Rejection of the Rs 10 coin around the country had made headlines after the Government’s demonetisation move, and the RBI had time and again clarified that there was no ban on that particular legal tender. Yet more than year after the demonetisation nightmare began, and despite regular clarifications, people in Nagaland, especially small traders continue to refuse trading with the Rs 10 coin.
The shopkeepers are unwilling to accept the coins saying customers do not accept and vice versa. Many people are aware that the Rs 10 coin is in circulation, but the market is still skeptical, especially small traders. Temsutula, a Naga shopkeeper in Dimapur, the commercial capital of the state, returns a ten rupee coin to a customer – “itu na chole” (this doesn’t work). The customer explains that the coin is valid, to which she retorts, “customer khan na loi moi ki kuribo” (customers do not accept, what can I do).
Sumit, a non-Naga shopkeeper explains that shopkeepers refused to be paid with the Rs 10 coin because customers do not accept. When asked whether he realises that there is no ban on the coin, Sumit says he does but people here do not understand that. One can see though that Sumit is not totally convinced about the validity of the Rs 10 coin.
Banks in Nagaland too are refusing to accept deposits in Rs 10 coins in bulk. But that is because they have been told to ensure that lower denomination notes or coins are in circulation rather than getting deposited in banks. Sanjay Dhar, manager of dish-cable network franchise in Dimapur, says he has a pile of Rs 10 coins, worth around Rs 3,000. “I sent the coins to be deposited in the bank but they returned it saying the coins need to be in circulation,” Dhar said.
While in certain states there were rumours of ‘fake’ coins – the old coins which do not have the ₹ symbol – and those were being rejected, in Nagaland Rs 10 coin, with or without ₹ symbol is not being accepted till date. People blame demonetisation for this predicament. The rumour which gained currency at the peak of demonetisation blues had it that the Rs 10 coin would also be stripped off its status as currency unit. Till date local authorities have not made the effort to dispel that rumour.
The Reserve Bank of India has clarified time and again that the Rs 10 coin is legal tender and valid, both with and without the rupee symbol. It is a criminal offence to refuse any legal tender and could invite legal action. But the information seems not to have reached here. More than a year has passed since the demonetisation was announced, the sight of the ten rupee coin continues to cause alarm in markets of Nagaland.