Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das on Thursday said the newly issued Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes were indigenously designed with security features, thereby reducing the risk of counterfeiting the currency. Das said the administration’s initial priority was to issue sufficient Rs 2,000 notes to replace the demonetised notes. He said the current goal is to increase the supply of Rs 500 notes, ANI reported.
Das said measures to airlift currency to rural areas was also under way. Briefing mediapersons about the ongoing demonetisation process, he said that more than two lakh of the 2.2 lakh ATMs in the country have been re-calibrated to dispense new notes.
He dismissed speculation about Income Tax Department raids, and said they were based on specific inputs and surveillance and were being conducted in a phased manner. He also said the Reserve Bank of India’s issuance of lower denomination notes of Rs 100 and below during the last week has been three times the annual average.
In November, a Special Operation Team busted a fake currency racket and arrested six people near Hyderabad. The first case of a counterfeit Rs 2,000 note was reported on November 13 when a vegetable vendor in Chikmagaluru, Karnataka, was handed over a fake Rs 2,000 note.
On November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, that accounted for 86% of the currency in the country, would no longer be legal tender. He said this was an attempt to crackdown on black money and corruption in India.