The Nano Mega 2000 note
On November 8, 2016 the Indian Govt demonetized the 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Alongside, we also got the pictures about the new 2000 rupee note that would be released in its place. Well till that point things were fine!
Then came a deluge of WhatsApp forwards that talked about the capability of the new 2000 notes. These were claimed to be embedded with Nano GPS Chip (NGC) which when queried by satellites would give out their serial number and location. This would lead to Govt tracking the new notes easily, finding out the location, making it easier for law enforcement agencies to apprehend the Black money hoarders and other tax avoiding businessmen. It also further stated that the tracking could penetrate 120 meters below ground and boy, it was just impossible to conceal it!
As an anti-aircraft specialist all my life in the Army and a student of Radar Technology, I initially ignored these messages and tried to put my neck out trying to tell people that it is not possible. But educated people kept forwarding these messages because for them the black money scourge needed to be eradicated and this was God sent technology. One of my friend Ranjan added a little humour– he said NanoTech was actually NaMoTech, to credit our PM for the fantastic idea. The social media message of the hi-tech 2000 currency note went so viral, to my horror, media houses picked it up and published them. I have seen Zee, and Deccan Chronicle publish these without verifying the facts. There might have been more such media who pick up anything that is viral and sell them as news.
Even though RBI has clarified that there is no such security feature, many might be thinking – Why can’t we have such a Technology? After all when satellites can see everything from space, why not a 2000 rupee note.
For argument sake, let us consider a hypothesis that such a technology exists. Where would a country use it first? Most hi tech inventions would be used either in military or space applications. Such a tech could be used to track own troops, vehicles, tanks and weapons. It would have been pasted on all our rifles so that we could track them in case some terrorist or Maoist snatches it from our security forces. We could have embedded these in the helmets of each of our soldiers to detect them and guide them remotely. We could have put this tech in each of our cars and scooters so that they never get stolen. The uses for it is so wide. But we haven’t heard of such things ever. Have you?
Some would argue that there are new tracking devices the size of coins, which can be put in bags and can be located. Yes, they are available. They have a battery inside it which lasts for a year. They work on Bluetooth and have a range of just 100 ft only. If it goes beyond that, and when ‘lost command’ is activated, it uses other Bluetooth devices in the vicinity to convey its location. Basically using the cell phones in the vicinity.
Now let me explain why this is next to impossible to put such tech in currency notes. The worlds smallest GPS is about 2 mm in thickness. Of course these would then not be possible to be embedded in a currency which is far far thinner. A GPS is mostly just a plain receiver that get signals from minimum three satellites to get a fix on their own position. If this note, as claimed had to send signals back to the satellites then it would definitely require power to transmit. Where would it get power or battery in a currency note? The next point is the radar wave that would be needed to track such small articles. We in the Air Defence forces strain ourselves to try and locate flying aircraft which are quite big, and we face many issues. If we use a lower frequency transmissions it gets attenuated by environment (remember the crackling noise in radio) and if we use very high frequency the range gets compromised drastically.
Now some one may say, “Hey, how are satellites tracking the mineral deposits?” Well they use multi spectral imaging using infrared but these are done over a long period of time and still the result is valid only for a large area. Imagine a dot on a place in the map of India may cover so many hundred kms and hence accurate tracking is next to impossible.
Now that you have understood it is a hoax, the only issue I would like to highlight is please don’t believe anything that is dished out on social media or for that matter even from some media houses. Their ethics to research the truth has diminished in the eagerness to garner TRPs. Today I received a picture of a girl holding a bundle of 2000’s and with a text that she is the daughter of a politician in UP. My inquiries reveal that the concerned person does not have a daughter at all. How easy it is today, to fool others and falsify things, and defame people. When you get such messages, delete them and advise the sender not to send such messages.
For your part, please use discretion and to not be trigger happy to just forward anything that comes. You never know what it could cause. Forward as received does not absolve you of your responsibility. You may read my earlier blog on this topic here.
Remember all that Whatsapps may not be Gold! Let us hope such NanoTech does come in future.