House panel wants indigenisation of currency printing materials

Concerned over the “excessive” import of raw materials for printing currency notes that has made India vulnerable to counterfeiting, a parliamentary panel has asked the government to come up with a definite road map and timeline for indigenous production of such sensitive items.

India imports 80-85 per cent of raw materials like paper and ink used in printing currency notes, the Committee on Public Undertaking said its latest report.

“The committee feels that in the absence of a roadmap for indigenisation, envisaged augmentation may remain only on papers,” the report said and asked the finance ministry and Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL) to “put their heads together” and draw plans for augmentation of indigenous production capacity with well laid out timelines.

The panel had earlier suggested that the government must undertake research and development works related to indigenisation of production of such items with enhanced financial allocation.

The government, in its action taken report, had stated that its currency manufacturing plans include capacity augmentation of Security Paper Mill at Hoshangabad and modernisation of ink factory, but did not give any specific timeframe. The committee appreciated the initiative to augment indigenous production of some security sensitive items and added that the plan was devoid of “specificity regarding physical and financial dimensions as well as timelines for indigenisation.”

It also expressed its displeasure over the delay in taking steps to amend penal provisions for protection to victims of counterfeit operations and suggested the government act immediately to initiate measures in this direction.

“The committee is disappointed to note that no steps to amend the penal provisions for providing protection to the hapless victims of counterfeit operations have been initiated by the government,” the report, which was recently tabled in Parliament, said.
To make its awareness campaign on currency notes more effective and forceful, it suggested the government to widen the coverage of ad film “Paisa Bolta Hai”.

“The ad film only on Doordarshan seems insufficient as a large number of people who do not watch Doordarshan remain uncovered,” it said and urged that steps should be taken to telecast such ad films on all popular channels.

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