iipm think tank
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The Indian Ministry of Finance has announced a public competition to select a design for the new symbol of the rupee. Currently, rupee has no globally recognised symbol like the Dollar, Pound, Yen, or the Euro. The word “rupee” originated from the word ‘rup’ or ‘rupa’ which means ‘silver’. The rupee is generally abbreviated to Rs or INR (Indian National Rupee). To encourage participants, Government has also promised a prize money of Rs 25,000 to the five shortlisted participants and whopping Rs 2,50,000 for the winner.
One should not forgot that changing the currency symbol can be a costly exercise for the government. For example, when Euro was introduced after the replacement of guilder in 1999, it cost Europe’s biggest companies more than $50 billion to update their computer systems. Europe had to replace 70 billion coins which was an expensive proposition. Turkey too changed its currency. In January 2009, Turkey officially started using the Turkish Lira (TL) instead of Yeni Turkish Lira (YTL). And the cost of replacing YTL by TL stood at YTL 1.14 million. In addition, the country is also incurring a cost of YKr 11 to 12 for changing from YTL to TL for each bank note. Iran has also planned to change its currency, Rial. The value of Rial has gone down so much that it has become negligible. 500 Rials is worth mere 5 cents while 50,000 Rials is worth $5.30. Iran wants to change its currency to revalue its Rial.
Considering all these, it seems extremely important to estimate the cost involved with India’s symbolic plan of changing the symbol. Moreover, there seems no regulation that will make sure that the new symbol will not hurt someone’s cultural or religious sentiments which are for some odd reasons too volatile in the subcontinent. There are no any specific guidelines from the government on whether the old notes and coins will remain in circulation with the new ones.In this time of downturn, the decision on a new coin symbol is highly debatable. This may not only dilute the brand equity of rupee but will encompass needless expenditures at a time when government coffers are already drying up.
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