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Monday, April 29, 2019

Rupees Fifty Banknotes: National Flag & Gandhi Stories


Rupees Fifty banknote was first introduced on 16th September 1975. The new note depicted the Parliament Building at New Delhi having a bare Flag-pole, i.e., without the National Flag, on the reverse. Governor S. Jagannathan was the first signatory, followed by K.R. Puri, M. Narsimhan, and I. G. Patel.

The Flag omission was rectified in 1980 during the tenure of Governor             I. G. Patel. The National Flag now appears on the Flag-pole over the Parliament House.  The legend Satyameva Jayate, i.e., ‘truth alone shall prevail’, also came to be incorporated under the Ashoka Pillar emblem for the first time. The watermark continued to be the Lion Capital, Ashoka pillar with spinning wheels.
On 14th March 1997, a new 50 Rs note under the ‘Mahatma Gandhi Series’ was introduced. The National Flag is now bigger in size in its position of honour. The banknotes of this series bear the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi on the obverse with enhanced security features being introduced in phased manner. The watermark has also been changed to depict the Gandhi portrait. Governor Rangarajan was the first signatory of the notes.


 Banknotes issued initially in the ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ series carried the name ‘M. K. Gandhi’ below the portrait of Gandhi.  

The name M. K. Gandhi was subsequently changed to ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ (when Bimal Jalan was the Governor of RBI) which is still in vogue.
From the year 2005 onward the Mahatma Gandhi series notes have period/date of printing at the bottom of the reverse side.

It may be recalled that in 1996, former Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Sheshan, wanted portrait of Gandhi to be debarred from the Banknotes to curb the use of “Gandhian Method” in elections.
Queries under Right to Information Act, 2005 have since been raised as to why RBI has used the word ‘Mahatma’ since the title was never officially conferred on him. (‘Weird Wallet’: Without Reserve / October-December 2013).
In April 2006, RBI introduced ’Star Series’(*) banknotes in the number panel to avoid the cost involved in reprinting of the same serial number notes.


Symbol ‘₹’ for Rs. was introduced for the first time in 2012; Governor D. Subbarao.

Progressive number panel was introduced in 2016; Governor Raghuram G. Rajan.

 The banknotes in this series came to an end in 2017, Governor Urjit Patel was the last signatory.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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