We want more 50 Rupee Notes

July 7, 2009

“Gold gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or some place. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head” – Warren Buffett.

Macro economics has always confused me. Once in my 9th Standard, I asked the only question (from me) to my strict economics teacher (who appeared quite intelligent to me) : “Why don’t we just keep printing more and more money to pay off debts to foreign countries and stop collecting taxes ?” The whole class was stunned! I knew I had hit the nail in the coffin, and the seemingly very intelligent economics teacher didn’t have the answer. She replied “Stop thinking too much on macro-economic subjects”. That was escapism for sure, but I took her advice ๐Ÿ™‚

Flash Forward.

I am still not comfortable on macro economic subjects like dollar value appreciation, stock market being bullish, the Budget presented by the FM with so much fan fare etc. But when it comes to simple economic things that affect the common man (Read: Macro economic ignorant man) like me, I just cannot ignore it!

I am talking about the non-availability of 50 Rupee notes in circulation in the market. I mean I need to almost think twice before giving the 50 Rupee notes to any shop, thinking I might run out of them when I need change! Some times I have even been refused certain articles, for the non-availability of 50 rupee notes, both with the shop keeper and myself. So, I wanted to know who was responsible for this. Fortunately, now we have Google.

It seems the Reserve Bank of India is responsible for deciding how many notes to print and I read the following in their official website : (You can click on that link if you want to know what are the unique features of original currency notes and how to distinguish them from the duplicate ones) “The Reserve Bank estimates the quantity of bank notes that are likely to be needed denomination wise and accordingly places indent….”

I don’t know what methods they use to “estimate the quantity of bank note denominations” that are needed in the market, but they are quite off the target when it comes to estimating the requirement of the number of 50 Rupee notes, I think.

In the same website, I found this: “However, Rs. 5 was re-introduced in 2001 to supplement the gap between the demand and supply of coins in this denomination” – Bang on. That was good work, and I appreciate the minting of 5 Rupee coins instead of 5 Rupee notes which gets easily torn. When they were able to identify that correctly, why not print more 50 Rupee notes too? We want more 50 Rupee Notes!

So, I went to the “Contact Us” portion of their website and filled up the coloums, and pressed the Submit button. I thought I may not get a response but well it doesn’t even take my request! Try for yourself, and let me know if it is accepting the filled up online form.

And if you are still wondering about why a Government cannot simply print more and more currency notes to pay external debts and stop collecting taxes, this article provides a good answer to it!!

Destination Infinity

To read similar articles, you could visit the Concepts and Ideas section of this Blog.


  1. You are just confused about macro-economics!! i am confused about all the numbers that are there ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love only the numbers on my paycheck ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And i appreciate that you at least tried to send a request to RBI ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I just hope the eGovernance is implemented soon in India, and we have some basic interactive features on the net where we can express our feedback to the Government. I think we as citizens need to start demanding such things.

      Destination Infinity

  2. Come to think of it, I was wondering where the 50s have gone! Its been a while since I’ve seen a 50 and now that you talk about this, I’m sitting up and taking notice of how really inconveniencing it is!

    On another note, I never grasped economics back in school as opposed to how I follow it now, thankfully!

    Good piece here!

    • Actually I wanted to write a post on why a Government cannot keep printing currency, but the link I have given was very good, and I cannot answer any questions on economic subjects, so I slightly diverted the topic to this 50 rupee notes! But seriously, I feel that we do not have enough 50 rupee notes in circulation, as I am doing a lot of shopping (individually, in smaller shops) and eating out more – recently.

      Destination Infinity

  3. You sent a request to RBI.. that is good.

    so howcome there is a shortage of 50Rs. notes.. the govt. does print enough…. or are all of them stuffed safely in some safes of banks or peoples’ houses…? where are the notes..?

    • Well I tried to send a request… I think the existing notes are not enough and the Govt must print new ones. Maybe some of the existing notes are stuffed safely in Lockers too! But more of 100 and 500 rupee notes are struck that way!!

      Destination Infinity

  4. I like to hoard 50 rupee notes too! I think these shortages have something to do with price points. At present a lot of small things cost under Rs 50. There was a time when there was a shortage of Rs 10/-, but today there are too many tens hanging around and I use five tens instead of one fifty.

    • That’s right, I too notice the shops giving me so many 10 rupee notes as change when I give them 100 Rupees. They do seem to have enough 10 rupee notes, but not always 50 rupee notes. May be it also depends on price points. I don’t give a 50 rupee note unless I have another. Just in case I need it urgently, sometime.

