The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday admitted that there is a minor defect in the new Rs 500 note, an announcement that will add to the opposition’s arsenal as it attacks the government for their ‘rushed’ decision.
The RBI admittance came just two weeks into the note being brought into circulation after a handful citizens shared images of two slightly different notes on social media. The images have gone viral since then.
“There is a more than visible shadow of Gandhi’s face, besides alignment issues with the national emblem on the note and even serial numbers,” said Abshar, one of the first people to spot the printing error and share it on Twitter.
One of the biggest goals behind the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes was to make the existing fake currency defunct and make counterfeiting more difficult.
Although the government might have succeeded in making the fake currency redundant, the different variants of the new Rs 500 note can aid counterfeiting as people might choose to accept newly-printed fake notes thinking they are legal tender.
“As it is people find it difficult to understand all features of an official note and fail to check for everything before they accept one. Now, if there are too many versions of the official note, slipping in another would be easier than otherwise,” a former IPS officer and expert on the subject told a leading daily.
In its defence, the RBI said that the printing defect was due to the rush in the wake of demonetisation and urged citizens to refrain from panicking.
“It’s not a variant. Such a printing deficiency can happen once in a million. It is a valid legal tender and can be freely used in transactions. But if someone does not want to use it and return it to RBI, that too can be done and we will give them full value,” said the RBI spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the RBI has stopped over the counter exchange of old currency at banks and post offices. However, those who don’t have bank accounts can visit the central bank and exchange old Rs 500 or 1000 notes upto the current limit.
Two notes, totally different design. Is government giving fake currency? ? pic.twitter.com/xz32A6Mv5w
— Aabshar (@Scepticindian) November 21, 2016