Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes, now banned. That’s about 85% of all notes. And if you thought value was high due to higher denominations, a look at the number of notes reveals that the number of Rs. 500 notes are equal to the Number of Rs. 100 notes ever printed.
It’s not going to be easy to replace the 500, because the govt. needs to print 5 x 100 rupee notes to make up for one 500. Or, bring in the new 500 rupee note in the same quantity. New notes printed in 2016 saw about 257 cr. notes of the 500 rupee note, which means they would have to ramp up capacity real fast.
The sudden ban is going to be crazy. No one can use about 85% of the currency value out there. And it’s going to take a long time – not just 45 days, a year perhaps. However it’s possible they have been printing Rs. 100 notes furiously for the last few months.
Whatever way you look at it – rupee shortages will be the order of the day, and let’s hope they get it sorted within a couple months.