A series of Indonesian rupaiyah (IDR) 20,000 banknotes, with an image of Lord Ganesh on them, has been removed from circulation in 2008, information available with the Bank Indonesia shows. These banknotes had an image of Lord Ganesha as part of their design. Citing this, several Indian leaders have called for Indian banknotes to have images on deities on them.
Earlier today, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Government to add the images of Lord Ganesh and the Goddess Laxmi alongside Mahatma Gandhi in fresh batches on Indian banknotes. He cited the Indonesian example of IDR 20,000 having a Hindu deity on their note despite being a Muslim-majority country. In his remarks, nothing seems to reference the fact that the notes have been withdrawn.
The IDR 20,000 banknote series in question was introduced in 1998, featuring Indonesia leader Ki Hajar Dewantara, which was withdrawn from circulation starting December 31, 2008 alongside three other banknote denominations, after which they ceased being legal tender. Though Indonesians could exchange them for ten years after that through December 30, 2018.
Kejriwal's remarks can be seen below, with the Indonesia-specific statement at the 4:39 mark.
This prompted a flurry of social media users, visibly supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party to also call for including deities on banknotes citing Indonesia, where they believe that the banknote with the image of Lord Ganesha is currently in circulation.
The picture of Lord Ganesha on the IDR 20,000 note featuring Dewantara can be seen below.
Before Kejriwal's remarks, claims that it this note was in circulation were also viral on social media. The claim can be seen below.
Demonetised 14 years ago
This series of banknotes was introduced on January 23, 1998, according to a 2018 Bank Indonesia working paper.
It featured Ki Hadjar Dewantara, a historical national figure who was a proponent for widespread education and who served as Indonesia's Minister for Education. His birth anniversary is Indonesia's National Education Day. Next to Dewantara was an image of Lord Ganesha, which also served as a security feature of the banknote.
The validity of this series of IDR 20,000 banknotes lasted for ten years, when it was demonetised effective December 31, 2008.
A notification by Bank Indonesia in November 2008 announcing this demonetisation can be found here. The note was demonetised alongside three other banknote series' (IDR 10,000 issued in 1998, IDR 50,000 issued in 1999 and IDR 100,000 issued in 1999).
"By the revocation and withdrawal of the money from circulation as of December 31, 2008, the four banknotes are no longer applicable as valid legal tender", the release referenced above says.
The release also states that the demonetisation of these notes was a routine exercise in lieu of security and ciruclation longetivity. "Bank Indonesia regularly revokes and withdraws Rupiah bank notes by taking into consideration the period of circulation and security features development on the money", stated S. Budi Rochadi, Deputy Governor for Money Circulation in the release.
However, the release also says that those who held these notes had a ten-year window - till December 30, 2018 - to exchange them:
- For the first five year with any commercial bank or Bank Indonesia
- For the subsequent five years only with Bank Indonesia
Come 2018, Bank Indonesia put out additional two press releases to remind the public of getting the banknotes exchanged as the deadline drew nearer.
In June 2018, Bank Indonesia put out the following press release consisting of an image of the IDR 50,000 banknote that had been demonetised. The release can be found here.
On December 3, 2018, Bank Indonesia said that the deadline to exchange the banknotes were drawing closer, and that it would operate a special exchange desk on December 29 and 30 to facilitate them. It can be found here.
What about current IDR 20,000 notes?
Currently, information with Bank Indonesia shows three designs of IDR 20,000 banknotes. They do not have the image of Lord Ganesha on them
- Issued in 2016, featuring Dr. G.S.S.J. Ratulangi, an Indonesian leader, which can be found here
- Issued in 2022, again featuring Dr. G.S.S.J. Ratulangi, which can be found here.
- An uncut commemorative note issued in 2011 featuring Oto Iskandar Di Nata, which can be found here
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