Rs 2,000 Notes Constitute 56% Of Seized Fake Currency, Maximum In Gujarat: Govt Data
As per the recent National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, of the total fake currency seized in India after demonetization (in 2017-18), about 56 per cent were Rs 2,000 banknotes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a historic announcement, demonetised banknotes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 in 2016 and introduced new banknotes with denominations of Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 which he claimed had the ability to fight fake currency rackets, black money and corruption.
"We have an opportunity where every citizen can join this maha yajna (grand sacrifice) against the ills of corruption, black money and fake notes," PM had said.
The fresh banknotes claimed to have additional security features which would make them impossible to be copied by counterfeiters, hence minimising the menace of fake currency.
However, the government's claims seem to have been proven wrong as it's own data now shows that violating the security barriers in new notes was not a difficult task.
Assuring the decision of banning Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes and introducing Rs 2,000 ones were correct, PM Modi had said the move would also reduce terror networks. "Have you ever thought about how these terrorists get their money? Enemies from across the border run their operations using fake currency notes. This has been going on for years," PM had said.
Rs 2,000 Notes: Maximum Share In Fake Currency
The latest NCRB report titled 'Crime in India' reveals that in 2017 and 2018, law enforcing agencies seized fake currency notes worth Rs 46.06 crore, of which, 56.31 per cent was in the form of fake Rs 2,000 notes.
On analysing the report from the two years, it was found that Rs 2,000 notes contribute maximum to the value of the seized fake currency. It also pointed at a significant increase in their share in the total value during this period.
In 2017, law enforcing agencies recovered fake currency worth Rs 28.10 crore, with fake Rs 2,000 notes comprising 53.30 per cent of this value.
In 2018, the share of Rs 2,000 notes in seized fake currency increased to 61.01 per cent, clearly indicating that printing fake notes was becoming easier, despite the government's claims.
Gujarat: Maximum Fake Rs 2,000 Notes
The NCRB data also highlighted how the concentration of fake Rs 2,000 notes was in 27 states and Union Territories.
Since the historic demonetization in November 2016, Gujarat emerged as the hub for fake currency.
By 2019, as many as 34,680 fake Rs 2,000 notes were seized from Gujarat with their total value amounting to the tune of Rs 6.93 crore.
Gujarat constituted a 26.28 per cent share in all fake Rs 2,000 notes recovered after demonetisation, followed by West Bengal (Rs 3.5 crore), Tamil Nadu (Rs 2.8 crore) and Uttar Pradesh(Rs 2.6 crore).
Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Sikkim did not have a single fake Rs 2,000 note as on December 2018, along with Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, etc.
Period After Demonetization
The NCRB data also showed that fake currency of the newly introduced Rs 2,000 notes were available in the market days after the announcement. This raised questions on the government's bold and confident claims about the move.
NCRB's report for 2016 revealed that in the last 52 days of 2016, 2,272 fake Rs 2,000 notes worth Rs 45.44 lakh were seized across India. About 57 per cent of these fake notes were seized in Gujarat.
On November 18, 2016, cops in Karnataka's Mysuru had seized 44 fake Rs 2,000 notes. Later, fake notes were also seized in Hyderabad, Meerut, Bengaluru, Rajkot and elsewhere.
After NCRB's 'Crime in India' report, the Reserve Bank of India's annual report showed lower figures than those mentioned in NCRB reports.
The apex bank's annual report for 2018-19 pointed at a similar trend of fake Rs 2,000 notes being circulated in the market. It also shows that a total of 17,929 fake Rs 2,000 banknotes were seized in the banking system in the financial year 2017-18.
The figure increased by 21.9 per cent to 21,847 fake Rs 2,000 notes in the next year.
Another whistleblower in the report was a 121 per cent increase in detection of counterfeit notes of the new Rs 500 denominations.
Where Are Rs 2,000 Notes?
Several media reports have recently indicated that the RBI has stopped printing Rs 2,000 notes or has reduced its printing drastically.
The RBI on its part has however clarified that the printing of these notes have not been stopped.
The New Indian Express, on October 14, 2018, reported that RBI has not printed a single Rs 2,000 note in this financial year. This was based on a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by the newspaper.
In response to the RTI, RBI printed 3,542.991 million Rs 2,000 banknotes in 2016-17, which was reduced to 111.507 million notes in 2017-18. However, the RBI printed 46.690 million such notes in 2018-19.