Indian Rupee

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Country: IndiaIndia India Bhutan Nepal Zimbabwe
Subdivision: 100 Paise ( P. )
ISO 4217 code : INR
Abbreviation: ₹, iR, Re (Sg.), Rs (Pl.)
Exchange rate :
(August 24, 2020)

EUR  = 87.772 INR
100 INR = 1.1393 EUR

CHF  = 81.565 INR
100 INR = 1.226 CHF

Indian banknotes

The Indian rupee ( Hindi : रुपया , rupayā ; English : "rupee") is the name of the unit of currency in India that is issued by the government of India and the Reserve Bank of India , the Indian central bank. It is divided into 100 paises . The Indian rupee is often abbreviated as "iR", "Rs" ( plural ) and "Re" ( singular ), as has been the case with the currency symbol "₹" since 2010 and has the designation "INR" in the ISO 4217 code .

The Indian rupee is also accepted as a form of payment in some other countries . Several other countries also call their currency the rupee .

Today's Indian coins have a face value of 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 Paise and also 1, 2, 5 and 10 rupees. The 5, 10, 20 and 25 Paise coins expired in 2011. The 50 paisse coin is still legal tender, but it is rarely used. The banknotes are available with face values ​​of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 rupees, and since November 10, 2016 also the issue of a 2000 rupee note, but at the same time the 1000 Rs note has become invalid . Bills with a face value of 1 and 2 rupees are also issued, but only in small numbers and are therefore very rarely available. India is a cash society. The variety of Indian languages ​​and scripts is also taken into account on the rupee bills. The face value is printed on the current banknotes in the 17 most important Indian languages.


Prehistory of the Indian rupee

Some of the first cultures to introduce a coin system arose in the geographic area of ​​what is now India. There is no historical consensus on the exact timing of the introduction of money in India. Historical evidence suggests that possibly sometime between 2500 and 1750 BC. First coins were introduced. The period between the 4th and 6th centuries BC is widespread for the initial introduction. Chr. Indicated. Discussed reasons for the introduction are the establishment of order and control as well as ease of administration. The monitoring of trade in particular probably played an important role.

Since the introduction of the first coins, there have been many changes in both the name, value and appearance of the coins common in the Indian subcontinent. The appearance depended on the ruling dynasty , the socio-political events or the nature of India. For example, during the Indio-Greek period there were coins whose appearance was marked by images of Greek deities , or due to the brisk trade between the Roman and Indian empires, coins that contained Roman and Indian symbols at the same time.

Every dynasty and every ruler who conquered India or one of its provinces influenced the appearance of the coins. The Arab influence already existed in the 8th century AD, when the province of Sindh was conquered by the Muslims . In the 12th century, under the Sultanate of Delhi , Islamic calligraphy was introduced on Indian coins. Newly created coins had oriental symbols and carried the name Tanka ; this remained the currency until the 15th century when it was replaced by the Indian rupee.

Indian rupee from inception until today

The introduction of the Indian rupee goes back to the ruler Sher Khan Suri (1540–1545). He strove for a centralized administrative structure and tried, since until then there were separate coins with different values ​​and made of different materials in many provinces, to standardize the currency system. The introduction of the silver coin Rupiya , probably in 1526, which weighed 11.5 grams (= 178 grains) and was the predecessor of the modern Indian rupee, served this purpose. The coin was only given the name "rupee" in 1612.

At first there was the rupee, made of silver, only in the form of coins. The first paper ruptures were not introduced until the 18th century, among others by the Bank of Hindustan and the Bengali Bank . The languages ​​on the banknotes, depending on which bank was printed, were Urdu , Bengali or Nagri .

The rupee was not the only currency in India. At the same time under British rule, until 1815, there was another currency, the Fanam . This had an exchange rate of 12 Fanams = 1 rupee.

In 1825 the British crown ordered the introduction of the British pound in all of its colonies. Although India was already largely controlled by the British East India Company at this point , the rupee remained the subcontinent's currency throughout the colonization.

The British colonial power tried several times to replace the rupee. In 1864 the gold sovereign of Bombay and Calcutta was supposed to displace the rupee. The project failed, as did similar projects in the colonial areas of Canada and Hong Kong . Ultimately, the aim of the British East India Company was abandoned and the rupee remained the currency of India. In order to stop the decline in the value of the Indian rupee against the pound, which has been increasing steadily since 1875 and which led to a financial imbalance, the value of the rupee was guaranteed on a gold basis from 1898 . One rupee was now equivalent to £ 1/15.

Queue outside a bank in Kerala on November 19, 2016

On the eve of November 9, 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in a completely surprising television speech that the current 500 and 1000 rupee banknotes would no longer be an official means of payment from midnight and that they would be exchanged for new 500 and 2000 banknotes within 50 days. Rupee banknotes can be exchanged - upon presentation of the identity card. This measure was justified as a fight against corruption, against the shadow economy without tax payments and against hoarded cash in one of the economies with a large unequal distribution of wealth .

