India will now have coins of the denomination of Rs 1,000. The proposal got the Parliament’s nod, even as lawmakers lamanted the end of an era with the phase-out of 25 paise coin.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the payment and receipt by way of coins was being limited to Rs 1,000 by an individual, as suggested by the Reserve Bank of India, for sake of convenience.
The Coinage Bill, 2009, passed by the Rajya Sabha, limits payment by an individual through coins up to Rs 1,000. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill without discussion in March.
Mukherjee said at present it was only an enabling provision being inserted in the coinage law. He did not indicate when it could be introduced.
Replying to concerns on counterfeit notes, the Minister said it was a battle the government would fight continuously, especially when some countries were using it as a tool to destablise the Indian economy.
"I do not want to name the countries. Everybody is aware of what their objective is,” he said. Concerns have often been expressed over fake currency coming from Pakistan routed through Nepal.
While the Finance Minister shared members' nostalgia over withdrawal of 25 paise coin (chavanni), Mukherjee said it was part of an economic evolution. There used to be coins in the sub-unit of a paisa in the past, he added.
BJP leader SS Ahluwalia reminded the House that the distinguishing feature of the 25 paise coin was that once upon a time, that was all one required to become a member of the Congress.
“A chavanni membership of the party was a badge of honour,” said Ahluwalia, a former Congressman who later joined the BJP.
Ahluawalia’s speech elicited praise from all sections of the House. Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar said he wondered why Ahluwalia constantly created a hubbub (hangama) when he could speak so well.
To this, Ahluwalia retorted that he had known Aiyar from the time he was an official and sitting in the officers’ gallery.
Later Ramdas Agarwal of the BJP also congratulated Ahluwalia.