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Doing Business in India For Dummies® by Ranjini Manian

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Understanding Indian Money

Money has been a part of Indian culture for centuries. Coins were minted there as early as the sixth century B.C. Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, is held in special reverence, and many businesses display a picture of Lakshmi with gold coins cascading from her hand.

You need to be familiar with the ins and outs of modern Indian money in order to do business at even the most basic of levels in the country. In this section, I explain the details of Indian currency and shed light on the Indian system of counting.

Rupees and paise

Indians count their money in rupees (Rs for short—always placed as an abbreviation before the numbers) and paise. The rupee is abbreviated as INR in foreign currency exchange contexts. It’s divided into one hundred equal parts, each called a Paisa (much like dollars and cents). One hundred paise (plural of paisa) equals one rupee, and these two forms of currency are the country’s only legal tender. Physically speaking, the money is made of paper and metal. On paper, the denominations range from the one thousand-rupee note to the one-rupee note, though the latter is a rarity now and mostly a coin. Coins in circulation range from 25 paise to Rs 5. Figure 9-1 shows the 100-rupee note.

Figure 9-1. The Indian 100-rupee note.

You may come across a five-rupee, two-rupee, or even a one-rupee note, and they’re ...

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