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Sweet memories of Ruapayya when one rupee was sufficicient for the whole day festival excursions
"Baap bada na bhayya, sab se bada ruapayya..." (Neither a father nor the brother is important; only it is rupayya that values. Sorry Sir! Not anymore!)

On 10th June, 2013, Chetan Bhagat, a well-known pen-pusher and Narendra Modi’s admirer had tweeted:

“The rupee is collapsing and neither the economist PM nor the first family has anything to say about it.”

On 21st March 2014, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had tweeted:

“It is refreshing to know that the rupee will get stronger at Rs.40/- per dollar if Modi comes to power.” 

There were other stars from RSS / BJP galaxy, who were extremely distressed about the worsening economic situation in India as the rupee was falling against the US dollar. They were leaving no opportunity to take a dig at the Manmohan Singh government for not being able to check the ‘free fall’ of rupee against the dollar.

Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, known for his creative one-liners, had said, “Dollar ke DOLY pr rupaye ki rukhsati.—-Bharat NIRMAN bna dollar NIRMAN.”

All these minions aside, the new tribune of the party, Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi himself had gone to extra lengths to embarrass Manmohan Singh on rupee’s devaluation. Some blistering barbs Modi had lobbed at the Manmohan Singh government in the run-up to 2014 when the currency had fallen.

Modi had said on June 12, 2012:

"The country wants to know, Prime Minister, what is the reason that the Indian rupee alone has been falling and falling against the dollar? I have clearly said this is not just for economic reasons, but your corrupt politics that has started from Delhi that has a big role in this. I am making the allegation very seriously."

He had not stopped short of hitting at the Prime Minister on personal level. The other statement by Modi was made in July 2013, when he wondered whether the falling rupee was approaching the age of Manmohan, who was 80 then.

Today, 1 US dollar is equal to 70.49 Indian rupees and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is learning the hard way that neither a spent arrow nor a spoken word can be taken back. He might have been a great harangue master-in-chief or great communicator but he has failed to manage the economy. The Indian rupee fell to an all-time low against the US dollar amid worries that Turkey's growing financial crisis could spread to other developing-world economies. Indian Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chander Garg told reporters that there was "nothing at this stage to worry" about after the rupee reached 70.49 to the dollar earlier in the day. He said the dip resulted from "external factors." The rupee has lost about 8 per cent of its value this year.

Let us recall the good old days when one Indian rupee was equal to 1 US dollar on 15th August 1947. In 1966, when the rupee was devalued and pegged to the US dollar at a rate of 7.5 rupees equal to 1 dollar. This value lasted until the US dollar devalued in 1971.

We all know that the word rupee comes from rupiya, a Sanskrit word which means silver coin or wrought silver. The rupee was first issued by Sultan Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century. And later, this currency was continued by the Mughal Empire, Maratha era as well as in British India. Bank of Hindostan (1770–1832), the General Bank of Bengal and Bihar (1773–75, established by Warren Hastings), and the Bengal Bank (1784–91) issued the earliest versions of paper rupees in the Indian subcontinent. The rupee was subdivided into 16 annas when the British were ruling India and also during the first 10 years of independence. Each anna was subdivided into either 4 paisas or 12 pies. So one rupee was equal to 16 annas, 64 paises of 192 pies. In 1957, decimalisation occurred and the rupee was divided into 100 naye paise (Hindi/Urdu for new paisas). After a few years, the initial “naye” was dropped.

The Indian rupee was the official currency of several areas which were governed or controlled by the British from India. These areas included East Africa, Southern Arabia, and the Persian Gulf. The Indian rupee was the official currency for a major part of the early and mid 20th century.

As of January 9, 2008, 1 US dollar was equal to 39.3 Indian rupees and as of January 9, 2013 1 US dollar was equal to 54.78 Indian rupees (which is very close to new India favourite number 56).

The rupee is on a downslide and touched the 70.49 mark!

It doesn’t augur well for Indian economy. The poor Indian economy was recovering from the twin disruptions caused by demonetisation and hasty implementation of the GST. The Indian currency has already breached the 70.4 to a dollar-mark, which is a 15-month low. It is feared that the rupee will further weaken, depending on the northward movement of international oil prices, expected rise in the US interest rate next month and further deterioration in the geopolitical situation.

Normally, the falling rupee should have propelled exports because of a significant price advantage to Indian manufacturers in the international markets. But, India is caught unprepared. It does not have either qualitative or quantitative edge over its competitors, particularly China. Therefore, only miniscule manufacturers like software and pharmaceutical industries would reap the benefits of the weak rupee. The jewellery exports would be the net losers as value additions mostly take place in imported inputs. This exposes the limitations of the “Make in India” slogan, which needs to be revisited with all seriousness.

Our dreams of “achche din” could wait for some more time!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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