July 6, 2019
The ten rupee coin introduced around 2006 has been a doubtful currency for the past three years, as rumours of its genuineness abound. Media reports of these coins being rejected by traders, businesses, banks, public transport and other services have increased public apprehension.
Matters came to a head when N Dhanapal, regional officer of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNTSC) in Tirupur pasted a handwritten notice on government buses asking the public and bus conductors not to use Rs.10 coins. This sparked outrage as it opposed a recent statement from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) insisting that the coins were legal tender and detractors should be fined. The officer was suspended for abusing his powers.
A Manoj, a social activist in Coimbatore toldThe Covai Post, “See coin minting is costlier than printing rupee notes. It might take about Rs.15 to make a Rs. 10 coin. So RBI’s purpose is to see more coins in circulation than notes, as they have longer utility and less damage. Initially, many people were holding these coins for collection due to its attractive gold and silver pattern. So circulation became limited. Now the RBI should decrease or stop printing ten rupee notes and increase its coin minting and circulation.”
The first suspicions started when the RBI issued new coins in 2011 on its 75th anniversary with the new rupee symbol. Rumours spread that the pre-symbol old coins were fake and its acceptance in common trade fell. Even banks hesitated to accept them claiming that they did not have time to count, no space to store them and finally having no coin counting machines.
“Imagine, they have coin dispensing machines but not coin counting machines which cost a mere Rs.2000. Despite frequent circulars, RBI issued a final one in 2018 that all ten rupee coins minted in 14 designs since its inception were legal tender and those who do not accept will be fined. People are even comparing the number of slash symbols on the coins as some have ten and some have fifteen. Both are valid. Nobody will mint fake coins, because it is a costly process, they might print fake notes instead,” adds Manoj.
The RBI circular though put up in all banks is yet to be followed. C M Jayaraman, President of Citizen’s Voice Club tells The Covai Post, “All leading banks should take firm action against detractors and set an example by accepting these coins.”
Manoj says, “Funnily some private banks collect service charge for accepting and counting currency deposited in ten rupee coins. The charge is exempt only for large value accounts. That is discrimination; one lady even told the bank staff that she would retain her coins until something like the 2016 note ban would be announced and then cash them.”
The controversy may be stilled but public confidence in ten rupee coins will rise only with frequent government reminders, feel activists.