Thursday, January 21, 2021
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Why it is in our own interest to print currency of lower denomination

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Bhimashankar Sanga
Elearning Evangelist, Occasional Writer & Full-Time Coach, Obsessive-Compulsive Thinker, Unapologetically Idealistic, Infoholic, Sybaritic.

The war on counterfeit cash is taken to the vanguard by Modi’s demonetization move. However, a low-quality fake Rs 2000 note was noticed in Ahmedabad. The fake 2000 notes that emerge in the market evinces a sign of the sophisticated heights that banknote counterfeiters have managed to reach.

With the advancement in printing technologies, RBI has added various features like pushing string of redesigns, use of complex colors , fluorescence , latent image and optically variable inks, watermark portraits, extremely complex machine engravings, micro letterings, numbering patterns, angular bleed lines, reflective foil patches, holographic strips etc. making the notes ever harder to copy. While government is trying to dismantle counterfeit currency, counterfeiters continue to reverse engineer, innovate and simulate all the features. The tussle between the two factions is not likely to end anytime soon.

RBI and security agencies have recovered and seized 25 lakh counterfeit notes worth Rs 122 crore between 2001 and 2014(up to 30th June). More than 13 lakh Rs 500 fake denomination notes were in circulation between 2011 and 2014.  The next most circulated counterfeit currencies were  of  Rs 100 and Rs1000. ). This may sound like a relatively small number, but that’s no consolation if you fall victim to a fake note.

Year 2011 2012 2013 2014
Rs. 1000 165433 175623 55446 99050
Rs. 500 308259 530317 386462 112981
Rs. 100 162695 205058 169119 65875
Others 31215 26981 16281 3450


The overall printing and circulation of legal tenders of all denomination increased by 40% from 2011 to 2016, printing and circulation of Rs 500 notes increased by 76% and Rs 1,000 notes increased 109%, according to RBI.


During  late nineties, notes of Rs 100, Rs 50, Rs 20 and Rs 10 constituted 3/4th part  (nearly 70%)of the cash economy. During 2004-05 the value of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation surpassed the combined value of other denominations. Now, the value of Rs 100, Rs 50, Rs 20 and Rs 10 constitute only 15% of cash economy and value of money of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has catapulted to a staggering 85%.

The higher currency notes are printed and circulated, there is higher risk of counterfeit money flowing in.  The only possible solution to curb counterfeit currency is to stop the printing of high value currency.

The onus of finding the authenticity of the note lies with the note bearer. One can get the minute details of all currency notes on this website- Deliberate use of counterfeit currency knowing to be such is punishable under IPC section 489C.

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Bhimashankar Sanga
Elearning Evangelist, Occasional Writer & Full-Time Coach, Obsessive-Compulsive Thinker, Unapologetically Idealistic, Infoholic, Sybaritic.

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