The ‘kujja’ picture yesterday was placed here largely inspired by the news that Pakistan now has a new Rs. 5,000 note; and rumor (denied by the State Bank) has it that we might soon also have a Rs. 10,000 note. A new Rs. 10 note was also introduced and new banknotes of Rs. 50, Rs. 100, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 would be launched during the next fiscal year.
In case you are feeling nostalgic, I am attaching a photograph of a really old note with one of the new Rs. 5000 note.This is part of the process of all notes being changed to smaller, slicker, more colorful (too colorful, in my view), and supposedly more secure paper currency. It is not clear when the existing and old notes will formally cease to be, but it is very evident that they tend to get you much less off everything than they used to. And that brings us to the ‘I’ word — inflation — that has the thinking types in Pakistan very worried. Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, the State Bank Governor, insists that there is nothing to worry about on that count. And, frankly, that makes me even more worried.
An interesting discussion on this is available at Metroblogging Karachi (one of the more interesting and very active blogs in Pakistan) led by a posting from Dr. Awab Alvi, whose own blog — The Teeth Maestro — is one of the most active in Pakistan:
[The State Bank has] proclaimed that “Printing of Rs 5,000 notes is nothing to do with inflation. It does not reflect that prices have gone up,” — Duh! Today I actually had the chance to accept the coveted Rs. 5000 note, the moment I was handed this small note my first reaction was, to wonder what stupid joke was this guy trying to pull on me as it felt more like the Rs. 20 note. A moment later the puzzled sensation was taken over by an excitement to have my first sight on the brand new denomination, instinctively scanning it carefully eyeing all those security features, yep! it was official and it was valued at 5000 indeed. Sooner then imagined the excitement was over taken by a feeling of depression by the thought of being deprived the feeling of satisfaction lugging around with a bulky One Lac Rupees (100 x Rs 1000) it would now be replaced by a set of twenty simple light weight mini notes (20 x Rs. 5000). If it ain’t inflation then its surely depression for anyone trying to lug a bunch of 5000′s.