What is a zero rupee note?

economy : What is a zero rupee note?

Answer by Jai Parimi:

What is a Zero Rupee Note?

  • In 2007 a non-profit organization called 5th Pillar unveiled a new means for Indians to register their refusal to participate in bribery—the "zero rupee note."
  • Closely patterned after the nation's fifty rupee notes, these documents instead included anti-corruption slogans "Eliminate corruption at all levels" and "I promise to neither accept nor give bribe."

Who's the Hero?

  • Satinder Mohan Bhagat, an Indian expatriate who is a physics professor at the University of Maryland and the director of Association for India's Development, Inc. USA, is credited with originating the concept of the zero rupee note in 2001.
  • Upon returning to India for a visit, Bhagat was frustrated by the petty extortion demands of government officials that were part of daily life and conceived of the idea of a zero rupee note as a polite way of declining participation.
  • The charity 5th Pillar smiled upon Bhagat's idea and put it into practice. 5th Pillar began the campaign in the spring of 2007 with a first printing of 25,000 notes that were distributed in the Indian city of Chennai.
  • Buoyed by the success of the campaign, additional printings followed and use of the zero rupee note spread across the nation. From their inception through August 2014, 5th Pillar distributed over 2.5 million zero rupee notes.
  • Zero rupee notes have been issued in five of the 22 scheduled languages of India: Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, and Telugu.


Sample Success Story of Zero Rupee Note

  • One such story was our earlier case about the old lady and her troubles with the Revenue Department official over a land title.
  • Fed up with requests for bribes and equipped with a zero rupee note, the old lady handed the note to the official. He was stunned. Remarkably, the official stood up from his seat, offered her a chair, offered her tea and gave her the title she had been seeking for the last year and a half to obtain without success.
  • Had the zero rupee note reached the old lady sooner, her granddaughter could have started college on schedule and avoided the consequence of delaying her education for two years.

How does it look like?

Obverse Side of Zero Rupee Note

Reverse Side of Zero Rupee Note


Thanks Keshav Kumar & Varsha Singh for the A2A. You can download and print a ZERO RUPEE NOTE or contact 5th Pillar offices for some notes. 🙂

What is a zero rupee note?

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