The Indian rupee (symbol: ₹; ISO code: INR) is the official currency of the Republic of India. The issuance of the currency is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India.
The modern rupee is subdivided into 100 paise (singular paisa) though as of 2011 only 50-paise coins are legal tender. Banknotes in circulation come in denominations of ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹500 and ₹1000. Rupee coins are available in denominations of ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹75, ₹100, ₹150 and ₹1000; the coins for ₹20 and above are for commemorative purposes only; the only other rupee coin has a nominal value of 50 paise, since lower denominations have been officially withdrawn.
The Indian rupee symbol '₹' (officially adopted in 2010) is derived from the Devanagari consonant "र" (Ra) and the Latin letter "R". The first series of coins with the rupee symbol was launched on 8 July 2011.
The Reserve Bank manages currency in India and derives its role in currency management on the basis of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. Recently RBI launched a website Paisa-Bolta-Hai to raise awareness of counterfeit currency among users of the INR.
Silver punch mark coin of the Maurya empire, known as Rupyarupa, 3rd century BCE.
Historically, the rupee (derived from the Sanskrit word raupya), was a silver coin. This had severe consequences in the nineteenth century, when the strongest economies in the world were on the gold standard. The discovery of large quantities of silver in the United States and several European colonies resulted in a decline in the value of silver relative to gold, devaluing India's standard currency. This event was known as "the fall of the rupee".
The history of the Indian rupee traces back to Ancient India in circa 6th century BC, ancient India was one of the earliest issuers of coins in the world, along with the Chinese wen and Lydian staters.
The Hindi word rūpiya is derived from Sanskrit word rūpya, which means "wrought silver, a coin of silver", in origin an adjective meaning "shapely", with a more specific meaning of "stamped, impressed", whence "coin". It is derived from the noun rūpa "shape, likeness, image". The word rūpa is being further identified as having sprung from the Dravidian ".
Arthashastra, written by Chanakya, prime minister to the first Maurya emperor Chandragupta Maurya(c. 340-290 BCE), mentions silver coins as rupyarupa, other types of coins including gold coins (Suvarnarupa), copper coins ( Tamararupa) and lead coins (Sisarupa) are also mentioned. Rupa means form or shape, example, Rupyarupa, Rupya - wrought silver, rupa – form. During his five-year rule from 1540 to 1545, he set up a new civic and military administration, Afghan king Sher Shah Suri issued a coin of silver, weighing 178 grains, which was termed the Rupiya. The silver coin remained in use during the Mughal period, Maratha era as well as in British India. Among the earliest issues of paper rupees include; theBank of Hindustan (1770–1832), the General Bank of Bengal and Bihar (1773–75, established by Warren Hastings), and the Bengal Bank (1784–91).
Rupiya issued by Sher Shah Suri, 1540–1545 CE
India was unaffected by the imperial order-in-council of 1825, which attempted to introduce British sterling coinage to the British colonies. British India, at that time, was controlled by the British East India Company. The silver rupee continued as the currency of India through the British Raj and beyond. In 1835, British India adopted a mono-metallic silver standard based on the rupee; this decision was influenced by a letter written by Lord Liverpool in 1805 extolling the virtues of mono-metallism.
Following the Indian Mutiny in 1857, the British government took direct control of British India. Since 1851, gold sovereigns were produced en masse at the Royal Mint in Sydney, New South Wales. In an 1864 attempt to make the British gold sovereign the "imperial coin", the treasuries in Bombay and Calcutta were instructed to receive gold sovereigns; however, these gold sovereigns never left the vaults. As the British government gave up hope of replacing the rupee in India with the pound sterling, it realized for the same reason it could not replace the silver dollar in the Straits Settlements with the Indian rupee (as the British East India Company had desired).
Since the silver crisis of 1873, a number of nations adopted the gold standard; however, India remained on the silver standard until it was replaced by a basket of commodities and currencies in the late 20th century.
The Indian rupee replaced the Danish Indian rupee in 1845, the French Indian rupee in 1954 and the Portuguese Indian escudo in 1961. Following the independence of British India in 1947 and the accession of the princely states to the new Union, the Indian rupee replaced all the currencies of the previously autonomous states (although the Hyderabadi rupee was not demonetized until 1959). Some of the states had issued rupees equal to those issued by the British (such as the Travancore rupee). Other currencies (including the Hyderabadi rupee and the Kutch kori) had different values.
