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Confusion Reigns Over India 10-Rupee Coins

India continues to have problems getting the public to accept its circulating 10-rupee (₹10) coins.

India continues to have problems getting the public to accept its circulating 10-rupee (₹10) coins.

Beginning in 1999 the United States began issuing quarters into circulation on which the reverse design was changed several times a year. Collectors and non-collectors alike find these coins to be interesting, but no one has ever said the many design changes are too confusing and perhaps some of the coins are fakes for that reason.

Not so in India. Since 2015 India has issued circulating commemorative ₹10 coins on which Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Dr. Sarvapalli Radha Krishnan, the Third Indo Africa Forum, Maharana Pratap, Swami Chimayananda, Mahatma Gandhi’s Return from Africa, International Yoga Day, Nabakalebar Rath Yatra, Lala Lajpat Rai, Tatya Tope, Banaras Hindu University, National Archive of India, Shrimad Rajchandra, and Dr. M. S. Subbulakshmi have been featured.

This is in addition to the standard non-commemorative designs featuring Unity in Diversity introduced in 2005, Connectivity and Technology in 2008, lion capitol design in 2011, and the eight stylized grain stalks below the denomination added to the reverse in 2019. Coin collectors should also be aware coins of India have mint marks for Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Noida.

The ₹ 10 Reserve Bank of India bank note remains legal tender as well. (Bank notes are legal tender in denominations of ₹2, ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹200, ₹500 and ₹2000.

According to a central bank statement, “The additional designs in circulation are commemorative in nature and are part of an ongoing program not unlike that through which the United States honored each state and has continued by honoring other subjects and individuals.”

India’s first ₹10 coin was introduced in 2005. Within a year there was a controversy about the design. The ₹10 was India’s first ringed bimetal coin. Due to the design controversy few of these coins entered circulation. Many that did were hoarded, with much of the hoarding being blamed on coin collectors.

The ₹ symbol for rupee first appeared on coins in 2011. Due to a social media rumor claiming any ₹10 coin lacking this symbol was fake shopkeepers began refusing the coin. The RBI later clarified the situation, identifying the earlier versions of the denomination as being genuine and legal tender. The central bank also made it clear anyone refusing to accept the ₹10 coin could face legal action.

In February 2018 the bank began an awareness campaign about the legal tender status and authenticity of all varieties of the denomination.

It appears old traditions sometimes refuse to die. On Feb. 10 a parliamentary question was raised by Constituency: Party: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra and Rajva Sabba member Shri A. Vijayakumar in Rajya Sabh. (The Rajva Sabba is the council of states, the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India.) Vijayakumar was directing the question at India Minister of State in Ministry of Finance Pankaj Chaudhary.

Vijayakumar asked if the ₹ 10 coins are still being refused in parts of India and are still being presumed to be fakes. A further question asked “whether government will take necessary steps to make [the] ₹10 coin legal tender in the country.”

In a written reply Chaudhary said, “Some complaints regarding non-acceptance of ₹ 10 coin have been received from [the] general public from time to time. In order to create awareness, remove misconceptions and allay fears in the mind of the public, RBI issues press releases periodically, urging members of the public to accept the coin as legal tender in all their transactions without any hesitation. Furthermore, nation-wide SMS awareness campaign and print media campaign were also undertaken by RBI to increase acceptance of coins among the public.”

In a recent statement the central bank said, “It has come to the notice of the Reserve Bank that in certain places there is reluctance on part of traders and members of public to accept ₹10 coins due to suspicion about their genuineness,” adding, “So far the Reserve Bank has issued ₹10 coin in 14 designs... All these coins are legal tender and can be accepted for transactions.”