The Reserve Bank guidelines on counterfeit notes to banks indicates that banks will have to streamline their system in a manner that they have to bear the risk of receiving counterfeits rather than the common man who suffers a loss by unknowingly comes into possession of such notes
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed banks to collect counterfeit notes from depositors, mark them appropriately and also give credit to the customer for value of notes submitted.
“Detection of counterfeit notes, at banks, should be at the back office or currency chest only,” the RBI said in a circular issued on 27 June 2013 . “Banknotes when tendered over the counters may be checked for arithmetical accuracy and other deficiencies like whether there are mutilated notes, and appropriate credit passed on to the depositor or account or value in exchange given,” it added.
The RBI has further said that banks, which detect and deposit such counterfeit currency, would be compensated to a small extent. In the circular the central bank said, “It has been decided to compensate the banks 25% of the loss incurred in respect of counterfeit notes of Rs100 and above detected by them and reported to RBI and Police authorities.” This means that banks will not be absolved of the duty to check for counterfeits, but would not be the losers when a small number of fakes get past them.
The problem of counterfeit notes has been escalating over the years. Recently, fake Indian currency, worth Rs37 lakh from a Chinese source was detected at a Delhi restaurant. In another recent case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has revealed clear link between Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir-based terror outfits pooling their resources to circulate fake Indian currency and using it to fund jihadi activities in India, says a report from India Today.
According to RBI, reporting and detection of counterfeit notes has not improved on its expected lines. RBI said although 90% of the currency chests are with the public sector banks, they account for reporting of a mere 10% of counterfeit notes, while private sector banks with less than 10% of currency chests are reporting 90% of such cases.
The central bank also warned that it would penalize banks that do not report counterfeit notes in its branch or currency chest. Banks would be penalized if found holding counterfeit notes in its branch or currency chest without reporting it to RBI or Police, during an inspection by the RBI. “It will be construed as willful involvement of the bank concerned in circulating counterfeit notes, and appropriate penalty strict regulatory measures against the bank including stringent disciplinary action will be imposed by RBI,” the circular said.
Here are the RBI’s guidelines for detection of counterfeit notes to banks…
1) The process of detection of counterfeit notes should be carried out at back office or currency chest only. Banks can check arithmetical accuracy and other deficiencies like mutilated notes at counters and passed on appropriate credit to the depositor/account or value in exchange given.
2) Thereafter the notes should be passed over to the back office or currency chest, as the case may be, for detailed verification and authentication through machines.
3) The notes categorized as suspect during machine processing should be subjected to manual verification for checking their authenticity.
4) The notes identified as counterfeit should be kept separately with proper impounding stamp in the prescribed format. Details of each impounded note should be recorded under authentication in a separate register.
5) There will not be any requirement to issue acknowledgement to the tenderer.
6) In the cases of detection of up to four pieces of counterfeit notes, in a single transaction, consolidated monthly statement should be sent to the Nodal Police Station through the Nodal Officer of the bank. In case of detection of five or more pieces, FIR in the prescribed format should be lodged.
7) Banks should monitor the patterns or trends of such detection and suspicious trends or patterns should be brought to the notice of RBI or Police authorities immediately.
8) The reporting procedure to the Regional Offices of RBI in the prescribed format will remain unchanged.
It also observed that despite the measures and after rationalizing the procedure of filing first information reports (FIRs), the detection and subsequent reporting of counterfeit notes by banks continue to be inadequate. This has serious repercussions in that the Reserve Bank is not in a position to assess the number of counterfeit notes in circulation and its ramifications for the economy.
In past we saw many cases of counterfeiting of currencies, but in India it’s not as big which affects the economy as a whole. Involvement of Pakistan ISI and Counterfeit Currency boosted from Bangladesh borders may spread many Counterfeit Currency across the country but RBI also take initiatives to protect it, RBI launched website to explain detection of fake currency. As Prevention is always better than cure to prevent yourself be aware and alert! Still if you stuck with few counterfeit notes, make sure that you deposit it in your bank!
Reported by Vishrut Patel