Obverse of a one-rupee note issued by the Government of India.
The values of the subdivisions of the rupee during British rule (and in the first decade of independence) were:
- 1 rupee = 16 anna (later 100 naye paise)
- 1 artharupee = 8 anna, or 1/2 rupee (later 50 naye paise)
- 1 pavala = 4 anna, or 1/4 rupee (later 25 naye paise)
- 1 beda = 2 anna, or 1/8 rupee (later equivalent to 12.5 naye paise)
- 1 anna = 1/16 rupee (later equivalent to 6.25 naye paise)
- 1 paraka = 1/2 anna (later equivalent to 3.125 naye paise)
- 1 kani (pice) = 1/4 anna (later equivalent to 1.5625 naye paise)
- 1 damidi (pie) = 1/12 anna (later equivalent to 0.520833 naye paise)
In 1957, the rupee was decimalised and divided into 100 naye paise (Hindi for "new paise"); in 1964, the initial "naye" was dropped. Many still refer to 25, 50 and 75 paise as 4, 8 and 12 annas respectively, similar to the usage of "two bits" in American English for a quarter-dollar.
With the Partition the Pakistani rupee came into existence, initially using Indian coins and Indian currency notes simply over stamped with "Pakistan". Previously the Indian rupee was an official currency of other countries, including Aden, Oman, Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the Trucial States, Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, the Seychelles and Mauritius.
The Indian government introduced the Gulf rupee – also known as the Persian Gulf rupee (XPGR) – as a replacement for the Indian rupee for circulation outside the country with the Reserve Bank of India (Amendment) Act of 1 May 1959. The creation of a separate currency was an attempt to reduce the strain on India's foreign reserves from gold smuggling. After India devalued the rupee on 6 June 1966, those countries still using it – Oman, Qatar, and the Trucial States (which became the United Arab Emirates in 1971) – replaced the Gulf rupee with their own currencies. Kuwait and Bahrain had already done so in 1961 and 1965, respectively.
The Bhutanese ngultrum is pegged at par with the Indian rupee; both currencies are accepted in Bhutan. The Nepalese rupee is pegged at ₹0.625; the Indian rupee is accepted in Nepal, except ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes, which are not legal tender in Nepal. Sri Lanka's rupee is not currently related to that of India; it is pegged to the US dollar.
East India Company, 1835
The three Presidencies established by the British East India Company (Bengal, Bombay and Madras) each issued their own coinages until 1835. All three issued rupees and fractions thereof down to 1⁄8- and 1⁄16-rupee in silver. Madras also issued two-rupee coins.
Copper denominations were more varied. Bengal issued one-pie, 1⁄2-, one- and two-paise coins. Bombay issued 1-pie, 1⁄4-, 1⁄2-, 1-, 11⁄2-, 2- and 4-paise coins. In Madras there were copper coins for two and four pies and one, two and four paisa, with the first two denominated as 1⁄2 and one dub (or 1⁄96 and 1⁄48) rupee. Madras also issued the Madras fanamuntil 1815.
All three Presidencies issued gold mohurs and fractions of mohurs including 1⁄16, 1⁄2, 1⁄4 in Bengal, 1⁄15 (a gold rupee) and 1⁄3 (pancia) in Bombay and 1⁄4, 1⁄3 and 1⁄2 in Madras.
In 1835, a single coinage for the EIC was introduced. It consisted of copper 1⁄12, 1⁄4 and 1⁄2 anna, silver 1⁄4, 1⁄3 and 1 rupee and gold 1 and 2 mohurs. In 1841, silver 2 annas were added, followed by copper 1⁄2 pice in 1853. The coinage of the EIC continued to be issued until 1862, even after the Company had been taken over by the Crown.
Regal issues, 1862–1947
Regal issue minted during the reign of King/Emperor George V.
In 1862, coins were introduced (known as "regal issues") which bore the portrait of Queen Victoria and the designation "India". Their denominations were 1⁄12 anna, 1⁄2 pice, 1⁄4 and 1⁄2 anna (all in copper), 2 annas, 1⁄4, 1⁄2 and one rupee (silver), and five and ten rupees and one mohur (gold). The gold denominations ceased production in 1891, and no 1⁄2-anna coins were issued after 1877.
