Two variants of Rs 10 coins. Among these one does not have rupee symbol and having more than ten bars around the number 10. (DH Photo/Ajmal)
If you have only 10 rupee coins and you need to buy something from hawkers or small shops, it's better not to try. They may say that they have stopped accepting the coin since demonetisation or that the coin is not in use.
On Friday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) sent a bulk SMS informing people that all Rs 10 coins are valid.
"Rs. 10 coins have been issued both with rupee symbol and without it. Both are valid. Accept them without fear. To know more, give missed call to RBI at 14440," the message says.
What is the issue?
The 10 rupee coin's bad luck started soon after the government demonetised higher denomination notes on Nov. 8, 2016. One story claims that during the demonetisation process, one person went to a bank to deposit his collection of 10 rupee coins. But the bank did not accept them.
Later, there was information that the bank's storage was full after accepting the demonetised notes and there was an RBI directive to ensure that lower denomination currencies remain in circulation.
This incident spread through social media, especially on WhatsApp. People stopped accepting the coin soon after and some shops put notices claiming that the coin is not accepted.
On Nov. 20, 2016, the RBI put out a press release
saying that the public should accept Rs. 10 in all transactions. The press release also said, "some less-informed or uninformed persons who suspect the genuineness of such coins are creating doubts in the minds of ordinary people, including traders, shopkeepers, etc., impeding the circulation of these coins in certain pockets of the country causing avoidable confusion."Still not accepted
Despite the notices from the RBI and others, the coin's run of bad luck did not end. Hawkers and small shops were not ready to accept them. However, larger shops and government offices are accepting them.
A shopkeeper in Bengaluru's Shivaji Nagar said that he completely stopped receiving the coin. However, now he has begun accepting them since he can exchange the coins with BMTC conductors. "Now, I accept the coins from people if they give me one or two," said Salim, who owns a small tea and snacks shop. "I don't accept if they give more than two coins. Whenever it gets 10 or 20, I exchange with BMTC bus conductors, since the customers are hesitating to accept it," he said.
Even shopkeepers with RBI ads on their walls are clueless and complain that the government has created confusion among people and are not doing anything to clarify it.
Most of the people the reporter spoke to are not aware of the latest RBI statement. They still think the Rs. 10 coins have been recalled. Some people said that there are different versions of the coins. One version has the inscribed rupee symbol and some do not. Some have 10 bars around the number 10 and some have more than 10 bars.What if the coin is not accepted?
Refusing to accept currencies in circulation is considered sedition in India. If somebody lodges a complaint, it can lead to a lifetime prison sentence. IPC 124A states that, "whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in 103 [India], shall be punished with 104 [imprisonment for life], to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine."
If a person or shop does not accept the 10 rupee coin, you can file an FIR at the police station in the jurisdiction concerned. You should show the rejected coin along with the details of the person or shop and the RBI communication.