There were big problems getting the new banknotes into circulation. ATMs were quickly empty because of the daily limit of 2,000 rupees, banks in the country were not supplied. Queues formed in front of the banks with waiting times of several hours. A cash crisis arose. Tourists could change in exchange offices with exchange rates below the official rate. 70 people died in the queues in front of the banks alone. Manmohan Singh , the current opposition former prime minister, spoke of monumental “mismanagement”. The Nobel laureate in economics, Amartya Sen, described the measure as "despotic and authoritarian". Analysts at Deutsche Bank saw growth losses of around 1% in economic output. The central bank's director, Raghuram Rajan , resigned in September 2016. There were slogans to persevere, especially from Modi supporters, from small servants and from the rickshaw drivers and day laborers who had previously been dependent on cash . In 2014, more than 700 million Indians had no bank accounts, which the government had already recognized as a problem. The existence of the rural population was particularly affected, because with the large banknotes - after all 86% of the cash supply - daily wages are also paid out and work in the fields rested. Wealthy people, on the other hand, were able to organize the deposit of the now invalid bills into the accounts of straw men and the payout by hunting for functioning ATMs with vehicles - sometimes heavy SUVs - and smartphone apps. The old banknotes were also exchanged abroad, not just via Singapore. The temporary restricted cash availability in the Indian economy has been described as a great social experiment for a cashless economy, although it was not a cash abolition .

For this experiment, the Modi government received direct but discreet support from the US government's development aid agency USAid . President Barack Obama had made the "strategic partnership" with India, against China , a foreign policy priority of the United States . USAid had signed a cooperation agreement with the Indian Ministry of Finance to push back the use of cash in favor of digital payment methods in India and worldwide. This American initiative was called Catalyst: Inclusive Cashless Payment Partnership (in German, for example: initiation of a comprehensive partnership for cashless payment transactions ).

Conversion rates

The exchange rates for the major trading coins during the colonial period were (before 2% customs)

  • 100 Spanish (Mexican) dollars : Rs. 227.194 (standard 1772); Rs 225,584 (1812); 211.742 Rs. (1833) = 4 'd.
  • 1 Rijksdaalder (= 2½ fl.): 1 '6 d
  • 100 silver francs: 39,462 Rs., D. H. 100 Rs. Almost exactly 250 fr.
  • 100 Napoleons (for 20 fr.): 47,315 old mohure, 47,575 new mohure (Bengal), 54,313 new mohure (Bombay and Madras).
Mogul style silver rupee of the British Madras Presidency, minted between 1817 and 1835

The fall of the rupee

Changes in the price of silver and changes in the INR exchange rate in British pence
year Ounce of silver Indian Rupee
1871-1872 60½ 23⅛
1875-1876 56¾ 21⅝
1879-1880 51¼ 20th
1883-1884 50½ 19½
1887-1888 44⅝ 18⅞
1890-1891 47 1116 18⅛
1891-1892 45 16¾
1892-1893 39 15th

In contrast to the economically strongest currencies, the rupee was a silver coin . Therefore, there was a drastic devaluation in 1873, when large silver deposits were discovered in the USA and the price of the precious metal and its relationship to gold fell significantly in the markets. The rupee lost its purchasing power in foreign trade and an economic crisis developed in India. Due to this development and under the influence of the British government - it had not expected the markets to stop the free minting of silver coins for British India on June 26, 1893 - India switched to the gold standard in 1898 . At the same time, the rupee was pegged to the British pound sterling , with a fixed value of 15 rupees = £ 1 (pound). This exchange rate changed over the years:

  • 1920: 10 rupees = £ 1
  • 1927: 13 rupees = £ 1
  • 1966: 8.7 rupees = £ 1 and 7.5 rupees = US $ 1

In 2013, the value of the rupee hit an all-time low: on August 21, 2013, USD 1 cost 64.46 rupees.

Exchange rate of the euro to the rupee since 2009


India gained independence in 1947; exactly three years later, the Indian rupee was first issued as the currency of the new republic. It now consisted of 16 Annas , which corresponded to 64 Paise (1 Anna = 4 Paise). The appearance has been changed, back to traditional symbols, and the manufacturing materials have also been replaced with bronze, nickel or copper.

On April 1, 1957, the Indian Coinage (Amendment) Act 1955 introduced the decimal system in the Indian currency. The rupee now consisted of 100 Naye Paise (Hindi: New Paise). The new coins had different shapes while the mints remained uniform, the lion emblem on the obverse and the denomination of the coin on the reverse. From June 1, 1964, the word Naye was dropped and only the name Paise remained . The new series of coins was introduced in 1965 and consisted of previously unused materials; so the newly emitted paise was made of aluminum.

The Indian rupee also circulated until 1959 in the emirates under the British protectorate on the Persian Gulf ( Bahrain , Qatar , Kuwait , Oman and Trucial States ). The Reserve Bank of India issued a separate series of banknotes for these states from 1959 to 1970, known as the Gulf rupee and pegged 1: 1 to the Indian rupee.

In 1966, the Indian rupee was pegged to the US dollar. This relationship lasted until 1971.

