In an attempt to check counterfeiting, the government intends to change security features on high-value currency notes of Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 every three to four years, PTI reported on Sunday. Officials said the frequent changes would be in accordance with practices in countries across the world. The development follows the announcement of the demonetisation drive on November 8, 2016.
The matter was discussed at a high-level meeting which had representatives from the finance and home ministries. Officials said India had to follow the example of countries that have adopted the procedure, which is “long overdue”, PTI reported. Investigators studying the fake notes, which had entered circulation, found that at least 11 of the 17 security features were replicated.
The newly issued high-denomination notes had no unique security features which set them apart from the demonetised Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, officials said. People arrested for being in possession of large amounts of fake notes have reportedly claimed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence was aiding the production of counterfeit currency entering India.
The report by the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata said Rs 400 crore of fake currency notes was in circulation in 2016. In December, 2016, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das had said the new notes were indigenously designed with security features, to reduce the risk of counterfeiting.
On March 9, the Reserve Bank of India had said that it would issue new Rs 10 currency notes with improved security features soon.
Despite the demonetisation drive, several cases of fake currency notes being issued by ATMs or found in circulation were reported. The demonetised notes accounted for 86% of the currency in circulation at the time. The Centre has held that the decision would also push India towards becoming a cashless economy. The move has been widely criticised by the Opposition and economists across the world.