Archive for January 22nd, 2018

Rethinking economics curriculum to make it more relevant: South Africa edition

January 22, 2018

The cries to revamp economics curriculum is not just limited to the western world but applies to other countries too. This should be obvious because if the curriculum written in the western universities is being questioned in their world, it should raise questions in other countries which are blindly following their pedagogy.

Michael Nassen SmithDeputy Director of the Institute for African Alternatives reflects on the economics curriculum in South Africa:

In a recent interview with New Agenda: South African Journal of Social and Economic Policy, distinguished professor of economics Vishnu Padayachee bemoaned the state of modern economics curriculums in South African universities. For Padayachee, economics today is “nothing more than a technical, mathematical game played out largely as a celebration of internal beauty, almost totally cut off from the real world and the challenges the majority of poor and working people face everywhere”. My experience as a former economic graduate certainly resonates with these words.

Some years ago, I completed a degree in economics at one of the country’s prestigious universities. I came to economics seeking to understand the causes of poverty and inequality in South Africa and across the Global South. I hoped to learn about what might alleviate these conditions. In hindsight, I recognize that my interest in economics was largely informed by a moral and, indeed, a political concern. Unfortunately, throughout my undergraduate studies, economics was silent on the political and ethical dimensions of the discipline.

One has heard this complaint from quite a few by now…Just that the location is rather different this time..

Both Government and RBI print India’s currency notes under different units…

January 22, 2018

A news broke over the weekend saying an RBI official has been caught stealing banknotes from the printing facility at Dewas:

 In a serious breach of the government mint, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) caught a senior officer at the RBI-controlled bank notepress (BNP) facility in Dewas stealing newly printed currency notes. Currency notes worth Rs 90 lakh were recovered from his office and residence which he reportedly stole over a period of time. Security officials say the incident raises doubts over the mint’s audit of newly printed notes.

The media should have been more responsible with this as Dewas facility is under the Government of India. The Government owned Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited has two facilities – Nashik (in 1928) and Dewas (in 1975).

Currency Note Press, Nashik Road and Bank Note Press, Dewas which are engaged in production of Bank Notes for our country as well as for foreign countries using state of the art technology. More than 40% of Currency Notes circulated in India are printed by these units. 

The bank note printing in India started in 1928 with the establishment of India Security Press at Nashik by Government of India. Until the commissioning of Nashik Press the Indian Currency Notes were got printed from Thomas De La Rue Giori of United Kingdom. The second bank note printing press was established in Dewas (Madhya Pradesh) in 1975 by Government of India. With the growth in population and economic activity, the demand for bank notes has been steadily increasing. To bridge the demand and supply gap, the Government of India decided to establish two new bank note printing presses one at Mysore (Karnataka) and the other at Salboni (West Bengal)

…..Considering the magnitude of the project, the Company decided to establish the presses in two phases viz, Phase I for establishing a Mini Press with a single production line at each site which would be used as a testing ground for the new work methods and train the personnel for efficient running of the Phase II machines. The Phase II involved establishment of the Main Presses with 7 lines of production in Mysore and 8 lines of production in Salboni. The phase I was operationalised at Mysore and Salboni in June and December 1996 respectively. During 1998-99, the Mini Press machinery at both the sites after testing the work methods and the performance the machines was shifted to the Main Press. While all the seven lines of production at Mysore went on stream on 12th May 1999, the Salboni Press was inaugurated on 12th February 2000.

This error of attributing Dewas Press to RBI irked the central bank. It responded:

It has been reported in a section of the media that an RBI officer has been apprehended by CISF, stealing printed currency at the RBI printing facility at Dewas. It is clarified that the Bank Note Press (BNP), Dewas is a unit of Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India Ltd. which is not under the control of the Reserve Bank of India. Further, RBI does not have any official placed with BNP, Dewas. The reports, thus, are not based on facts.

RBI regrets to note that the facts were not verified before publishing the news reports.

