Reforms for improving security features in notes and coins will ensure reduced incidence of counterfeit currency, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday.
"I am confident that as a result of the comprehensive reforms being undertaken in the area of currency and coinage over the last two years, we will be self-reliant to a large extent," Mukherjee said in Dewas.
"The reforms related to security features will also ensure that the incidences of fake currency are reduced considerably," he said.
He was speaking on the occasion of commissioning of the new Bank Note Printing Line of the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) in Dewas.
Mukherjee said operationalisation of the new line will contribute to the government and RBI efforts to increase security in currency notes.
In his speech, the finance minister said a series of measures have taken to strengthen the security features of Indian currency notes. In addition, a high-level committee has been under the chairmanship of directorate of currency director general Bimal Julka for acquiring security feature technologies through global competitive bidding.
"This acquisition of new security features is being done in an efficient and transparent manner. I am hopeful that with the up-gradation of security features, the government will be able to check the menace of fake currency circulation in the country," Mukherjee said.
As part of the efforts for modernisation of currency printing presses, a line of currency printing machines was commissioned on Saturday at the Bank Note Press, Dewas. Machines worth over Rs 233 crore were purchased for this line.
"The online printing and finishing equipments are state-of-the-art with higher speed and shall have capability for incorporation of sophisticated print-based security features, which will help in reducing counterfeiting of currency notes," Mukherjee said.
"I am informed that this machine will also result in improved productivity as well as optimisation in the consumption of raw materials, especially the ink and manpower requirement," he added.
He also said the Coinage Act, 2011, which was enacted by Parliament recently, will simplify the laws governing coins and currencies by amalgamating the earlier existing four Acts and one ordinance relating to coinage.
"This Act enables the central government to establish a new mint at any place based on the rising demand of coins. It also provides for stringent punishment with imprisonment which may extend up to seven years and with fine if a person is found to be making or melting or destroying the coins," Mukherjee said.
The government had in 2009 constituted a committee under Shilabhadra Banerjee to suggest a roadmap for progressive indigenisation of various inputs.
"Following the recommendations of this committee, the government has initiated steps to indigenise the production of banknote paper to meet our domestic requirements of banknote paper. A foundation stone of Bank Note Paper Line with annual capacity of 6,000 metric tonnes was laid on December, 2011, at SPM, Hoshangabad... This unit is likely to be commissioned by October, 2013," the finance minister said.