Indian rupee

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Indian rupee
ISO 4217 Code INR
Official user(s)  India
Unofficial user(s)  Bhutan (alongside the Bhutanese ngultrum)
 Nepal (in towns of Nepalese side of Nepal-India border, alongside the Nepalese rupee)
Inflation 8.5%, August 2010
Source eaindustry.nic.in
Method WPI
Pegged by Bhutanese ngultrum (at par)
Nepalese rupee (1 INR = 1.6 NPR)
Subunit
1/100 Paisa
Symbol Indian Rupee symbol.svg
Paisa p
Formerly used symbols Indianrupeesymbols.svg
Nickname Rupeyaa, paisa
Coins
Freq. used 1, 2, 5 Rupees
Rarely used 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 paise, 10 Rupees
Banknotes
Freq. used 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 Rupees
Rarely used 1, 2, 5 Rupees
Central bank Reserve Bank of India
Website www.rbi.org.in
Printer Reserve Bank of India
Website www.rbi.org.in
Mint India Government Mint
Website www.hydmint.org

The Indian rupee (Hindi: रुपया) (sign: Indian Rupee symbol.svg ; code: INR) is the official currency of the Republic of India. The currency is issued and controlled by the Reserve Bank of India.[1] During the past 15 years, the value has ranged from $1 USD = 35–49 INR or 1 euro = 44–68 INR (see below: Exchange rates).

The modern rupee is sub-divided into 100 paise (singular paisa). The coins have values of 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 paise, as well as 1, 2, 5 and 10 rupees. The bank notes are available in values of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rupees.

The Indian rupee symbol (Indian Rupee symbol.svg) is an amalgam of both the Devanagari consonant "" (Ra) and the Latin letter "R" without the vertical bar. The design was presented to the public by the government of India on 15 July 2010.[2]

The current abbreviation "INR" started in July 2010. Until then, the abbreviation "Rs" (or "Re") was used.

Origin of name[change | change source]

The word "rupee" originates from the Sanskrit word रौप्य(raupya) meaning "silver" or "made of silver".[3] Many Indian languages use this root word, for example, రూపాయి (rūpāyi) in Telugu, ரூபாய் (rūbāi) in Tamil, रुपया (rupayā) in Hindi, રૂપિયો (rupiyo) in Gujarati, ರೂಪಾಯಿ (rūpāyi) in Kannada and Tulu, രൂപ (rūpā) in Malayalam and रुपये (rupaye) in Marathi.

However, in West Bengal, Tripura, Mizoram, Orissa, and Assam, the Indian rupee is officially known by names derived from the Sanskrit word टङ्क (Tanka) which means money.[4] The rupee is called টাকা (Taka) in Bengali, টকা (tôka) in Assamese and ଟଙ୍କା (Tanka) in Oriya and is written as such on Indian banknotes.[5]

Symbol[change | change source]

On March 5, 2009, the Government of India announced a contest to create a symbol for the rupee.[6][7] During the 2010 Union budget of India, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee mentioned that the proposed symbol would reflect and capture the Indian ethos and culture.[8] Five symbols were shortlisted,[9] and the Cabinet selected the definitive symbol created by D. Udaya Kumar on July 15, 2010.[2] The symbol is derived from a combination of the Devanagari letter ‘र’ and English letter ‘R’. The parallel lines at the top (with white space between them) make an allusion to the tricolor and also depict an equality sign which symbolizes the nation's desire to reduce economic disparity.[10] The Indian government has plans to adopt the symbol within six months in the country and globally within 18 to 24 months.[2][11] Before the adoption of the symbol, the most commonly used symbols for the rupee were Rs, Re or if the text was in an Indian language, then an appropriate abbreviation in that language.

Numeral system[change | change source]

In Indian English, values at or above a hundred thousand Indian rupees are counted in terms of lakhs (one lakh = hundred thousand) and crores (one crore = ten million). For example, the amount Indian Rupee symbol.svg3,25,84,729.25 is read as three crores, twenty-five lakhs, eighty-four thousand, seven hundred and twenty-nine rupees and twenty-five paise. The use of million or billion, as is standard in American or British English, is not very common.

History[change | change source]

Use in India[change | change source]

Rupiya released by Sher Shah Suri, 1540–1545
Silver rupee of the Bombay Presidency, issued in the name of Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah (ruled 1719–1748)
Silver rupee of the British Indian Empire, 1918

India was one of the earliest issuers of coins (circa 6th century BC). The first "rupee" is believed to have been introduced by Sher Shah Suri (1486–1545), based on a ratio of 40 copper pieces (paisa) per rupee.[12] Among the earliest issues of paper rupees were those by the Bank of Hindustan (1770–1832), the General Bank of Bengal and Bihar (1773–75, established by Warren Hastings) and the Bengal Bank (1784–91), amongst others. Until 1815, the Madras Presidency also issued a currency based on the fanam, with 12 fanams equal to the rupee.

