Innovative Methods to Check Counterfeit Currency Notes

R.D. Bharadwaj 


Coimbatore Police arrested three youths on 24th April, 2012, from Chunnambuthara who were in possession of Rs.8.46 lakh fake currency of Rs.1000 and Rs.500 denominations brought in from Coimbatore to Thrissur. Three days later, two persons were also arrested by Delhi Police for allegedly procuring and circulating fake currency in and around Delhi. Counterfeit currency worth Rs. 1.59 lakhs was also recovered from them. Earlier also, counterfeit currency notes worth lakhs of rupees have been caught from many people at various places, putting a lot of undesired burden / pressure on Indian economy. This is apart from the fact that somepassengers travelling from Pakistan, through Samjhauta Express train and also by bus service (Sada-E-Sarhad) from Pakistan have been caught red-handed with lots of smuggled Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs) worth lakhs of rupees. Apart from this, occasional instances also come to light where some other people of dubious character within India have also been caught along with machines and inks etc. required for printing of FICNs.

Counterfeit currency is growing in India

2. Thus, the message is sufficiently loud and clear that the menace of counterfeit currency is growing in India. By all accounts, FICNs continue to be pumped in — much of it from abroad through our porous borders with neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh etc. A recent report compiled by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Union Finance Ministry has estimated a 400 per cent increase over recent years in counterfeit transactions in India’s financial channels. The report further states that during 2010-11, the agency detected “4,23,539 incidents of FICNs with a face value of over Rs. 35 crore.” The similar figures relating to fake currency notes for the year 2011-12 are still higher. According to a 2011 report of the U.S. State Department, India faces an increasing inflow of ‘high-quality’ counterfeit currency notes, produced primarily in Pakistan, and smuggled in through multiple international routes including Nepal and Bangladesh. Terrorists and underworld networks could be using the fake notes to finance their ante-social activities in India. India has repeatedly blamed Pakistan as one of the major originating points of FICNs. A porous border with that country certainly facilitates this virulent flow. The magnitude of the problem really aims at weakening Indian economy, besides promoting crimes involving black money and smuggling as well.

3. It is really a matter of grave concern that the people who smuggle / float fake currency notes in market have rarely been awarded their due share of punishment. Even otherwise, it is a general conception amongst the people that anti-social elements / wrong-doers of any nature often get scot free in one way or the other and hardly 10-15% of the criminals get their due share of punishment. The reason is simple – corruption at various levels and huge amount of pressures / influences from various quarters to get the criminals released or freed, rather than putting them behind the bars or hanging to death for the heinous crime committed.

4. It also forms a part of the facts that rule of law does not apply equal to all. Children of rich and the famous hardly care for the law-book. Their matters are often decided expeditiously by the virtue or vice of the money and muscle power. Due to the prevalence of such a scenario, all sorts of crimes take place in our country and it is only the common people in society who have to suffer in silence. If some honest, sincere people and the conscience keepers of the society make some concerted efforts aimed at cleansing the system and punishing the guilty, some politicians at the behest of the rich, the powerful and / or influential people try their level best to scuttle the mission by influencing the course of law in favour of the criminals, which ultimately results in the miscarriage of justice for the rest of the society. And that is situation which ultimately makes India bleed and cry profusely.

5. Further, regarding circulation / smuggling of FICNs which try to derail Indian economy (even though at the micro level), I would like to suggest a few steps / measures which would help us in arresting fake currency notes, such as : –

(a) On all our currency notes except one and two rupee, picture of Mahatma Gandhi adores, for the last sixty five years, as per policy decision of Govt. of India / RBI. India is a great country and our more than five thousand years old and rich civilisation, is a witness to the fact that thousands of great men and women have taken birth on this great and pious land and have done many great deeds for the society and made the life of ordinary people easier. These great people such as – Guru Nanak Dev, Gautam Buddha, Lord Krishna, Sant Kabir, Maharishi Valmiki, Ashoka the Great, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Akbar the Great, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Shivaji Maratha, Guru Gobind Singh, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Swami Viveka Nand, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh etc. have really put great and Herculean efforts in their respective fields and made the people feel proud by improving their social & economic conditions; by the virtue of their services rendered. Apart from this list, there are some great scientists as well who have made us proud by achieving great successes in their respective fields.

(b) Keeping in view the great deeds done by these great people, I would like to suggest that Govt. of India / RBI should shortlist around 15 to 20 great personalities from the category of saints & sages, social reformers, secular rulers, great scholars and scientists etc. and print currency notes of different denominations by changing frequently the designs and making the pictures of the above mentioned great people adore the currency notes of various denominations. It should also be ensured that the pictures of the great people printed on the fresh series of notes are changed after every four to five years.

(c) As it is becoming increasingly difficult day by day to detect the fake notes, just by touch and feel method, security features for the currency notes of big denominations, say – Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000/- should be enhanced and made more complicated and these should be known to banks only. Vigorously and minutely advertising these security features through print and electronic media makes the job of counterfeiting easier.

(d) By doing so, we shall not only be paying obeisance to these great Indian personalities, but it shall also go a long way in preventing counterfeiting of currency notes, as the anti-social elements will find it much difficult to clone fakes of these new avatars of currency notes. It shall be certainly better to print currency notes by making the pictures of different great people on it rather than only of one person for such a long period. It is also imperative to mention here that some other countries also print their currency notes by publishing pictures of their great men / scientists as well. Secondly, we can also print pictures of our national heritage buildings like Taj Mahal, India Gate, Gateway of India, Char Minar, Red Fort, Howrah Bridge and Rashtrapati Bhawan etc. on the reverse side of these currency notes, and

(e) And last, but not the least, the rate of conviction of all types of criminals / offenders and miscreants etc. (including dealers in counterfeit currency notes), shall have to be increased manifold, as only awarding of strict punishments shall serve as a real deterrent to other sick, greedy and perverted minds in any society. And this can be made possible and the target achieved only if the Central Govt. displays a strong political will to take head on those who take pride in such anti-social activities aimed at damaging our economy. The Govt. should also treat and declare the activities like sale-purchase of counterfeit currency notes and / or printing the same as an act of treason. It should also be borne in mind that like a proxy war on terrorism, it is also a form of war against the economy of a country. The society should not be allowed to suffer because of such greedy, unscrupulous and anti-social elements.

One Response

  1. deepa prabakar