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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cong core group clears T panels reference terms

New Delhi: The terms of reference for the five-member expert committee on the Telangana issue headed by former Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna were finalised on Wednesday at a meeting of the Congress core committee amidst indications it may be announced this weekend. Highly placed Congress sources said that it would take at least a couple of days for the government to formally announce the terms of reference which could come up at the meeting of the Union cabinet on Thursday. The committee was constituted on Feb. 3, nearly a month after home minister P Chidambaram met leaders of eight recognised parties in AP to find a way to move forward.

The meet was attended by the PM , Congress chief Sonia Gandhi , Pranab Mukherjee, Chidambaram , Veerappa Moily and Ahmed Patel.

Introduced in August 1950, the first coin series of the Indian republic had seven coins, namely rupee, half rupee or eight annas, quarter rupee or four annas, two annas, one anna, half anna and one paisa in that order, a rupee being made up of 16 annas or 64 paise. What one remembers most about the anna series is the manner in which people referred to these coins. The eight-anna coin was called athanni, four annas chuanni, two annas duanni and the one anna coin was called ikanni. In the 50s, it was customary for children to get a duanni a day as pocket money. More often than not, it was enough to buy you something to eat or drink or something to play with. Interestingly , the rupee was called different things in different parts of India. While people in Andhra and Karnataka called it roopayi, Tamil Nadu called it rubai and Kerala roopa. Similarly, Maharashtra called it rupaye and Bengal taka. Assam and Orissa referred to it as toka and tongka respectively.

In September 1955, when India switched to the metric system, so did its coins. The rupee was now made up of 100 paise instead of 16 annas. Like the anna series, the metric series also had seven coins, starting with the rupee and followed by 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 paisa in that order. For some time both the old and new coins were in circulation, causing confusion in the market with people trying to convert annas into paise and vice versa. Now most of these coins are no longer in circulation, while the 25 and 50 paise coins are close to extinction. With the transformation of the coinage system, our pocket money too rose from slightly under five rupees per month when we were in school to Rs 20 in college during 1963-65 . Those days, a masala dosa cost an athanni or 50 paise. In university, my pocket money rose to Rs 100 during 1966-70 , it being enough to take care of our toiletries, snacks in the canteen, a movie or two, and an occasional coffee in a restaurant adjacent to the university . I am told that pocket money of children in school and college these days has risen exponentially. Not surprising, since a masala dosa or coffee today costs Rs 50 and a movie ticket costs anything between Rs 125 and Rs 250.

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