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Updated: July 16, 2010 00:23 IST

Rupee joins elite club

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An image of the new symbol of the Indian Rupee released by the Press Information Bureau.
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An image of the new symbol of the Indian Rupee released by the Press Information Bureau.

Gets a unique symbol which blends the Devanagri ‘Ra' and Roman ‘R'

Even though not fully convertible, the Indian rupee will soon have a distinct identity. With a blend of the Devanagri ‘Ra' and Roman ‘R' as its unique symbol, the Indian currency will be joining the elite club of the U.S. dollar, the European euro, the British pound sterling and the Japanese yen to mark its presence in the global arena.

Designed by Bombay IIT post-graduate D. Udaya Kumar, the symbol was approved by the Union Cabinet on Thursday to distinguish the currency of the over $ 1-trillion economy from the rest, such as the rupee or the rupiah of Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Briefing the media on the Cabinet decision, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said: “It's a big statement on the Indian currency. The symbol would lend a distinctive character and identity to the currency and further highlight the strength and global face of the Indian economy.”

Unlike the pound sterling among the four currencies with distinct identities, the Indian currency symbol will not be printed or embossed on paper notes or coins.

To be included in Unicode Standard

It would be included in the ‘Unicode Standard' and major scripts of the world so as to ensure that it is easily displayed and printed in the electronic and print media.

Unicode is an international standard that allows text data to be interchanged globally without conflict. After incorporation in the global and Indian codes, the symbol would be used by all individuals and entities within and outside the country.

Ms. Soni pointed out that the symbol would be adopted within a span of six months in the country and in about 18-24 months globally. Featuring on computer keyboards and software for worldwide use, the symbol would reflect the Indian ethos and culture. The State governments would also be asked to proactively promote the use of the new symbol, she said.

Winning entry

Mr. Kumar's winning entry was chosen from 3,000 designs received for the currency symbol competition. He will get an award of Rs. 2.5 lakh from the Finance Ministry. The jury, headed by a Reserve Bank Deputy Governor, had sent five short-listed entries for the Cabinet's approval.

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