A Political Brawl in the Design and Form of Banknotes and Coins
Amidst the 'unholy' row kicked up by Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s appeal to print images of Hindu deities on Indian currency notes. It became a political brawl with the BJP to "develop the country's economy" in order to "deliver prosperity" to the nation. Changes in the design and form of banknotes and coins are decided by the RBI and the central government. A currency note's Central Board and the national government must both authorise any changes to its design. Making changes in the design of coins is the prerogative of the central government.
In 2010, the RBI and the Center already put a stop to the situation. Manisha Sinha, the Department of Economic Affairs' Additional Secretary, responded to an RTI request from Pune businessman Prafful Sarda in 2019 on the Indian Currency Note (ICN). The government claimed that a high-level group established by the RBI in October 2010 had long discussed the necessity of including other illustrious individuals, Bharat Ratnas, Nobel laureates, freedom fighters, or sports figures on the ICN design. No other person could "better symbolise the ethos of India better than Mahatma Gandhi," according to the High-Level Screening Committee, which was established on the recommendation of the then-governing administration of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.The decision was made to maintain Mahatma Gandhi's image on the obverse of banknotes and in the watermark as a result. The recommendation has received government approval, "announced the RTI response from the North Block on November 11, 2019.
Internally, the central bank develops a plan that is presented to the Central Board of the RBI. The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, Section 22 grants RBI the "sole right" to issue currency in India. The Center must approve the design, form, and material of bank notes after taking into account the recommendations provided by the [RBI's] Central Board, according to Section 25. The primary function of currency management is administered by the Department of Currency Management at RBI. The Department handles operational and policy matters related to "designing banknotes; forecasting demand for notes and coins; ensuring smooth distribution of banknotes and coins throughout the country and the removal of defective notes and out-of-date coins from circulation; ensuring the integrity of banknotes," among other things, according to the RBI website. If a change is required in a currency note's design, the Department creates the alteration, submits it to the RBI, and the latter suggests it to the national government. The government grants the final okay.
The central government has the authority to create and manufacture coins of various denominations thanks to the Coinage Act, 2011. The central government's supply of coins is all that the RBI is responsible for dispensing in the case of coins. According to the central bank, the government determines the number of coins to be struck based on indents it receives from the RBI on an annual basis. Four mints owned by the Indian government, located in Kolkata, Mumbai, Noida, and Hyderabad, produce coins.
The RBI assesses the number of banknotes that are expected to be needed, denomination-wise, in a year and sets orders with the various currency printing presses for their supply after consulting with the central government and other stakeholders. The RBI offers high-quality banknotes to the general population in compliance with its clean note policy. Returned notes are checked, and those that are suitable for circulation are then reissued, while the dirty and damaged notes are burned. The Government of India owns two of India's currency note printing presses (in Nasik and Dewas), while the RBI owns two more (in Mysore and Salboni) through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Ltd. (BRBNML). Banknotes in denominations of Rs 10, Rs20, Rs50, Rs100, Rs200, Rs500, and Rs 2,000 are currently being issued. Older notes of these denominations, if they are still in circulation, remain to be legal currency despite the fact that Rs 2 and Rs 5 notes are no longer printed. Re1 notes, if in circulation, are also legal tender.
On its banknotes, a number of nations print mosques, churches, and other religious symbols. For instance, the Church of Vau is shown on currency from Albania; St. Salvator's Church is shown on currency from the Czech Republic; St. John the Baptist Church is shown on cash from Russia; and similar holy sites are shown on currency from Ukraine and Croatia. Kejriwal's drive for Hindutva is consistent with his departure from the staunchly "secular" beliefs he had previously held, and it appears to have been motivated by Gujarat's election climate, where Hindutva attitudes are still strongly held.