It appears that the new batch of ₹500 notes issued by the Reserve Bank of India in the wake of demonetisation may have glaring printing defects, ranging from different colors to mismatching lines and shadows, which could potentially foil the government's objective to beat the scourge of fake currency in India.
According to a Times of India report, at least three separate cases across the country were reported with the ₹500 currency notes with vastly different alignments and detail.
One Delhi resident said, "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." While a Mumbai resident noted the ₹500 notes he had received had different colours with one a visibly lighter shade.
Reserve Bank of India spokesperson Alpana Killawala told TOI, "It is likely that notes with printing defect got released due to the current rush. However, people can freely accept such a note in transaction or return it to RBI."
The printing defects are the latest example of what increasingly looks like botched implementation by RBI of the government's radical demonetisation move, withdrawing ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes on short notice.
Even three weeks after the move was announced that effectively scrapped about 86 per cent of Indian currency in circulation, many banks and ATMs are still facing a huge cash shortage across the country, as replacement currency has been slow to arrive, with worse conditions being reported in rural India.
The printing defects are likely to put a dampener on one of the primary objectives behind the demonetisation move -- that of curbing fake currency, which the government says is behind terrorists' funding.
Experts say that these defects will make it harder to differentiate genuine from fake notes, making it possible for people to slip in fake currency.