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The article would provide a brief insight into the evolution of the currency system in India from ancient times to post independence.

Indian Currency

Currency System From The Ancient Times To The British Period
Ever since the dawn of civilization, man has been trading with each other. In the ancient times when there was no concept of money, people used barter system. In this system goods were exchanged with each other instead of paying money. Gradually, with development, metals were used to cast coins.

In India, during the rule of the slave dynasty, silver coins known as tanka and copper coins known as jintal were introduced by Iltutmish. During his brief rule, Sher Shah Suri introduced a silver coin known as Rupiya. Mughal coinage highlighted originality and innovative skills. Earliest issues of paper rupees were by Bank of Hindustan (1770-1832) and Bengal Bank (1784-91). During the British rule, and even in the first decade of independence, rupee was divided into 16 annas, which was divided into 4 paisa.

Currency System After Independence

Pre Decimal Issues (1950 - 57)
The first coins were introduced in 1950's. They were 1 paisa, 1/2, 1 and 2 annas, 1/4, 1/2 and 1 rupee denominations.

Decimal Issues (1957 - till date)
The first decimal issues of India consisted of 1,2,5,10,25 and 50 paisa along with 1 rupee. The 1 naya paisa was made of bronze while the 2, 5 and 10 naya paisa was of cupro-nickel. The 25 and 50 naya paisa and the 1 rupee were made of nickel. In 1964, the term naya was eliminated from all coins. In 1964 and 1967, aluminum 1,2,3,5 and 10 paisa were introduced.

In 1968, nickel brass 20 paisa was introduced which was replaced by aluminum coins in 1982. In 1982, cupro nickel 2 rupee coins were introduced. In 1988, stainless steel 10, 25 and 50 paisa were introduced, followed by 1 rupee coins in 1992. In 1992 5 rupee coins were also introduced.

Bank Notes Before Independence
The Reserve bank of India began production of notes in 1938, issuing 2, 5,10,1000 rupee notes, while the government of India continued to issue 1 rupee notes.

Bank Notes After Independence
After independence the government introduced new designs in bank notes. In 1970s, 20 and 50 rupee notes were introduced. In 1987, 500 rupee note was reintroduced followed by 1000 rupee in 2000. The language panel on the Indian rupee banknotes has 15 of the 22 national languages of India.

Demographics Of Currently Circulating Notes

Value Dimension Colour Reverse Date of Issue
Rs. 5 117 × 63 mm Green Tractor 2002
Rs. 10 137 × 63 mm Orange-violet Rhinoceros, elephant, tiger 1996
Rs. 20 147 × 63 mm Red-orange Palm trees 2002
Rs. 50 147 × 73 mm Violet Parliament of India 1997
Rs. 100 157 × 73 mm Blue-green at center brown
purple at 2 sides
Himalaya Mountains 1996
Rs. 1000 177 × 73 mm Pink Economy of India 2002

The Indian Currency has a market determined by the exchange rates. The Reserve Bank of India trades actively in the INR/USD to have effective rates.

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