This is all the more so post demonetisation in 2016 which is still in memory. There was a surplus of Rs 2000 notes and a deficit of new Rs 500 notes leading to all kinds of chaos as change for Rs 2000 was not available.  Later, there was news that both RBI and Government redistributed their tasks. The Government printed Rs 500 notes in Nashik  and asked RBI to print Rs 2000 notes under its Mysore press. Latter was ready and former lax leading to the chaos.

But then even RBI is to be blamed here. It should continuously educate people on currency management and its issues. It is a very interesting area and people should know how and from where they get their money power. We all think it is duty of RBI to print notes and attribute all news to the central bank.

But the government plays a role as well. Infact in terms of minting coins, government is the sole authority. Look at how other central banks discuss and post pictures about their notes. The best example is Bank of Nepal which has put up a publication listing all its banknotes since 1945..

How ID food company helps the new-generation homemakers make vada with a hole?

January 22, 2018

Interesting bit of innovation from ID Fresh Food company. They have designed a packet such that one can just squeeze the batter in the boiling oil and get the traditional vadas without poking holes. The video of their innovation is here.

It took three years in making and the company has patented the design as well: (more…)

History of currency notes and coins of Nepal (1945 onwards)

January 22, 2018

I came across this wonderful publication released by Central Bank of Nepal on its 50th anniversary. It lists and shows all the currency notes and coins used in Nepal since 1945.

India’s Nashik based Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited printed these notes from 1945-60. Then Nepal GOvernment outsourced the activity to De La Rue of UK. Later Nepal’s notes were printed by other firms as well: Germany based Giesecke & Devrient, Australia based Note Printing (owned by Australian central bank), B A Banknote International of  Canada etc.

It gives me great pleasure in bringing out this publication on the ‘Notes and Coins of Nepal’ on the auspicious occasion of the Golden Jubilee Year of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), which was established as the central bank of the country on April 26, 1956 under the Nepal Rastra Bank Act, 1955. Incorporating all representative notes issued in Nepal and the coins issued by the NRB, this publication captures the evolution of the notes and coins issuance in Nepal through their pictorial representation and description. I believe this publication will serve as a useful reference source to those interested in the notes and coins of Nepal.

It may be recalled that the NRB was established when a dual currency system was in practice with the Nepalese and Indian Currencies both circulating in the country. For the purpose of making the Nepalese Currency the legal tender, it was imperative to develop a proper system of notes and coins and ensure confidence in the national currency. This motivation was refl ected in the preamble to the 1955 Act which stated that the Bank would ensure “proper management for the issuance of the Nepalese currency notes”. This importance has been reiterated in the Nepal Rastra Bank Act, 2002 which states a function of the Bank as “to take necessary decisions with regard to the denominations of bank notes and coins, the figures, size, metal, materials for printing notes and other materials, and to frame appropriate policies with regard to their issue.” 

The responsibility of issuing currency notes was initially held by His Majesty’s Government, then called the Government of Nepal, through the “Sadar Mulukikhana” (Central Treasury) from September 1945 through February 1960, when this responsibility was handed over to the NRB. For this purpose, the NRB had set up the Note Department in September 1956 which was renamed as the Currency Management Department in November 2002. Since taking over the responsibility of issuing the currency notes, the NRB has issued notes in denominations of Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500 and 1000. I am pleased to mention that the NRB has also issued the commemorative note of Rs. 50 to mark its Golden Jubilee.

Likewise, His Majesty’s Government issued regular coins (1 paisa, 5 paisa, 10 paisa, 25 paisa, 50 paisa and Re 1) and various
commemorative coins through the Mint Department, which was set up in 1932 and functioned as it was until 1983 when this responsibility was also transferred to the NRB, which has been so far minting 5 paisa, 10 paisa, 25 paisa, 50 paisa, Rs. 1, 2, 5 and Rs. 10 as regular coins and a number of other commemorative coins. To streamline the currency management function through a one-window system, the Mint Department wasmerged with the Currency Management Department and renamed as the Mint Division since July 2005. The NRB has also issued silver coin of Rs. 1,000 and gold coins of 2.5 gm, 5 gm and 10 gm to mark the Golden Jubilee.

Fascinating …

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