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RBI Ropes in Foreign Firms to Make Rs.1000, Rs.500 Notes More Secure

With numerous instances of fake currency in India, the RBI has decided to introduce a new numbering system with 7 new secure features inserted in Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 currency notes from now onwards, while the fake currency notes in other denominations will be tackled in the next phase.

The Reserve Bank of India’s Bhartiya Note Mudran Pvt Ltd (BRBNMPL) and the state-run Security Printing and Minting Corp have roped in foreign foreign money printers to introduce the new features by May 2016.

The RBI has now asked banks to stamp fake notes as “Counterfeit Note” and impound them and those not adhering to the procedure would be penalized. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has now been designated to look into fake foreign currency issues. While the neighbours were suspected to have supplied most of the fake Indian currency in the past, now smuggling of the currency from Southeast Asian and Gulf nations has become a bigger task.

rbiEspecially, Malaysia, Thailand and Oman have emerged as the new centres for stocking fake Indian foreign money and smuggling them into several parts of India, said recent reports, pointing out Gujarat as the major destination from where the circulation circuit begins its onward journey.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says Gujarat tops the 5 Indian states which were used as conduit points for circulating counterfeit foreign notes (of rupee) and allegedly pushed in by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) among others. In all, 30,354,604 counterfeit notes were seized in India last year and 8,747,820 have been recovered from Gujarat alone.

Chhattisgarh comes next with the seizure of 7,386,900 fake notes, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana recovered 5,437,600, 3,249,000 and 1,696,850 counterfeit notes respectively.

The channels of circulation include the street and railway routes, the air route from Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the UAE, while China and Holland, are slowly emerging as new points.

Another ironic reason for wide-spread fake currency in India is its stringent rules which amount to harassment of rightful citizens who end up with fake currency from ATMs. Instead of visitng the nearest police station to file an FIR, many middle-class office-goers grind the fact and go on with their daily lives instead of running around the police station.

Since RBI has failed to curb fake currency, it should take responsibility and come out with an easy mechanism to address the issue as it cannot “compensate” nor “pay money” for the time lost for the labyrinthine bureaucratic process.

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