India: Reserve Bank introduces first-ever 200-rupee bank-note denomination

(Background photo by Raveesh Vyas)

In a surprise move, the Reserve Bank of India have issued their first-ever 200-rupee bank-note denomination. Released on the 25th August, the 200 rupees is included in their new family of revised “Mahatma” bank notes. The first of the new series was a 2,000-rupee note; also a new denomination for India, it was introduced in the latter part of 2016.

The new bank note measures 146 mm x 66 mm, with an overall yellowish-orange colour scheme and corresponding geometric patterns on the face and back.

The back features an image of the Sanchi Stupa, a Buddhist complex famous for its Great Stupa. It is located on a hilltop at Sanchi Town in the Raisen District which resides in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Also included on the new bank note is the symbol referring to the Indian rupee, , which the Reserve Bank introduced to the Indian public in July 2012. The year of issue is included left of field of the watermark, and an image of the Mahatma’s famous spectacles is seen below the watermark field along with wording in Devanagari. To the right of the watermark, a panel of text shows the note’s denomination in several languages which are prevalent in India.

On the face is the portrait of the Mahatma, which was first introduced on a range of bank notes in 1996. To the left side of the Mahatma’s portrait are the Devanagari symbol and numerals, २००. Additional security features include a windowed security thread with inscriptions भारत and RESERVE BANK OF INDIA, complete with colour-shifting ink which changes from green to blue when the note is tilted. The rupee symbol and arabic numerals, ₹ 200, appear on the bottom right of the face in colour-changing ink (also green to blue). The note has additional tactile symbols on the face, such as the four angular lines with two circles in between positioned on both the right and left sides.

The Reserve Bank of India hastily recalled the 500- and 1,000-rupee denomination bank notes in November 2016 in an attempt to compel Indians to deposit large sums of money, which were previously stashed as cash and may not have been declared as income. Bank notes not deposited into bank accounts by their owners risked the loss of value or of their ability to be redeemed. A new 2,000-rupee bank note was at the same time issued to enable cash transactions. The introduction of the new 200-rupee bank note is also part of the revision of the currency system to improve efficiency and fill the gap between the current 100-rupee bank note and the newly issued 500-rupee note. A 50-rupee note in the revised and re-designed series is scheduled to be issued in September.

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