      Destination Infinity

  5. lol ๐Ÿ˜› I managed to get a couple of 50 buck notes..our Auto drivers have it..but then it costs 70 from my coll to home , so no chance of getting it ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for asking questions in economics , well I like economics its on of my favorite subjects , so basically bomb the teachers with questions ๐Ÿ˜›

    • The old smiley was better no? I am glad that I am not one of your teachers ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Destination Infinity

  6. I liked that question u asked in 9th standard! and that article gives an interesting response to it as well… I enjoyed reading it!

    As for the 50-rupee note issue, I agree. These days everyone seems to be wanting change rather than giving it out. We desperately need more!!! I second you!

    • It will be good if we get 50 rupee notes in the ATM (maybe they can put it as an optional feature that can be availed by pressing some option in the ATM). At least, they could ensure that the shop keepers and hoteliers are given bundle of 50 rupee notes in exchange to 500 rupee notes by Banks. They need it more.

      Destination Infinity

  7. I always need a 5 rupee coin or note… for my cigarette…

    50 was never a problem… or maybe I never noticed it !! lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Interesting. Here, at least the shop keepers seem to have the 5 rupee coins! On the other hand, may be I am buying a lot of separate things in the range of 50 rupees recently!

      Destination Infinity

  8. This was a very interesting post and also a really interesting article that one..

    never noticed the paucity of 5o rupee notes ..
    will try to observe now:)

    if any of my students asked that question I would ask them to research, discuss and write an article on it ๐Ÿ˜€

    • All teachers think alike! But at least this way, some one could know! I am wondering how easy finding about these things have become now a days. Only if we can get over our laziness to search for them…. I was wondering how I would have made an article on it back then, without the internet!

      Destination Infinity

  9. really?? we find the scarcity of 10 rs note here not the 50 rs one.

    • Dear RBI,

      There seems to be regional variations in the distribution of various currency denominations:

      Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune/Mumbai, Ooty, One part of Delhi: Scarcity of 50 rupee notes.
      Another part of Delhi: No scarcity of 50 rupee notes.
      Kolkata: Scarcity of 10 rupee notes.
      Indore: Scarcity of 5 rupee notes and coins.
      UK: Scarcity of 100 Pounds (Was it Euros?): Oh Sorry, non availability of… well that is not under your control anyway!!

      Hope some one from RBI doesn’t read this post! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

      Destination Infinity

  10. Very interesting post. When I went to a bank in UK for the first time, I asked for a 100ยฃ note. The cashier started laughing and told me that the highest denomination is 50, unlike India. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Anyways, the link you gave was great. It answered the question I always had in mind! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes, that was the reason why I wrote this post: I was always wondering why we don’t print more notes! It seems, according to that RBI website, they print additional notes according to the growth rate of the economy. And for the amount of new notes printed, they also store some more Gold (to back up the currency and ensure that the currency will retain some value in case of some extreme market fluctuation).

      Destination Infinity

  11. Seriously??? I never felt a scarcity for 50 rs. note !!! Hmmm..No wonder my dad says im still irresponsible !!! and you sent a petition to RBI ! Thats like wow, man !

    • I think it also depends on the buying patterns… I am buying most of the things separately instead of doing it in the supermarket in one shot. I am also eating a lot in hotels… So, maybe these things have a role to play!

      Destination Infinity

  12. i send a mail to the bureau of labour stats… (US) thinking i would get a reply after 30 days. i got a reply in 2 hours !well this happens one in 100.

    …printing currency … i like it, yet i don’t like it ..in the end the taxpayer shells out — all but for the governments exhorbitant expenses!

    • I wish we could at least send mails to Govt. departments, even if we don’t get a response! The taxes, Government’s expenses etc. has always confused me. I have been wondering how the tax amount is being distributed to the various departments – need to check that one day.

      Destination Infinity

  13. Hello Brother!! I have asked the same question you asked in 9th grade…over and over again..have never really understood it. Money matters do not interest me and I would move to Mars if I knew they had a simple, fair and rational system of bartering services and goods.

    • Simple, fair and rational – Three things that always elude the human race ๐Ÿ˜‰ But if you are talking about the Martians, then there is a chance!

      Destination Infinity

  14. Very curiously, I’m not having much problem finding 50 rupee-notes in Delhi!

    • Quite possible, Delhi always had a special treatment. But I think it also depends on the lifestyle and the way we do things. I generally don’t buy things in bulk like in a supermarket. And I am visiting a lot of hotels recently as I am staying alone. And going in Autos. So, these things might have prompted me to think like that!

      Destination Infinity

  15. ha ha ha. Quite a childish question really! if money was just paper wouldnt we simply recycle it?

    • It was a childish question indeed! But I got the answer only now, via google!

      Destination Infinity

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