Historically, the rupee, derived from the Sanskrit word raupya, which means silver, 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 vast quantities of silver in the U.S. and various European colonies resulted in a decline in the relative value of silver to gold. Suddenly the standard currency of India could not buy as much from the outside world. This event was known as "the fall of the rupee".

India was not affected by the imperial order-in-council of 1825 that attempted to introduce the 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 throughout the entire period of the British Raj and beyond. In 1835, British India set itself firmly upon a mono-metallic silver standard based on the rupee. His decision was influenced by a letter, written in the year 1805, by Lord Liverpool that extolled 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 being produced in large numbers at the Royal Mint branch in Sydney, New South Wales. In the year 1864 in an attempt to make the British gold sovereign become the 'imperial coin', the treasuries in Bombay and Calcutta were instructed to receive gold sovereigns. These gold sovereigns however never left the vaults. As was realized in the previous decade in Canada and the next year in Hong Kong, existing habits are not easy to replace. And just as the British government had finally given up any hopes of replacing the rupee in India with the pound sterling, they simultaneously realized, and for the same reasons, that they couldn't easily replace the silver dollar in the Straits Settlements with the Indian rupee, as had been the desire of the British East India Company.

Since the great silver crisis of 1873, a growing number of nations had been adopting the gold standard. In 1898, following the recommendations of the Indian Currency Committee, British India officially adopted the gold exchange standard by pegging the rupee to the British pound sterling at a fixed value of 1 shilling 4 pence (i.e., 15 rupees = 1 pound). In 1920, the actual silver value of the rupee was increased in value to 2 shillings (10 rupees = 1 pound). In British East Africa at this time, the decision was made to replace the rupee with a florin. No such opportunity was, however, taken in British India.

In 1927, the peg was once more reduced, this time to 18 pence (13⅓ rupees = 1 pound). This peg was maintained until 1966, when the rupee was devalued and pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 7.5 rupees = 1 dollar (at the time, the rupee became equal to 11.4 British pence). This peg lasted until the U.S. dollar devalued in 1971.

The Indian rupee replaced the Danish Indian rupee in 1845, the French Indian rupee in 1954 and the Portuguese Indian escudo in 1961. Following independence in 1947, the Indian rupee replaced all the currencies of the previously autonomous states. Some of these states had issued rupees equal to those issued by the British (such as the Travancore rupee). Other currencies included the Hyderabad rupee and the Kutch kori. The nominal values during British rule (and the first decade of independence) were:

  • 1 damidi(pie) = 0.520833 paise
  • 1 kani(pice) = 1.5625 paise
  • 1 paraka = 3.125 paise
  • 1 anna = 6.25 paise (1 Anna)
  • 1 beda = 12.5 paise (2 Anna)
  • 1 pavala = 25 paise (4 Anna)
  • 1 artharupee = 50 paise (8 Anna)
  • 1 rupee = 100 paise (16 Anna)

In 1957, decimalisation occurred, and the rupee was 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, not unlike the usage of "bit" in American English for ⅛ dollar.

The rupee on the East African coast and South Arabia[change | change source]

In East Africa, Arabia, and Mesopotamia, the Rupee and its related coins were current at various times. The usage of the Rupee in East Africa extended from Somalia in the north, to as far south as Natal. In Mozambique, the British India rupees were overstamped. In Kenya, the British East Africa Company minted the rupee and its fractions as well as pice. The rise in the price of silver, immediately after the First World War, caused the rupee to rise in value to two shillings sterling. In 1920 in British East Africa, the opportunity was then taken to introduce a new florin coin, hence bringing the currency into line with sterling. Shortly after that, the Florin was split into two East African shillings. This assimilation to sterling did not however happen in British India itself. In Somalia the Italian colonial authority minted 'rupia' to exactly the same standard, and called the pice 'besa'.

The rupee in the Straits Settlements[change | change source]

The Straits Settlements were originally an outlier of the British East India Company. The Spanish dollar had already taken hold in the Straits Settlements by the time the British arrived in the nineteenth century, however, the East India Company tried to introduce the rupee in its place. These attempts were resisted by the locals, and by 1867 when the British government took over direct control of the Straits Settlements from the East India Company, attempts to introduce the rupee were finally abandoned.

International use[change | change source]

See also: Pakistani rupee

With Partition, the Pakistani rupee came into existence, initially using Indian coins and Indian currency notes simply overstamped with "Pakistan". In previous times, the Indian rupee was an official currency of other countries, including Aden, Oman, 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 exclusively outside the country with the Reserve Bank of India [Amendment] Act, 1 May 1959. This creation of a separate currency was an attempt to reduce the strain put on India's foreign reserves by 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, and both currencies are accepted in Bhutan. The Indian rupee is also accepted in towns in Nepal which lie near the border with India. However, the Indian Rupee denominations of 500 and 1000 are banned in Nepal.

