Counterfeit currency: Threat to internal security

The World is observing ‘Anti-Counterfeiting Day’ on 13th June 2012.

Rashi Aditi Ghosh/ ZRG

The World is observing ‘Anti-Counterfeiting Day’ on 13th June 2012; however India is still struggling to come out of the clutches of fake currency issue. The latest report by Home Affairs Ministry notifies that large quantities of ‘Fake Indian Currency Note’ (FICN) are pumped into India from countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, and the UAE.

Shocking but true, reports by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reveal that the practice of counterfeit currency is almost as old as the printing of currency. At some period in history, it was considered treasonous enough to warrant punishment by death. It was in 1650 AD that paper money was developed and counterfeiting flourished, especially within America where counterfeit money was more common than genuine money.

Data available in the public domain suggests that the incidence of counterfeiting varies across different countries. While Australia detected seven pieces of counterfeit notes per million notes in circulation (2008-09), in Canada it was 76 (2008).In New Zealand, the number was as low as 0.71 counterfeits per million notes in circulation (2008-09), whereas in Switzerland it was ten. As for the euro, there was roughly about one counterfeit per 14,600 bank notes in circulation (2008).

As per the analysis of Zee Research Group, between 2009 till June 2011 nearly Rs 60 crore worth of fake currency had been seized by the Government of India.

State profiling on counterfeiting currency suggests that during 2009 till June 2011 period, Maharashtra had recovered the highest amount of fake currency worth Rs 8.49 crore followed by Delhi (Rs 8.24 crore) ,Uttar Pradesh (Rs 7.71 crore) and West Bengal (Rs 6.37 crore).

As a matter of concern, during 2007 -2011 period, 118 persons were arrested for their involvement in transit of counterfeit currency. On figuring out the nationality of the culprits, it, was found that 99 were Indians followed by Pakistani (10), Bangladeshi (6), Thai (1), Afghani (1), and Nepali (1).

Latest data furnished by the Finance Ministry suggests that private sector banks like ICICI Bank (3.78 lakhs) followed by HDFC Bank (0.43 lakh) and Axis Bank (0.37 lakh) had detected highest number of fake notes during April 2011 to Mar 2012.