It refers to unbelievable media-reports about release of limited-edition coins having face-value of rupees 350 with silver-content worth about rupees 700 issued to commemorate 350th birth-anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh. Bitter fact is that silver-alloy commemorative coins usually having metal-content multiple times face-value of coins, are never issued to general public at face-value. Rather these are officially sold at heavy premiums as coin-sets in attractive packing in uncirculated and proof categories only that too through cumbersome procedure of advance-booking months after date of release of coins thus killing very purpose of commemorating an occasion through release of coins. Only beneficiaries are some privileged personalities who get these costly coin-sets free-of-cost at time of official release of coins.
Silver-alloyed coins should have face-value about double the metal-value in the coin, and may be made available to general public right from day of release of coins through all RBI offices, selected bank-branches and philatelic counters throughout the country like was done on October 2, 1969, on the release of Gandhi centenary silver-alloyed coins with face-value of rupees ten. Then these coins will be normally-circulated coins on face-value like was in the British era.
Cumbersome practice of selling coin-sets should be simplified by having just one category of costlier Proof-Coin-Set in all denominations abolishing the other category of uncirculated-set. These coin-sets should also be sold at convenient sale-points like RBI offices, bank-counters and philatelic centres right from date of issue of coins for affording coin-collectors by giving sale-commissions to sale-points. Such steps will make general public part of commemorating an occasion through issue of coins apart from giving net revenue-earning to government because such high-priced coins and their sets never come in actual circulation.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)