Genuine & Fake Notes

Are there any special features in the banknotes of Mahatma Gandhi series- 1996?

Genuine & Fake NotesThe Mahatma Gandhi series-1996 banknotes contained several special features vis-à-vis the banknotes issued earlier. These are

  • Security Thread:
    Rs.10, Rs.20 and Rs.50 notes contain fully embedded security thread. Rs.100, Rs.500 and Rs.1000 banknotes contain windowed security thread. This thread is partially exposed and partially embedded. When held against light, this thread can be seen as one continuous line. Other than on Rs.1000 banknotes, this thread contains the words 'Bharat' in the Devanagari script and 'RBI' appearing alternately. The security thread of the Rs.1000 banknote contains the inscription 'Bharat' in the Devanagari script, '1000' and 'RBI'.
  • Latent Image:
    The vertical band next to the (right side) Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait, contains a latent image, showing the denominational value 20, 50, 100, 500 or 1000 as the case may be. The value can be seen only when the banknote is held horizontally and light allowed to fall on it at 45° ; otherwise this feature appears only as a vertical band.
  • Micro Letterings:
    This feature appears between the vertical band and Mahatma Gandhi portrait. It contains the word ‘RBI’ in Rs.10. Notes of Rs.20 and above also contain the denominational value of the banknotes. This feature can be seen better under a magnifying glass.
  • Identification Mark:
    A special intaglio feature (raised printing) has been introduced on the left of the watermark window, on the obverse (front) on all banknotes except Rs.10/- banknote. This feature is in different shapes for various denominations (Rs.20-Vertical Rectangle, Rs.50-Square, Rs.100-Triangle, Rs.500-Circle, Rs.1000-Diamond) and helps the visually impaired to identify the denomination.
  • Intaglio Printing:
    The portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, Reserve Bank seal, Guarantee and promise clause, Ashoka Pillar Emblem and RBI Governor's signature are printed in intaglio i.e. in raised prints in Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100, Rs.500 and Rs.1000 banknotes.
  • Fluorescence:
    The number panels of the banknotes are printed in fluorescent ink. The banknotes also have optical fibres. Both can be seen when the banknotes are exposed to ultra-violet lamp.
  • Optically Variable Ink:
    The numeral 500 & 1000 on the Rs.500 [revised colour scheme of mild yellow, mauve and brown] and Rs.1000 banknotes are printed in Optically Variable Ink viz., a colour-shifting ink. The colour of these numerals appears green when the banknotes are held flat but would change to blue when the banknotes are held at an angle.
  • Watermark:
    The banknotes contain the Mahatma Gandhi watermark with a light and shade effect and multi-directional lines in the watermark window.

MG series - 2005 banknotes

MG series 2005 banknotes are issued in the denomination of Rs.10, Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100, Rs.500 and Rs.1000 contain some additional / new security features. The Rs.50 and Rs.100 banknotes were issued in August 2005, followed by Rs.500 and Rs.1000 denominations in October 2005 and Rs.10 and Rs.20 in April 2006 and August 2006, respectively.

The additional / new security features in MG Series 2005 banknotes

  • Security Thread:
    The machine-readable security thread in Rs.10, Rs.20 and Rs.50 denomination banknotes is windowed on front side and fully embedded on reverse side. The thread fluoresces in yellow on both sides under ultraviolet light. The thread appears as a continuous line from behind when held up against light.
  • Colour Shift:
    Rs.100, Rs.500 and Rs.1000 denomination banknotes have machine-readable windowed security thread with colour shift from green to blue when viewed from different angles. It fluoresces in yellow on the reverse and the text will fluoresce on the obverse under ultraviolet light.
  • Intaglio Printing:
    The portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, Reserve Bank seal, Guarantee and promise clause, Ashoka Pillar emblem, Governor's signature and the identification mark for the visually impaired persons are printed in improved intaglio.
  • See through Register:
    Half the numeral of each denomination (10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000) is printed on the obverse (front) and half on the reverse. The accurate back to back registration makes the numeral appear as one when viewed against light.
  • Water Mark and Electrotype Watermark:
    The portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, the multi-directional lines and an electrotype mark showing the denominational numeral 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 appear in this section respectively in each denomination banknote and these can be viewed better when the banknote is held against light.
  • Optically Variable Ink (OVI):
    The font size of the numeral 500 and 1000 in Rs.500 and Rs.1000 denomination banknotes is reduced, as compared to MG series banknotes issued in these denominations earlier in the year 2000. The colour of the numeral appears green when the banknote is held flat but would change to blue when the banknote is held at an angle.
  • Dual coloured optical fibres, seen under UV lamp.
  • Year of Printing:
    Year of printing appears on the reverse of the banknote

All these banknotes issued by the Bank are legal tender.

The details are also available in the updated version of the Master Circular External website that opens in a new window on Detection and Impounding of Counterfeit Banknotes- (2007). (Annex IV PDF file : External link that opens in a new window (34.7 KB))

Why was the change brought about?

Central banks, the world over change the design of their banknotes and introduce new security features primarily to make counterfeiting difficult and to stay ahead of counterfeiters. India also follows the same policy.

What is a "star series" banknote?

Fresh banknotes issued by Reserve Bank of India till August 2006 were serially numbered. Each banknote bears a distinctive serial number along with a prefix. The prefix consists of numeral and letter/s. The banknotes are issued in packets containing 100 pieces.

The Bank has adopted the "STAR series" numbering system for replacement of defectively printed banknotes, at the printing presses. To begin with, this will be for banknotes of Rs.10, Rs.20 and Rs.50 denomination. The Star series banknotes are exactly like the existing Mahatma Gandhi Series banknotes, but have an additional character viz., a *(star) in the number panel in the space between the prefix and the number. The packets containing these banknotes will not, therefore, have sequential serial numbers, but contain 100 banknotes, as usual. To facilitate easy identification, the bands on such packets clearly indicate the presence of these banknotes in the packet.


  • How does one differentiate between a genuine banknote and forged/counterfeit banknote?
    The banknote on which the above explained features i.e., the features of genuine banknotes are not available / absent can be suspected to be a counterfeit banknotes and examined minutely.
  • What are the legal provisions relating to printing and circulation of forged banknotes?
    Counterfeiting banknotes / using as genuine, forged or counterfeit banknotes / possession of forged or counterfeit banknote / making or possessing instruments or materials for forging or counterfeiting banknotes making or using documents resembling banknotes are offences under Sections 489A to 489E of the Indian Penal Code and are punishable in the Courts of Law by fine or imprisonment ranging from seven years to life imprisonment or both, depending on the offence.

Clean Note Policy

Reserve Bank of India has been continuously making efforts to make good quality banknotes available to the members of public. To help RBI and banking system, the members of public are requested to ensure the following:

  • Not to staple the banknotes
  • Not to write/put rubber stamp or any other mark on the banknotes
  • Store the banknotes safely to prevent any damage

  • Jurisdiction Area of Police Stations
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