Jun 24, 2010

The Indian rupee is all set to join the elite club of major currencies -- dollar, euro, pound sterling and yen -- to have a unique identification symbol, with the Union Cabinet expected to take a call on the matter on Thursday. 

The proposal, said to be prompted by the growing influence of the Indian economy in the global arena, involves a shortlist of five symbols for the Indian rupee drawn up the finance ministry, reflecting the Indian ethos and culture. Sources pointed out that the Cabinet was expected to give its nod to a symbol reflecting the Devanagari (Hindi) alphabet standing for "R" with two lines.

The rupee is only referred to by the abbreviation 'Rs' or 'Re' or sometimes as INR while major foreign currencies have their own distinct symbols, in addition to their abbreviations -- USD etc. The same abbreviated forms -- 'Rs' or 'Re' -- are also used in neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The decision to have a symbol for the Indian rupee was taken by the government last year. The finance ministry wanted the symbol to represent the historical and cultural ethos of the country and called for entries from the public.

The five shortlisted designs are simple, easy to write and are designed to appeal to the Indian and international community. The shortlisted designers were asked to present their designs to a seven-member jury, comprising officials from the government and RBI and representatives from institutes like National Institute of Design, Lalit Kala Academy, J J Institute of Applied Art and Indira Gandhi National Center. (more)