The right of the princely states to mint coins

At the time of the East Indian Company, a number of princely states struck rupees based on the Mughal model. After the Sepoy Uprising in 1857, the Persian inscriptions were replaced by Queen Victoria or the local ruler, a process that was completed around 1872. The colonial rulers examined the claims of individual states to the old right to mint their own coins, and only granted 34 of them the right to mint coins. In order to achieve a certain standardization, the Government of India in 1876 ​​offered the states to mint their coins free of charge in central mints for them. After the free of charge was revoked in 1893, most states waived their own coins.

Hyderabad, which was the only one allowed to keep its own currency in the form of the Hyderabad rupee (ratio about 6 British rupees to 7 HR.), As well as Mewar (Udaipur), Jaipur, Travancore, Kutch, Gwalior, Jodhpur, Indore and Baroda, issued until 1947 regular silver and copper coins. Some states occasionally minted change made of copper. Jodhpur and Kutch issued coins with the bust of the British sovereign every year, including in 1936. These were the only coins of the Empire with the name of Edward VIII that were actually in circulation, alongside change from the East African shilling .

In some princely states the rupee was denominated differently. B. in:

  • Bamra (CP), Punch (Kashmir): 1 Anna = 4 Paisa = 12 pies
  • Bastar , approx. 1862: 240 kauri = 1 dogani; 10 dogani = 1 rupee
  • Cochin : 12 pies = 6 puttans = 1 Anna
  • Faridkot (Punjab): 1 Anna = 4 Paisa = 8 Fulus
  • Nawanagar : 1 Anna = 6 Dokra
  • Soruth , until 1913: 16 Kori-Anna = 1 Anna, 4 Kori = 1 rupee
  • Travancore : 1 rupee = 28 chukram, 1 chukram = 16 cash

The Indian number system

The Indian number system , which is still used today in India, Pakistan , Myanmar and Bangladesh , has some peculiarities. In this system, two decimal places are grouped together for a better overview for larger numbers instead of three places, as is common in Europe. Some numbers are also given their own names.

This number system is also used in dealing with currency. Thus, the number 400,000 rupees is also written as Rs. 4 lakh or Rs. 4,00,000 and the number 40 million rupees as Rs. 4 crore (abbreviated cr. 4).

Modern Indian rupee security features

  • Watermark : the white edge of the banknotes is embossed with the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi .
  • Security strip: the banknotes have a silver band on which there is an inscription in Hindi and in English, which appears when the banknote is held up to the light.
  • Latent image : banknotes from 20 rupees show their value when the notes are held horizontally at eye level.
  • Micro- writing: - between the latent image and the security thread there is a writing that can be seen with the help of a magnifying glass.
  • Fluorescence : the face value of the banknote glows under UV light .
  • Optically variable printing ink : the number on the 500 and 1000 rupee notes changes color depending on the viewing angle.
  • Gravure : some symbols and images, such as B. the seal of the Reserve Bank of India, are created in gravure - so they can easily be felt. This security feature can only be found on bills over 20 rupees.

Plastic money

The Reserve Bank of India plans to replace the traditional 10 rupee note with one made from polymer . This is hoped to extend the lifespan of the notes fourfold to an average lifespan of five years. The advantage of polymer banknotes is that less dirt sticks to the banknotes, which means that they stay cleaner. The Central Bank's board of directors has decided to issue 10 million banknotes with a face value of 10 rupees. The introduction of plastic banknotes has already been carried out in other countries, such as B. in neighboring Nepal , Australia or New Zealand .

Currency symbol

Official currency symbol of the Indian rupee

In addition to the Japanese yen , the British pound , the euro , the US dollar and other currencies, the Indian rupee has had its own currency symbol since 2010 . This looks like the Latin capital letter "R", which lacks the vertical bar and instead has two horizontal lines across its entire width in the upper third of the symbol. It is a combination of the R with a slash and the letter (Ra) from the Devanagari script . This was preceded by a public competition advertised by the Indian Ministry of Finance. The aim of the competition was to create an identification symbol for the Indian rupee with a high recognition value. The new symbol should include traditional, historical and cultural values ​​of India, among other things. Only Indian citizens were allowed to enter the competition for a fee of 500 rupees. The symbol ultimately selected from 3000 submitted designs was selected by a seven-member jury consisting of employees from the government of India and the central bank. The winner of the competition received prize money of 250,000 rupees (approx. 2,800 euros).

Unicode contains the new rupee character at code point U + 20B9 (the old one at code point U + 20A8). Initially, the new symbol was only available as part of special computer fonts, but now it is also available in more widespread systems via system updates.


The variety of Indian languages ​​and scripts is also taken into account on the rupee notes. A large part of the texts on the banknotes is reproduced in Hindi and English, the two official languages ​​of the central government according to the Indian constitution. In addition, the face value is printed in the 15 most important languages ​​and corresponding scripts anchored in the Indian constitution: Asamiya , Bengali , Gujarati , Kannada , Kashmiri , Konkani , Malayalam , Marathi , Nepali , Oriya , Panjabi , Sanskrit , Tamil , Telugu and Urdu .


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

Web links

Commons : Rupee (India)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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