new rupee symbol

The Indian rupee is likely to get its own unique symbol on Thursday, with the Union Cabinet set to approve the final design. With this, the rupee will join the elite league of global currencies like US dollar ($), British pound sterling, euro and Japanese yen, which have their unique symbols.

In pictures: Rupee's New Avatar

The shortlisted design apparently plays on the Hindi letter 'R' with a double-slash. The FE designers have conceptualised the design here.

The government has already shortlisted five entries after a pan-India open contest which was advertised by the finance ministry in February 2009. According to the terms of this contest, the winning design will become the property of the government of India and the winner will have to surrender the design copyright to in lieu of Rs 2.5 lakh.

According to design experts, formulating a unique currency symbol is extremely difficult, made tougher by the requirement that it must be adaptable to computer keyboards. The design will also have to be incorporated in currency notes, which would mean asking printers abroad where the currency is printed to make large-scale investments.

"Russia too wanted a unique symbol for its currency in the 1990s. It is still looking for a symbol to represent the rouble. Designing new symbols involves rigorous testing as the symbol would be used across all technical applications apart from widespread usage on the Web, mobile phones and banners," a designer at a leading ad agency told FE.

The government decided to have a unique symbol for the Indian rupee as its abbreviated form (Rs) is also represented by the currencies of Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Last year, the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had made this announcement in his budget speech. "In the ensuing year, we intend to formalise a symbol for the Indian rupee, which reflects and captures the Indian ethos and culture," Mukherjee had said then.
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