Monday, April 28, 2008

Magnetic Money

Suddenly something hit my head when I got the change from the shopkeeper after buying some eatables. He gave me a Rs.5 coin and two Re.1 coins that are quite new with a silvery surface finish. That’s when I started to recollect few more instances at which few other shopkeepers gave me Re.1 coins which were quite new. I even found that the number of new coins in my nephew’s piggy bank was greater than that of the old ones, which was once the other way around. These new coins are dated between the years 1990-2007. I remember that the old ones are dated between 1965-1989, imprinted on them. Now, I wonder what happened to all those old coins and why is that I get only new Re.1 coins from the shopkeepers if they need to give me any change.

It’s been quite a long time since I saw the old Re.1 coins being used very frequently. They’re being replaced by new ones these days. The old Re.1 coins are made of 95% pure nickel and weighs around 9gms. The new One rupee coins are made of Ferratic Stainless Steel, an alloy that hardly gets corroded unlike nickel, and is at light as 5gms and are quite compact (25mm diameter). Some of the reasons, which I guess, would be responsible for the disappearance of the old Re.1 coins from the society are:

*The price of nickel (per tonne) has increased tremendously due to the fast depletion of the metal’s resources. The cost was around US$4000 in September.
*The probable idea of the Indian government to recycle the old nickel made-coins so as to utilize the metal judiciously for other purposes that would have great returns.
*To utilize the vast ferrous and stainless steel resources in the country instead of letting them become useless by rusting and other environmental effects which may take up these resources to the atmosphere and makes it a drain on the resources without even using them.
*As ferratic stainless steel is less vulnerable to mechanical forces that may deform the coins, which is the main drawback of old coins.

So, the government of India came up with a magnificent idea to introduce the ‘Call @ Re.1’ scheme, which uses only new Re.1 coins. Thus, the government was successful in bringing out the already produced Re.1 coins in the country. Also, it succeeded in its attempt to produce more number of new Re.1 coins and releasing them into the society. Since calls at just Re.1 sounded so attractive for the people, the citizens gave this scheme a very good welcome and gradually they started preserving the new coins for making calls at a rate as low as Re.1 probably. Because, this is the same idea that would run in my mind whenever I get to see a new Re.1 coin.

During the course, the government also succeeded in bringing out the old nickel-made coins into the market by other means, so that all these coins would be ultimately made to reach the hands of RBI through the coin depots maintained by banks and the government treasuries spread widely across the country. The RBI uses the magnetic property of the newly made coins to separate them from the old ones, which are non-magnetic in nature, so that the work could be made easy. Here are the coins made of Ferratic Stainless Steel:

Thus, the rate at which the new ferratic stainless steel-made Re.1 coins are released in the country will be probably equal to the rate at which the old nickel-made coins are disappearing from the society. The same trend is seen in the case of Rs.2 coins, where nickel-made old coins are being replaced by newly released ferratic stainless steel-made Rs.2 coins. Soon, we may even find the government releasing a new scheme to make International calls at the rate of just Rs.2 or a scheme to send FAX messages overseas at the rate of Rs.5 to eradicate old nickel-made coins completely from existence in the society.

I hope that soon the people of India would be filling their pockets with ‘MAGNETIC MONEY’.

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