MUMBAI: The humble 50 paisa coin though hardly visible and accepted in circulation constituted nearly 15 per cent of the country's total coin production in 2014-15, an RTI query has revealed.
A reply from Reserve Bank of India(RBI) to a query by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal also showed that the circulation of coins of various denominations like Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5 and Rs 10 has gone up in the last few years.
The reply mentioned that the 50-paise coins, though not seen in much circulation of late, constituted 14.90 per cent of total coin production in 2014-15. The 50 paisa coin is, however, a legal tender.
However, its circulation remained almost unchanged in last four years, as in 2011-12, total 14,785 coins of 50 paise were circulated, and the number marginally went up to 14,788 in 2014-15.
The RBI data on 50 paisa coins prompted Agrawal today to question the need for minting these coins in such large number when "there is negligible need or demand for this denomination."
The share of Rs 1 coins in the market in last five years has gone up from 29.10 per cent (of total share of coins) in March 2011 to 42.10 per cent in March 2015, it showed.
In other words, till March 2011, total 32,675 million pieces of Re 1 coin were circulated in the market and the number scaled up to 41,627 million pieces in March 2015.
The data also reveals that Rs 10 coins constituted a small 2.80 per cent (of total coin share), while Rs 2 coin had a significant share of 27.30 per cent in 2014-15.
The RTI activist suggested that the government, RBI and Security Printing & Minting Company Limited should concentrate only on minting coins of Re 1 and Rs 5, and abolish coins of Rs 2 and 50 paise.
However, a small regular increase in minting of Rs 10 coins may be there to gradually abolish currency-notes in this denomination, he further suggested.