Our Coins System: Feel the Citizens' Pain, Mr. RBI Governor by KS Raghavan SignUp
Our Coins System: Feel the Citizens' Pain,
Mr. RBI Governor
Dr. KS Raghavan Bookmark and Share

In the picture below are six Indian coins all currently in circulation. The numbers denote the diameters of respective coins in millimetres. Two of these on the left are two rupee coins. One of the two in the middle is a two rupee coin and the other a one rupee coin. Two on the right are both one rupee coins. In fact the smaller one on the right is of the same size as the (erstwhile) 50 Paise coin which has now been condemned and is no longer accepted.

There are two pictures here for all to easily realize.  On the one hand same denomination coins are of different sizes. On the other hand different denomination coins are of same size. What does this imply? In any transaction, the consumer has to examine the coins closely while paying as well as while collecting the change. The same is true for the person on the other side of the counter. In short our coins are not user-friendly. It is desirable that one should know the coin's denomination just by the feel of touch, say by putting the hand into the pocket.

This indeed is a pain experienced by most of the Indian citizens. This is the pain which I want our RBI Governor to “feel” by putting himself in an ordinary citizen’s shoes.

I just wonder why our coins have not been standardized in shape and size. Over the years and decades they are constantly undergoing metamorphosis. What is the compulsion faced by RBI for changing the coins almost on a continuous basis? I feel that this lack of constancy of  our coins system is largely responsible for an almost complete absence of vending machines in India. There is brighter side to this. With so many different types of coins India is a happy hunting ground for any numismatist.

I am posting this in the context of my earlier article “Triggers for Innovative Thinking” (https://www.boloji.com/blog/1697/triggers-for-innovative-thinking). There it has been explained that one of the triggers is “pain”. Top executives of organizations are expected to feel the pains of customers, employees and partners in order to bring about the necessary changes

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Comment Here is quote-unquote from a GOI press release of 2011: From time to time, the Ministry of Finance has been receiving representations about the existing shape and size of the coins, which make it difficult for the public, particularly the visually impaired, to distinguish the coins of different denominations especially the Re. 1 and Rs. 2 coins. The Government had constituted a High Level Committee to suggest rationalization of denomination of coins and currency notes to be minted/printed in the future. The Committee submitted its report in October 2009, which was considered by the Government at appropriate level. I wonder what the outcome is! Link for above: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=73117

10/20/2015 13:17 PM

Comment Postscript: I sent a mail to Reserve Bank of India quoting the link to this blog article. I got a reply today which states that all things connected with coins and currency notes are in the purview of the central government and not RBI. This has been the status since 2011. So I need to address this issue to the Ministry of Finance. Let me see their response. .. K S Raghavan

10/19/2015 09:59 AM

Comment Thanks Mr. Rao for your observations. Many RBI officers come from elite institutions like Harvard, London School of Economics. They are most likely to be overpaid for the jobs they do. Still they appear to be lacking common sense. I don't know in what other forum I should air my words. raghavan

09/13/2015 02:02 AM

Comment It is something to see utter lack of professional competency in planning different coins used by the masses on a daily basis. I am sure the RBI is filled with highly paid over educated officials. You don't need innovative thinking or creativity to come up with the idea that these coins should be easily distinguishable from each other. What is lacking is a sense of public service. Thanks for bringing the issue into focus.

P. Rao
09/12/2015 12:59 PM

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