TODAY -

A toffee for the coin

S S Yengkokpam *



The State of Manipur with a households of 5,07,152 according to 2011 Census if presume to possess a rupee coin per household then a total of 5,07,152 coins would be lying idle instead of circulating in the markets. There will be many more stashed away in piggy banks, drawers, bags, on the table or under the mattress.

When this unaware collection of coins continues in our homes, the transaction of the rupee coins in the market shrinks. Then we end up getting some toffee, soap, a chocolate or match box instead for the change of Rs.5 from the shop. Same is true for the case of the Rs.1 and Rs.2 denomination coins.

We know that neither the Government of India nor the Reserve Bank of India have notified the withdrawal of the rupee coins from the market. Still there is evidence of its existence elsewhere in the country though it seems to have lost its face from our state.

But we know these denominations still has its face value or else the use of these items for change would be out of question. The absence of the coins from the market need to be carefully looked into as it could affect the economy of the State in the long run.

A modified one-way barter system is functioning in our state, where the customer receive certain kind of items in lieu of the small denominations change. The kind of items differ from shop to shop. At a stationery, you will get pen, pencil or eraser.

A pharmacist would give you vicks tablet, band-aid and soap. You will also get toffees, sachet of shampoo or match box at a grocery shop. But itís not the other way round for the customers as a shopkeeper would not accept these items from the latter.

Receiving these items instead of the change for small denominations, the customers are spending more for a thing he/she didnít intend to purchase. If we ponder deeply, these products are mostly obtained from other states and we are basically transferring more money out of the state than we ought to.

This can also tilt the balance of trade in favour of other states from where the goods are procured. The simple thing when overlooked for a long time, will have a negative impact on the overall economy of the state which is already on the downfall.

As such, the economy of the state is already being played by a few handful of people and there is an increasing disparity in the balance of economic condition of the people. This unchecked transaction can be a barrier to the development of our state.

The state is not among the rich states, but wants to act rich. Same is true for its people. Every individual seems to have lost in their own rich world that they have forgotten the value of the small denominations. It is also pride that stands in their way while asking for the changes of Rs.1 or Rs.2.

Our culture has taught us many worthy things but has missed out the part of respecting the little poor ones. We tend to ignore these small denominations when we buy things but we must remember that those small denominations are the ones to make a hundred. And the irony lies in those people who earn their bread by selling the coins and notes of these denominations.

ďWhere have these coins and notes disappeared?Ē. It seems to be the right question at the moment. Though I have given the hint earlier, the answers will be many but the right one may lose in their consensus. The role of Reserve Bank of India and the state government may also be discussed in this matter.

Have they removed the notes and coins with a reason or a policy under mask? Or have they considered its absence as a matter of irrelevance. We know it has been gone for a while and both the rich and the poor have felt it alike.

The negligence of the absence of the small denominations has cost us more for any item we bought. If the responsible authority hasnít thought of this situation and its aftermath then there is at least one thing we can do to save ourselves from this drain of wealth.

The old habit of collecting coins in every households need to be stopped and the people have to bring those coins out to the market. Or the toffees, soap, a chocolate or match box should be allowed in exchange for Rs.1 or Rs.2 or Rs.5 coins and small denomination notes in our daily transactions in both ways, i.e. buyer to seller and seller to buyer.

This way of transaction can be a temporary measure till the return of the small denominations in our hands. Either way, we will be able to restrict the flow of that extra money out of the state. One more measure to ensure the availability of coins is the installation of coin vending machines by the major banks which are already practice in other states. This would help in safeguarding our economy from unwanted loses.

On the lighter side of the issue, if we are being continuously given toffees in lieu of the small changes, then the people should take extra care for their teeth because too many toffees will harm our teeth and the dental fees are very high. The joke is always on us in the absence of these coins from the market. It is high time, we open our eyes to these small change in our life.


* S S Yengkokpam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on April 14, 2017.


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