Reserve Bank advice on Rs.500 Notes

The Reserve Bank has advised in public interest that all Rs.500 notes issued by the Reserve Bank are legal tenders and banks and members of public should continue to accept these notes in their daily transactions or in exchange. The Reserve Bank has also stated that these notes being legal tender are acceptable at the counters of bank branches and also of the Reserve Bank.

It has come to the notice of the Reserve Bank of India that currency notes in the denomination of Rs.500 are not being readily accepted by the members of public for fear of their being forged. The fear of forgery is largely reported in the currency notes in the denomination of Rs.500 in the old series which are green in colour having Ashoka Pillar as the watermark (located in the white window on the left of the note) and portrait of Mahatma Gandhi on the right. The new series has portrait of Mahatma Gandhi in the watermark.

The Reserve Bank of India has also advised that the members of public can themselves check if a Rs.500 note in the old series with Ashoka Pillar in the watermark is genuine or not by ensuring that they contain the following features:

  1. Watermark of Ashoka Pillar emblem is clearly seen when held against the light as a light and shade effect.
  2. The legend 'Reserve Bank of India', '500', printed in the centre of the note, the promise clause in Hindi and English, Ashoka Pillar emblem, Mahatma Gandhi portrait, language panel, five small black lines on the left side of the note meant to be an identification mark for the blind are in raised printing, known as intaglio. The raised printing can be felt by touch.
  3. Both the panels containing the serial number of the note are printed in fluorescent ink and glow when the note is held against an ultra violet lamp.
  4. There is a latent image of the numeral '500' and the word RBI in the horizontal green belt that is below the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. The latent image of '500' can be seen when the note is held horizontally at the eye level and 'RBI' can be seen when the note is held vertically at the same level.
  5. The note contains the security thread on the left hand side of the note.

To help public identify genuine notes in the new series of Rs.500, the security features of these notes that can be seen with naked eyes are given below:

  1. Rs.500 denomination notes issued in Mahatma Gandhi series have the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi in the watermark. The watermark is in the white space seen on the left of the notes.
  2. The portrait of Mahatma Gandhi can be clearly seen in the watermark as a light and shade effect when held against light.
  3. The security thread in a note is placed on the right hand side of the note and can be easily identified as a broken silver line; but if held against light, this silver line can be seen as a continuous black line. The security thread contains the word "RBI" and "" clearly written alternatively on it which can be seen only on the front side of the note.
  4. Several important features have been embossed or printed in raised manner, called intaglio, on both sides of the notes - front and back. The portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, numeral 500, RBI seal, an arch-like pattern which can be seen below the RBI legend and in between watermark and the portrait of the Mahatma Gandhi, guarantee and promise clauses, Ashoka Pillar which is placed on the bottom left side of the watermark, as also, the RBI Governor's signature - are all embossed on these notes. These can be felt by touch.
  5. The notes also have solid circle in black in raised printing in between the flower and the Ashoka Pillar emblem on the left side of the watermark. This is to help the visually impaired to identify the note by touch.

The following security features in the new series of Rs. 500 note can also be seen when the note is closely examined:

  1. The note has a latent image of the numeral '500' in the green vertical band placed on the right side of the note. The latent image can be seen only when the note is held against light at eye level.
  2. The flower on the left hand side of the watermark window slightly above the Ashoka Pillar emblem has a hollow design in front with solid on the back. When note is held against light, the solid fits into the hollow perfectly.
  3. The number panels are printed in fluorescent ink; the notes also have optical fibres. Both can be seen when the notes are exposed to ultraviolet lamp.
  4. Between the head of the Mahatma Gandhi portrait and the green panel, the notes have very fine line design. When seen through a magnifying glass, the design will actually show "RBI" and denominational value '500' written in very small letters.
  5. Watermark window contains criss-cross lines that can be seen through a magnifying glass.

All notes have a unique crackle sound.

Alpana Killawala
General Manager

Press Release : 1999-2000/90