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I know where’s your Money!
Usage of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags in Indian notes of higher Denomination will allow better tracking of funds during Hawala Transactions and make laundering much harder

Much rejoicing has happened over the treasure unearthed at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, which was an event that came as a bolt from the blue. Ironically, the event that India is impatiently awaiting – the unearthing of India’s wealth at Swiss temples (read banks) – remains a non-event, despite countless government assurances. As per estimates, India tops the list of countries with almost $1.5 trillion in black money in Swiss banks, followed by Russia at $470 billion, UK at $390 billion, Ukraine with $100 billion and China with $96 billion.

Besides ridding us of the past burden, the government also has to proactively stem the flow of black money happening here and now. And we have a fantastic idea that Race Course road could use to track money laundering.

And that is, implant Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags in high value Indian notes. An RFID tagged banknote is not an unknown commodity. The European Central Bank (ECB) took the initiative to deal with money counterfeiting and laundering through RFID technology in 2001. The ECB began research and development to implant RFID tags into the fibres of euro currency notes. The process started in 2005, and by 2007, the ECB had successfully embedded RFID tags in all euro notes above €20.

The major concern of embedding RFID tags in Indian notes is the cost of implanting, as a tag would cost between 20 cents to $1.00 (Rs.18-45). To counter that, either the government could start manufacturing these tags themselves, or these tags could be used in high denomination currencies only. This clearly will be an effective step in at least ensuring that the future money launderer would think twice before doing the do.

By:- Amir Hossain

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