Convertibility[change | change source]

Officially, the Indian rupee has a market-set exchange rate. However, the RBI trades actively in the USD/INR currency market to impact effective exchange rates. Thus, the currency regime in place for the Indian rupee with respect to the US dollar is a de facto controlled exchange rate. This is sometimes called a managed float. Other rates such as the EUR/INR and INR/JPY have volatilities that are typical of floating exchange rates.[13] It should be noted, however, that unlike China, successive administrations (through RBI, the central bank) have not followed a policy of pegging the INR to a specific foreign currency at a particular exchange rate. RBI intervention in currency markets is solely to deliver low volatility in the exchange rates, and not to take a view on the rate or direction of the Indian rupee in relation to other currencies.[14]

Also affecting convertibility is a series of customs regulations restricting the import and export of rupees. Legally, foreign nationals are forbidden from importing or exporting rupees, while Indian nationals can import and export only up to 5000 rupees at a time, and the possession of 500 and 1000 rupee notes in Nepal is prohibited.

RBI also exercises a system of capital controls in addition to the intervention (through active trading) in the currency markets. On the current account, there are no currency conversion restrictions hindering buying or selling foreign exchange (though trade barriers do exist). On the capital account, foreign institutional investors have convertibility to bring money in and out of the country and buy securities (subject to certain quantitative restrictions). Local firms are able to take capital out of the country in order to expand globally. But local households are restricted in their ability to do global diversification. However, owing to an enormous expansion of the current account and the capital account, India is increasingly moving towards de facto full convertibility.

There is some confusion regarding the interchange of the currency with gold, but the system that India follows is that money cannot be exchanged for gold, in any circumstances or any situation. Money cannot be changed into gold by the RBI. This is because it will become difficult to handle it. India follows the same gold-interchange principle as Great Britain and America.

Chronology
  • 1991 - India began to lift restrictions on its currency. A series of reforms remove restrictions on current account transactions including trade, interest payments & remittances and on some capital assets-based transactions. Liberalized Exchange Rate Management System (LERMS), a dual exchange rate system, introduced a partial convertibility of the Rupee in March 1992.[15]
  • 1997 - A panel set up to explore capital account convertibility recommended India move towards full convertibility by 2000, but timetable abandoned in the wake of the 1997-98 East Asian financial crisis.
  • 2006 - The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, asks the Finance Minister and the Reserve Bank of India to prepare a road map for moving towards capital account convertibility.[16]

References[change | change source]

  1. Reserve Bank of India FAQ - Your Guide to Money Matters, RBI.org.in, October 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Cabinet approves new rupee symbol". Times of India. 2010-07-15. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/biz/india-business/Cabinet-approves-new-rupee-symbol/articleshow/6171234.cms. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  3. Meaning of रौप्य (raupya)
  4. Meaning of टङ्क (Tanka)
  5. Reserve Bank of India - Languages Panel on Indian banknotes
  6. COMPETITION FOR DESIGN
  7. "India seeks global symbol for rupee". Hindustan Times. 2009-03-06. http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=c8097698-a806-4cc2-8c67-668d594057dc&Headline=India+seeks+global+symbol+for+rupee. Retrieved 2009-24-08.
  8. "Cabinet defers decision on rupee symbol". Sify Finance. 2010-06-24. http://sify.com/finance/budget-symbol-for-indian-rupee-news-budget-kc0pkgacdbj.html. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
  9. "List of Five Entries which have been selected for Final". Ministry of Finance, India. http://finmin.nic.in/the_ministry/dept_eco_affairs/infrastructure_div/message_symbol_final.asp. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  10. "IIT post-graduate gives Rupee its symbol". Indian Express. 2010-07-15. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rupee-symbol/646761. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  11. "Indian Rupee Joins Elite Currency Club". Theworldreporter.com. 2010-07-17. http://www.theworldreporter.com/2010/07/indian-rupee-joins-elite-currency-club.html.
  12. ADVFN: Indian Rupee
  13. "Convertibility: Patnaik, 2003" (PDF)
  14. "'Neither the government nor the central bank takes a view on the rupee (exchange rate movements), as long as the movement is orderly', says Indian Minister of Finance"
  15. Rituparna Kar and Nityananda Sarkar: Mean and volatility dynamics of Indian rupee/US dollar exchange rate series: an empirical investigation in Asia-Pacific Finan Markets (2006) 13:41–69, p. 48. DOI 10.1007/s10690-007-9034-0 .
  16. "The "Fuller Capital Account Convertibility Report"". 2006-07-31. http://rbidocs.rbi.org.in/rdocs/PublicationReport/Pdfs/72250.pdf. Retrieved 2009-01-23.

Further reading[change | change source]

  • Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar: The problem of the rupee: Its origin and its solution (history of indian currency & banking), Chapter 2, Rajagraha, Bombay, 7. Mai 1947

Other websites[change | change source]