India is set to get its first blue-coloured ₹50 notes, after its first pink ₹2,000 notes last year, and the stone-grey ₹500 currency notes introduced in 2016.

The freshly designed ₹50 notes will be bear a sketch of Mahatma Gandhi in blackish grey colour tone.

Also, the new ₹50 note will sport the motif of a South Indian temple on the reverse, said a government official privy to the information.

In December 2016, the RBI had stated that it would shortly issue new ₹20 and ₹50 bank notes; the existing ₹50 and ₹20 notes will continue to be legal tenders.

Currency notes are designed in different colours so that even people who are not literate can distinguish them. The symbols carried on the reverse of the notes draw inspiration from culture, and from heritage sites, or are chosen to represent India’s scientific prowess or the march of technology.

For instance, the ₹2,000 note introduced in 2016 depicted the Mangalyaan, the country’s first venture in inter-planetary Mars orbiting mission. And the latest ₹500 notes had the motif of the Delhi-based Red Fort. The new features of these notes included numerals in Devnagari script and Mahatma Gandhi’s round-rimmed glasses, on which the logo of the Swachh Bharat campaign is based.

The ₹50 notes currently in circulation are pink-violet in colour and sport the Parliament building on the reverse. The new notes have already reached some RBI chests for distribution.

Drawing inspiration

While earlier note designs largely drew from historical milestones and personalities, currency designing now around the world increasingly draws from contemporary achievements. Just as India’s ₹2,000 note featured the Mangalyaan launched in 2013, the South Pacific archipelago of Fiji celebrated its sporting success. In April 2017, the Reserve Bank of Fiji stamped the gold medal victory of Fiji rugby sevens team at the Rio Olympics in its $7 banknote and 50-cent coin.

As multiple digital payment mechanisms become available, the role that currency notes will play in our daily lives need to be evaluated.

“The future of cash remains unknown but central banks from all corners of the globe report that cash remains king as a preferred retail payment method,” according to a survey by Currencyresearch, a global consulting firm.

“Today, 85 per cent of worldwide consumer spending is done in cash despite many forecasting the demise of this resilient product,” it added.