In order to fight the menace of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN), the government has approved introduction of seven new security features and the project is likely to be completed by May next year. In the first phase, the features will be included in high denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, which are much in demand by counterfeiting gangs as also Pakistan’s ISI, official sources said.
The security features recommended by the RBI Central Board, details of which are not yet known, were recently approved by the government.
After accepting the recommendations, the government asked RBI to set in motion the introduction of the new features, sources said.
The Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes with those features will be available soon and be introduced in those of other denominations by May next.
The Bhartiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran (Pvt) Limited and Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited are undertaking the project.
RBI has also asked the banks to stamp fake notes detected over the counter as “COUNTERFEIT NOTE” and impound them immediately. Banks found not following the procedure will be penalised. Banks have also been instructed to issue a receipt for counterfeit notes to the tenderer of the FICN, they said.
As per the estimates, fake Indian currency notes of face value of Rs 30 crore are in circulation. National Investigation Agency has been made the nodal agency for FICN cases as the government treats it as ‘economic terrorism’.
Pakistan’s ISI has been actively pumping fake notes into India and central security agencies are alarmed at the new routes being taken by the spy agency to unleash ‘economic terror’.
The flow of fake notes is no longer limited to smuggling from the border areas of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal but central Southeast Asian countries have lately emerged as important transit points.
Malaysia, Thailand and Oman, frequented by Indians, have emerged as the new centres for stocking FICN and then circulating it across India.
In certain cases, courier services of international repute have also been used by the ISI to pump in fake currency notes.