Jitters over fake currency notes as security features unchanged

03 April 2017

Security agencies are worried that the new Rs2,000 and Rs500 notes have the same security features as the old Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes.

At a high-level meeting last week to discuss the presence of fake currency notes, officials at North Block were informed that the ''covert security features'' had not been changed since 2005, The Hindu  reports.

The same paper had reported in November last year that the security features were last changed in 2005 when notes of all denominations with new security features were introduced.

Watermarks, security thread, fibre and latent image comprise the security features and these require several representations, evaluation and approval by the Union cabinet.

An official had said then that since the decision to introduce the new notes was taken only around May 2016, there was no time to alter the security features as the entire exercise takes between five and six years.

Officials now suggest that to check counterfeiting, the security features of Rs2,000 and Rs500 notes should be changed every 3-4 years in accordance with global standards.

In the four months since the government scrapped the old Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes on 8 November 2016, fake Rs2,000 notes with a face value of over Rs66 lakh have been detected by the Reserve Bank of India and state police forces across the country.

The government informed the Lok Sabha that investigations were on to determine whether the security features of the new notes had been compromised. A reply in the Lok Sabha by the home ministry said that between 9 November 2016 and 7 March this year, 3,346 pieces of fake Rs.2,000 notes had been recovered.

The issue was discussed threadbare at a high-level meeting last Thursday which was attended by senior officials of the ministries of finance and home, including home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi.

Home ministry officials said most developed countries change the security features of their currency notes every 3-4 years.


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