The currency of India is Rupee which is properly known as Rupiya in Hindi in India. The word Rupiya is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Rupyakam’. The translation of Rupee in English is ‘Silver’ as previously the currency was based on silver coins only. The ISO 4217 code for the Indian Rupee is INR, that is, Indian National Rupee. One Rupee consists of 100 paise.
It is issued by Reserve Bank of India (RBI). RBI came into existence on 1st April 1935. Until then Government of India used to issue currency notes. But after the establishment of RBI, Government used to issue only one Rupee note. Rest of the notes viz. 2, 5,10,1000 was used to be issued by RBI. In the year 1938, RBI started to issue the denominations of 5000 and 10,000 Rupees notes as well. The portrait of the King on the currency notes were removed in 1949. In the year of 1970, the denomination of 20 and 50 Rupees notes came into existence but in 1978, denominations higher than 100 were demonetized. In the year of 1987, the denomination of 500 Rupees was reintroduced and in the year 2000, Rs.1000 was introduced.
It is believed that the currency system using coins was introduced by Sher Shah Suri. Paper money had started its use in about 18th century when the banks came into existence. In 1861, Government of India started issuing paper money.
An Indian note contains the denomination written in altogether 17 languages. Amongst them English and Hindi are used on the front side and rest of the 15 regional languages is used on the other side.
After independence India started issuing coins from 1950. The denominations for the coins were 1 pice, ½, 1 and 2 annas, ¼, ½ and 1 rupee. Then came the concept of 1 (bronze); 2, 5, 10 (cupro-nickel); 25 and 50 naye paise and 1 rupee (nickel). In the tear 1964, the word naye or naya became obsolete. Between 1964 and 1967, 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 paise of aluminium were introduced. In the year 1968, 20 paise coins of nickel-brass were introduced which were later replaced by aluminium in 1982. Between 1972 and 1975, cupro-nickel replaced all the nickel coins and in 1982 2 Rupee coins of cupro-nickel were introduced followed by 10, 25, 50 paise coins of stainless steel in 1988; 1 and 5 Rupee coin in 1992. Later on, lighter versions of 1, 2 and 5 Rupee were introduced which were struck in ferritic stainless steel. For these lighter versions older coins whose face value was less than their scrap value were melted down. Currently in India only 50 paise, 1, 2 and 5 Rupee coins are n circulation. Rests are becoming very rare.
Earlier Indian coins used to be of silver. So, due to the high cost of silver the cost of Indian coins were high. But after vast resources of silver were found in US and other European countries, the cost of Indian currency fell down. And after that Indian coins were not able to buy much in the International market. This is known as “the fall of the Rupee”.
The current Indian currency notes known as Mahatma Gandhi series which started in 1996 are printed at currency note press(Nasik), Bank Note Press(Dewas), Bharatiya Note Mudra Nigam (P) Limited presses (Salboni and Mysore) and at the Watermark Paper Manufacturing Mill (Hoshangabad). The coins are minted at four locations of India Government mint.
For a currency note which cannot be counterfeited, there must be some securities for it. These security features are used by the Indian to be assured of the original ones. The features are changed from time to time for security reasons. The current features are:
- Watermark- The picture in the watermark is of Mahatma Gandhi.
- Security thread- There is a silver band with inscription Bharat (Hindi) and RBI (English).
- Latent image- The notes from Rs.20 onwards display the note’s denominational value in numerals when held horizontally at eye level.
- EURion constellation.
- Micro lettering- Between security thread and latent image numeral denominations can be seen with a magnifying glass.
- Fluorescence- Under ultra-violet rays the number panel glows.
- Optically variable ink- In the notes of 500 and 1000 Rupees, the number seems to appear green when held flat and blue when held at an angle.
- See through register- The floral design on both the sides coincide and overlap with each other when seen against light.