Worried over the proliferation of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) and ‘near perfect’ technology employed by counterfeiters especially for Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the government is mulling the introduction of an anti-photocopying technology called Omron.
“Recently in a top level meeting relating to economic intelligence and attended by heads of different intelligence agencies besides finance ministry and bank officials, the introduction of two new features were discussed—one is the Omron security feature for Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and another, the addition of a security seal,” a top government official familiar with the developments told Hindustan Times.
Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are the most forged notes in India. At present, Rs 50 and Rs 100 notes already use this technology.
The development is to be seen in the context on the RBI announcement to withdraw all currency notes issued prior to 2005 by March 31 in a move aimed at curbing black money and fake notes.
Incorporation of Omron technology on a bank note typically involves a pattern of small yellow, green or orange circles, which are repeated across areas of the banknote at different orientations.
The mere presence of these figures is sufficient for colour photocopiers to refuse processing.
“These two features are in addition to the seven new security features which are being discussed by the High-Level Committee constituted by the finance minister’s department of economic affairs after the features were approved by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” the official added.
While technical details of the Omron technology remain a closely guarded secret by its inventors, it is also not clear if the feature has any official name but the RBI is believed to be the first to use the term ‘Omron anti-photocopying feature’ in 2005.
The RBI is the sole authority in India to issue banknotes and like other central banks the world over, changes the design of banknotes from time to time.
How others use Omron technology:
• On German DM banknotes, the images form the innermost circles in a background pattern of fine concentric circles.
• On UK 20 pound notes (of 2007), the circles merely cluster around the ‘£20’ text.
• On US bills, the images appear as the digit zero in small, yellow numbers matching the value of the note.
• On Japanese notes, these circles at times appear as flowers.