The decimal system has undoubtedly several points to commend it. The main advantage is that it is easier to count in tens than in twelves or sixteens.
The existing system has only the advantage of being familiar to the Indian people. Not only monetary values but even sickness and health are reckoned in terms of annas in the rupee.
But habit is a poor excuse to continue in old practices.The decision to change to the decimal system is by and large a good one. We are sorry to say that we cannot equally compliment Parliament on the arguments adduced in its favour by Government spokesmen.
An example …was the postage stamp. Will the anna stamp be ten cents or five cents? Will the two anna stamp become 15 or 20 or 25 cents? Ten cents would be over an anna and a half; five cents will be a little over three-quartes of an anna.
The question is not confined to stamps alone. Tramfares, telephone charges, the cup of tea, the taxes – all these and more will be affected by changed values in the small denominations.
So far as the Government is concerned, it is possible for the adjustment to be made downward so that the public secures the benefit; it is problematic whether this will be done.
But the matter is very different where prices are fixed by business.
It is strange that the Prime Minister should seriously argue that changing over to the decimal system is a technical matter that is of no interest to the public.
The issue has been sidetracked in Parliament into the irrelevancies of an argument about the respective merits of habit and simplicity.
These are not matters that greatly concern the people who are fully capable of adjusting themselves to any change that is proved is useful and wholly beneficial.
(EDIT, July 30, 1955.)