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The government on Tuesday admitted that the problem of fake currency was 'alarming and dangerous' as some groups are trying to destabilise the Indian economy by injecting massive doses of counterfeit notes in the country.
"There are two kinds of groups, individuals working for profits, but much more dangerous is the effort of injecting massive doses of fake notes in the country, trying to destabilise the economy," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Rajya Sabha.
In his written statement, Mukherjee also admitted that the security breaches of the notes were last updated in 2005 while a committee has been set up in this regard.
"The situation is alarming," he said. But, it would take another two years before upgraded security features are included in the currency notes, the minister said.
He said it would be difficult to quantify counterfeit currency in circulation.
"It is anybody's guess," he said, adding that as per 2005 figures there are 4,890 crore (48.9 billion pieces of genuine currency) in circulation and of these 0.001 per cent could be fake.
There is no authentic information about fake currency. Mukherjee said he was not an "alarmist" as Finance Minister. "I cannot afford to be one," he said, adding that more cases are being detected, showing high alertness of government agencies.
Answering supplementaries, Mukherjee said there was no need to press a panic button as steps are being taken to stop the racket.
Policies are also being revised to check the menace, he said. "In a country of more than 12,000 crore (120 billion), around 12 per cent of the population still practise barter system. Arrests are being made and legal process is on, it is a continuing process," he said.