In 1906, bronze replaced copper for the lowest three denominations; in 1907, a cupro-nickel one-anna coin was introduced. In 1918–1919 cupro-nickel two-, four- and eight-annas were introduced, although the four- and eight-annas coins were only issued until 1921 and did not replace their silver equivalents. In 1918, the Bombay mint also struck gold sovereigns and 15-rupee coins identical in size to the sovereigns as an emergency measure during the First World War.
In the early 1940s, several changes were implemented. The 1⁄12 anna and 1⁄2 pice ceased production, the 1⁄4 anna was changed to a bronze, holed coin, cupro-nickel and nickel-brass 1⁄2-anna coins were introduced, nickel-brass was used to produce some one- and two-annas coins, and the silver composition was reduced from 91.7 to 50 percent. The last of the regal issues were cupro-nickel 1⁄4-, 1⁄2- and one-rupee pieces minted in 1946 and 1947, bearing the image of George VI, King and Emperor on the obverse and an Indian tiger on the reverse..
Independent predecimal issues, 1950–1957
Indian one pice, minted in 1950
India's first coins after independence were issued in 1950 in 1 pice, 1⁄2, one and two annas, 1⁄4, 1⁄2 and one-rupee denominations. The sizes and composition were the same as the final regal issues, except for the one-pice (which was bronze, but not holed).
Independent decimal issues, 1957–
In 1964, India introduced aluminium coins for denominations up to 20p.
The first decimal-coin issues in India consisted of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 and 50 naye paise, and 1 rupee. The 1 naya paisa was bronze; the 2, 5 & 10 naye paise were cupro-nickel, and the 25 naye paise (nicknamed chavanni; 25 naye paise equals 4 annas), 50 naye paise (also called athanni; 50 naye paise equaled 8 old annas) and 1-rupee coins were nickel. In 1964, the word naya(e) was removed from all coins. Between 1964 and 1967, aluminum one-, two-, three-, five- and ten-paise coins were introduced. In 1968 nickel-brass 20-paise coins were introduced, and replaced by aluminum coins in 1982. Between 1972 and 1975, cupro-nickel replaced nickel in the 25- and 50-paise and the 1-rupee coins; in 1982, cupro-nickel two-rupee coins were introduced. In 1988 stainless steel 10-, 25- and 50-paise coins were introduced, followed by 1- and 5-rupee coins in 1992. Five-rupee coins, made from brass, are being minted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Between 2005 and 2008 new, lighter fifty-paise, one-, two- and five-rupee coins were introduced, made from ferritic stainless steel. The move was prompted by the melting-down of older coins, whose face value was less than their scrap value. The demonetization of the 25-(chavanni) paise coin and all paise coins below it took place, and a new series of coins (50 paise – nicknamed athanni – one, two, five and ten rupees, with the new rupee symbol) were put into circulation in 2011. Coins commonly in circulation are one, two, five and ten rupees. Although it is still legal tender, the 50-paise (athanni) coin is rarely seen in circulation.
The coins are minted at the four locations of the India Government Mint. The ₹1, ₹2, and ₹5 coins have been minted since independence. Coins minted with the "hand picture" were minted from 2005 onwards.
After independence, the Government of India mint, minted coins imprinted with Indian statesmen, historical and religious figures. In year 2010 and 2011 for the first time ever ₹75, ₹150 and ₹1000 coins were minted in India to commemorate Platinum Jubilee of Reserve Bank of India, 150th birth anniversary of Rabindra Nath Tagore and 1000 years of Brihadeeswarar Temple, respectively. In 2012 a ₹60 coin was also issued to commemorate 60 years of Government of India Mint, Kolkata.
The design of banknotes is approved by the central government, on the recommendation of the central board of the India. Currency notes are printed at the Currency Note Press in Nashik, the Bank Note Press in Dewas, the Bharatiya Note Mudra Nigam (P) presses at Salboni and Mysore and at the Watermark Paper Manufacturing Mill in Hoshangabad.
