Paper Money

India to issue new 100-rupee note

The Reserve Bank of India announced on July 19 that it will issue a new 100-rupee bank note to circulate alongside its still legal tender predecessors. The note will measure 66 millimeters by 142 millimeters, or 2 inches by 5 inches, and will have lavender as its main color with touches of gray and orange.

The face has the standard portrait of Mahatma Gandhi that appears on all the issues in the current series, while the back draws on the country’s cultural heritage with its depiction of Rani ki vav (queen’s step well).

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014, the step well, a form of underground water resource and storage system, has been in use on the Indian subcontinent since the third millennium B.C. This one, in the state of Gujarat, was built as a memorial to King Bhima I (1022 to 1064) by his widowed queen. It has seven levels of stairs and more than 500 sculptures. It was flooded by a river and silted over until the 1980s. Upon its excavation, its carvings were found in almost perfect condition.

Among the new note’s features are a see-through register with the number 100, RBI, INDIA and 100 in micro lettering; a windowed security thread with color-shifting inscriptions and in which the thread itself changes from green to blue when the note is tilted; and intaglio printing.

India is the second-largest producer of paper money in the world, behind only China. Its current currency series has not been without controversy. On Nov. 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made 86 percent of the currency in circulation worthless when he demonetized the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes overnight and said they would be replaced with new 500- and 2,000-rupee notes. The move, meant to counter tax evasion and black money, was widely reviled. As of now, owing to a lack of demand, the higher denomination, the U.S. equivalent of $29.15, is not being printed. 

The 100-rupee note is the equivalent of $1.46 in U.S. funds. 

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