A zero rupee note is a type of novel & innovative money issued in India as a means of helping to fight systemic political corruption. The notes are paid in protest by angry citizens to government functionaries who solicit bribes in return for services which are supposed to be free. The Zero rupee note, is the mascot or primary campaign tool of a non-governmental organization known as 5th Pillar, which has distributed over 2.5 million pieces as of Aug 2014, since their inception in 2007. The notes remain in current use and thousands of notes are distributed every month.
The Zero Rupee Note(ZRN) is a simple currency-like looking tool designed to resemble the Rupee Fifty currency in India, but made larger than the Rupee Thousand note, with an Anti-bribery Pledge replacing the Reserve Bank Governor’s pledge of the actual money’s tender. The front of the ZRN has “I PROMISE TO NEITHER ACCEPT NOR GIVE BRIBE” printed on the front bottom center. The organization’s contact info and an anti-bribery appeal (“If anyone demands a bribe, give this note and report the case”) is also printed on the ZRN. The moment a corrupt government employee receives the note, he or she is shaken up a bit and immediately responds to the situation in a friendly and helpful manner simply to avoid getting into the bribe-radar and therefore the ZRN proves to be a simple, strong and effective “Non-violent weapon of Non-cooperation” giving voice to the “voiceless” and power to the “powerless”. Thousands of success stories out of the 2.5 million distributed Zero Rupee Note have been recorded.