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Govt taking steps to curb fake notes

Prashant | New Delhi |

The recent episode of Rs.2,000 fake currency notes dispensed from a State Bank of India ATM in south Delhi has upset the government. Santosh Gangwar, Minister of State for Finance, said on Thursday,

"The government is taking measures to control fake currency generation. Some people are trying to create problems in the country. We will be able to say (who they are) only after investigation."

The higher denomination currency note was introduced by the Prime Minister after demonetising the Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 note. Though the government's narrative was to eradicate black money and counterfeit currency from the entire process of demonetisation, experts believe that any currency can be counterfeited after a point of time. "Counterfeiting of currency cannot be stopped, but by increasing security features, the design of a currency can be an impediment to faking it," a senior government official said. 

Market experts believe that the process of remonetisation becomes easier with a higher denomination note but the government will slowly phase out Rs.2,000 currency once the economy is back to normal. 

However, the country's largest public sector bank State Bank of India had stated that "the possibility of fake notes from the bank's ATMs is very remote" and it "suspects involvement of some miscreants with mischievous intent". 

Gangwar said the government is not perturbed by the stray incident of fake 2,000 rupee notes bearing 'Children Bank of India' being dispensed from a SBI ATM in South Delhi's Sangam Vihar. The minister added that the SBI's claim of fake currency being introduced during transportation of bank notes by third parties will be investigated.

SBI in its statement said it has in place "a very robust system for monitoring the quality of notes" at all its currency chests. "All notes received by the bank and to be dispensed by the bank, either through its ATMs or its branches, are processed through the latest state-of-the-art note sorting machines."

SBI is examining the notes in all other ATMs handled by the same custodians of the bank and replenished by the same cash replenishment agency.