The current series of banknotes (which began in 1996) is known as the Mahatma Gandhi series. Banknotes are issued in the denominations of ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹500 and ₹1000. The printing of ₹5 notes (which had stopped earlier) resumed in 2009. ATMs usually distribute ₹100, ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes. The zero rupee note is not an official government issue, but a symbol of protest; it is printed (and distributed) by an NGO in India.
British Indian ten rupee note
British Indian one rupee note
In 1861, the government of India introduced its first paper money: ₹10 notes in 1864, ₹5 notes in 1872, ₹10,000 notes in 1899, ₹100 notes in 1900, 50-rupee notes in 1905, 500-rupee notes in 1907 and 1000-rupee notes in 1909. In 1917, 1- and 21⁄2-rupee notes were introduced. The Reserve Bank of India began banknote production in 1938, issuing ₹2, ₹5, ₹10, ₹50, ₹100, ₹1,000 and ₹10,000 notes while the government continued issuing ₹1 notes.
Independent issues since 1949
After independence, new designs were introduced to replace the portrait of the king. The government continued issuing the ₹1note, while the Reserve Bank issued other denominations (including the ₹5,000 and ₹10,000 notes introduced in 1949). During the 1970s, ₹20 and ₹50 notes were introduced; denominations higher than ₹100 were demonetized in 1978. In 1987 the 500-rupee note was introduced, followed by the ₹1,000 note in 2000. ₹1 and ₹2 notes were discontinued in 1995.
In September 2009, the Reserve Bank of India decided to introduce polymer banknotes on a trial basis. Initially, 100 crore (1 billion) pieces of polymer ₹10 notes will be introduced. According to Reserve Bank officials, the polymer notes will have an average lifespan of five years (four times that of paper banknotes) and will be difficult to counterfeit; they will also be cleaner than paper notes.
Mahatma Gandhi series ₹1000 banknote with the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi
The Mahatma Gandhi series of banknotes are issued by the Reserve Bank of India as legal tender. The series is so named because the obverse of each note features a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. Since its introduction in 1996, this series has replaced all issued banknotes. The RBI introduced the series in 1996 with ₹10 and ₹500 banknotes, at present, the RBI issues banknotes in denominations from ₹5 to ₹1,000. The printing of ₹5 notes (which had stopped earlier) resumed in 2009.
As of January 2012, the new '₹' sign has been incorporated into banknotes in denominations of ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹500 and ₹1,000.
The Government of India has the only right to mint the coins. The responsibility for coinage comes under the Coinage Act, 1906 which is amended from time to time. The designing and minting of coins in various denominations is also the responsibility of the Government of India. Coins are minted at the five India Government Mints at Mumbai, Alipore(Kolkata), Saifabad(Hyderabad), Cherlapally (Hyderabad) and NOIDA (UP).
The coins are issued for circulation only through the Reserve Bank in terms of the RBI Act.
The main security features of current banknotes are:
- Watermark - White side panel of notes has Mahatma Gandhi watermark.
- Security thread - All notes have a silver or green security band with inscriptions (visible when held against light) of Bharat in Hindi and "RBI" in English.
- Latent image - On notes of denominations of ₹20 and upwards, a vertical band on the right side of the Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait contains a latent image showing the respective denominational value numerally (visible only when the note is held horizontally at eye level).
- Micro lettering - Numeral denominational value is visible under magnifying glass between security thread and latent image.
- Intaglio - On notes with denominations of ₹5 and upwards the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, the Reserve Bank seal, guarantee and promise clause, Ashoka Pillar Emblem on the left and the RBI Governor's signature are printed in intaglio (raised print).
- Identification mark - On the left of the watermark window, different shapes are printed for various denominations ₹20: vertical rectangle, ₹50: square, ₹100: triangle, ₹500: circle, ₹1,000: diamond). This also helps the visually impaired to identify the denomination.
- Fluorescence - Number panels glow under ultraviolet light.
- Optically variable ink - Notes of ₹500 and ₹1,000 denominations have their numerals printed in optically variable ink. The number appears green when the note is held flat, but changes to blue when viewed at an angle.
- See-through register - Floral designs printed on the front and the back of the note coincide and perfectly overlap each other when viewed against light.
- EURion constellation - A pattern of symbols found on the banknote helps software detect the presence of a banknote in a digital image, preventing its reproduction with devices such as colour photocopiers.