Ancient India was one of the earliest issuers of coins in the world, along with the Chinese and Lydians and until the 18th century, silver and gold coins were commonly used in India.
The first versions of Indian paper notes were introduced with the establishment of European trading companies and their own banks in the region, such as the Bank of Hindostan in Calcutta.
The Paper Currency Act of 1861
With the Paper Currency Act of 1861, the British colonial government took the charge of issuing notes. These notes marked the inception of first official paper notes by a government in India.
Establishment of Reserve Bank of India
The government enjoyed the monopoly of issuing notes until April 1, 1935 - when the Reserve Bank of India came into existence. The government continued to issue one-rupee notes till 1994.
Once Independent India became all set to spread its wings, the country needed a currency design free from colonial influence. So after a decade later, the government introduced the first new design of a Re 1 note in 1949 with the image of the Lion Capital of Ashoka.
High denomination notes of Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 were introduced in 1954.
India’s first demonetisation in 1978
In order to curb corruption, Then prime minister Morarji Desai banned all notes above Rs 100. The government withdrew Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 currency notes from the economy.
The ‘Mahatma Gandhi Series’
1996 saw the introduction of ‘Mahatma Gandhi series’, which featured a new watermark, along with upgraded features for security reasons and for the convenience of the visually impaired.
The second demonetisation
The country was hit by a wave of shock when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8 last year the abolition of all 1000- and 500-rupee bank notes with an aim to drain out black money from the economy and end corruption.
The new Rs 500 bank notes come with upgraded features of Devanagari numerals, a logo of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, and an image of the Red Fort. It is stone grey in colour and smaller in size than the old, demonetised Rs 500 notes.
The brand-new Rs 2,000 notes come in the shade of bright magenta and with Devanagari numerals and images of India's Mars orbiter Mangalyaan.
Now in the latest move, The Reserve Bank on Friday launched Rs 200 notes for the first time in India. The central bank has launched the new note in the lower denomination to fulfill the "missing link" currency and bring greater efficiency into the system.