Money & Banking

121% rise in detection of ₹500 fake currency notes

PALAK SHAH Mumbai | Updated on October 21, 2019 Published on October 21, 2019

It is not just ₹2,000 fake notes that are on the rise. Even ₹500 currency fake notes have been discovered in large numbers, according to data collected by the Authentication Solution Providers Association (ASPA) from various sources. ASPA is a two-decade-old non-profit organisation that fights and creates awareness against fake currency, and counterfeit products across sectors, including pharma, food adulteration, and even goods sold on e-commerce websites.

An RTI query revealed recently that the RBI has stopped printing ₹2,000 currency notes. Although, the central bank is yet to issue a statement on this, there is a general belief that such a measure was taken due to the rise in fake ₹2,000 notes. Sources suggest it is unlikely that ₹2,000 notes will be flushed out in a demonisation-like move as it had proved to be highly disruptive. But RBI would consciously reduce ₹2,000 currency notes over the years. The fact that even ₹500 fake notes were in circulation is a matter of concern, as the RBI and regulatory agencies can only carry our search-and-seizure operations with regard to this, according to a legal expert on currency matters. Yet, other experts said the number of fake notes discovered by the RBI recently seems small to trigger a decision to stop printing notes.

ASPA says the detection of ₹500 fake currency notes increased by 121 per cent during the financial year 2019, as per data from the RBI. The data show that 3.17 lakh fake notes were discovered by the central bank. Of this, 21,865 currency pieces were fake ₹500 currency notes. The same for ₹2,000 stood at 21,847. More than 12,728 pieces of fake notes in ₹200 denomination and 221218 units of fake ₹100 currency notes were discovered during financial years 2019, as per RBI data. Fake currency notes of Rs 10, 20, and 50 too were also discovered. Overall, fake currency worth more than ₹8.23 crore was discovered in India by the RBI and other banks put together.

“Compared to the previous year, there was an increase of 20.2 per cent, 87.2 per cent and 57.3 per cent in counterfeit notes detected in the denominations of ₹10, ₹20 and ₹50. Counterfeit notes detected in the denomination of ₹100 declined by 7.5 per cent. In the ₹200 denomination, which was introduced in August 2017, 12,728 counterfeit notes were detected, against 79 during the previous year. Counterfeit notes in the denomination of ₹500 (new design notes) increased by 121.0 per cent, while in the case of ₹2000, it increased by 21.9 per cent during 2018-19,” RBI said in its data sheet.

Nakul Pasricha, President, ASPA, said: “Considering the volume of banknotes that are currently being handled or likely to be handled in the future, there is a pressing need to adopt robust technology for upgrading security features and processes for currency management in the country. An ideal way to stay ahead of counterfeiters is to use a combination of physical and digital security features on all currency pieces.”

Counterfeit in other industry

On counterfeit products in the pharma industry, ASPA says that the rate of sub-standard or spurious drugs in India will be at around10 per cent of the total industry size.

ASPA says that in the auto industry, counterfeit penetration is between 30-36 percent in the auto component market.

“Perhaps, being on the conservative side, according to ACMA (automotive component manufacturers) it was 5 per cent in 2016-17. The total size of the after-market industry in India in 2018-19 was ₹67,491 crore, and even on the conservative side, it is causing more than ₹4,000 crore every year,” said ASPA.

ASPA says that around 20 per cent of products sold on e-commerce websites, mainly perfumes and cosmetics, are fake.

“Cases of food adulteration have increased over the last three years, and the government is looking to private players for investment to augment its efforts in ensuring food safety. More than 23.4 per cent of the total samples analysed in 2016-17 were found adulterated, while 26.4 per cent of the samples were found contaminated in 2018-19, according to the latest data available with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Uttar Pradesh remains the worst hit in food adulteration at 45 per cent (of the samples tested in the State), followed by Jharkhand (40 per cent), and Tamil Nadu (37 per cent). As many as 36 per cent (23,441) of the total of 65,028 adulterated samples detected in India in three years was found in Uttar Pradesh, according to a public laboratory testing report presented in the Lok Sabha last month by the health ministry.”

ASPA on spurious liquor

More than 150 people died this year after consuming spurious liquor. In Uttar Pradesh alone, more than 8,000 people were arrested for illicit liquor business. The government had seized 36.45 lakh liters of illicit liquor in the last five years. Even in Delhi, the Excise Department had seized approximately 3 lakh bottles in FY19.

Published on October 21, 2019
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