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Friday, July 16, 2010

Indian rupee gets a symbol, joins elite currency club

It is time to congratulate D Udaya Kumar, the IIT-ian who won the privilege of giving a symbol for the Indian currency. The symbol set to give the rupee a unique identity, highlights the strength of the growing Indian economy, according to Udaya.

Five designs were shortlisted from over 25,000 applications received from across the country. On July 15, one of the five got the Cabinet's approval. Here's what the other finalists had to say about the Udaya Kumar's symbol.

"Udaya Kumar's design was among the best three designs. The 3-D presentation at the RBI was quite impressive. I am happy that his design has been selected to represent the rupee," says Shibin KK, whose design was among the five shortlisted by the government.

Agrees Shahrukh Irani, whose design was also shortlisted, "Udaya's design was good and it conforms to all the parameters of the contest. All the designs are actually different variations with the strokes."

"I congratulated Udaya and I believe he deserved it for a nice design," Hitesh Padmashali, one of the other finalists, said.

All the finalists made sure the design reflected Indian-ness and at the same time had an international appeal.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni
The Indian rupee will soon have a unique symbol — a blend of the Devanagri 'Ra' and Roman 'R' — joining elite currencies like the US dollar, euro, British pound and Japanese yen in having a distinct identity.

The new symbol, designed by Bombay IIT post-graduate D Udaya Kumar, was approved by the cabinet today — reflecting that the Indian currency, backed by an over-trillion dollar economy, was finally making its presence felt on the international scene.

"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," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

Though the symbol will not be printed or embossed on currency notes or coins, it would be included in the 'Unicode Standard' and major scripts of the world to ensure that it is easily displayed and printed in the electronic and print media.

Among currencies with distinctive identities, only the pound sterling has its symbol printed on the notes.

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.

The symbol will be adopted in a span of six months in the country, and within 18 to 24 months globally, Soni said, adding that it will feature on computer keyboards and softwares for worldwide use.

Soni said that the symbol, which reflects the Indian ethos and culture, would help distinguish the currency from the rupee or rupiah of other countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Besides this, state governments would be asked to proactively promote the use of the new symbol, she added.

Kumar's entry was chosen from 3,000 designs competing for the currency symbol. He will get an award of Rs 2.5 lakh.

"It is a perfect blend of Indian and Roman letters — capital 'R' and Devanagri 'Ra' which represents rupaiah, to appeal to international and Indian audiences... My design is based on the tricolour, with two lines at the top and white space in between," a visibly-happy Kumar said.

The jury, which had sent the five short-listed entries for the cabinet's approval, was headed by a Reserve Bank Deputy Governor.

Five Finalist

D Udaya Kumar

Shahrukh J Irani

Shibin KK

Hitesh Padmashali

Nondita Correa-Mehrotra