Branches of all banks across the country will soon be equipped with NSMs or note sorting machine that will detect fake currency. This is what the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) wants, and it will ask banks to submit roadmaps to achieve the target.
A high level group on Systems and Procedures for Currency Distribution, headed by RBI Deputy Governor Usha Thorat, has recommended the installation of NSMs at all branches in a phased manner to further strengthen the measures to combat menace of fake notes.
Currently, NSMs are installed at only the 4,271 currency chests — or storehouses where notes and coins are stocked on behalf of the RBI — of commercial banks. India has a total of nearly 70,000 bank branches.
A senior official with a large private bank, who did not want to be named, said, “note sorting machines need to be installed at all branches but the exercise would take a few years to complete.”
In 2007-08, Rs 5.49 crore of fake currency notes in various denominations were detected, which was 137 per cent higher than the previous year on account of rise in detections. This amount does not include fake notes seized by police and other enforcement agencies.
India had 44,225 million pieces of currency notes in circulation at the end of March 2008. The number of fake notes estimated in the country are 3-6 pieces per million, which, the RBI says, is one of the lowest in the world.
The high level group said the sharp rise in the number of physical notes in circulation and in the number of cases of fake notes detected/ seized recently, have underscored the need for increased vigil.