Indian Rupee Gets a New Currency Symbol

India’s currency, the rupee, now has its own symbol
, thanks to Indian Institute of Technology post-grad D Udaya Kumar, whose design was chosen in a national contest. Kumar will get an award of Rs 250,000, nearly $5,400–and India will get a new currency symbol. The Times of India has more:

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.

“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. 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.

The New York Times adds:

For India, the next step after government approval is submission to the Unicode Consortium, a not-for-profit organization of many of the world’s largest software manufacturers, which has created standard computer coding to represent many of the world’s languages. An Indian technology trade organization, Nasscom, will ask software developers to include the symbol in their new products, and Indian keyboard manufacturers will be encouraged to include it new products.

Currency symbols are supposed to reflect status and economic strength. But when you think about the Kazakhstani tenge and the Nigerian naira, which both have their own symbols, that doesn’t quite hold up. I think a currency symbol has more of a nationalistic function in practice. It’s a way to unite a country and make its citizens proud.

  • RJ

    Nice. This more looks like Sanskrit + Hindi to me.

  • Mukundh B

    “Soni said that the symbol, which reflects the Indian ethos and culture” which exact part of the symbol reflects these???

  • Vishnu Prasad R

    The NYTimes link actually leads me to a Reuters article about banks repossessing homes. Here is the actual NYTimes link:

  • Drea

    Vishnu, Thank you! Fixed.

  • Non-eligible Candidate Won Indian Rupee Symbol Design Competition –

    # Non-eligible candidate was shortlisted in top five finalists. As candidate had submitted four designs.
    # One finalist was in contact with Finance Ministry and RBI prior to competition.
    # Design concept or brief was not put in front of jury along with Indian Rupee symbol design.
    # No marks or grades were allotted to selected (2644) candidates design entries, in the process of shortlisting top five finalist design entries.
    # Jury had spends less than 20 seconds on each design entries to analyze it .
    # Three jury member were absent in two days long meeting dated 29th Sept. and 30th Sept. 2009.
    # One jury member from Ministry of Culture was absent on the day of final presentation.
    # All seven jury member had never meet in this whole selection process in any given time.
    # No records are available with Finance Ministry which could indicated, how many total design entries Finance Ministry had received ?
    # Advertisement was only published in English language.

  • This symbol look like euro.
    Congratulation to Udaya Kumar and India.
    Is this mean a new currency for India will be out soon?

  • Ben

    Congrats to Udaya Kumar for creating the design, the fame gained will surpass the award by far. Beside that, it looks a little bit like the Euro indeed, just a bit more complicated…

  • Raj Jain

    How to type Registred Trade Mark of Rupees, from the Key Board?

  • Deenanath

    Thanks Udaya Kumar for the best design. I need to know how this symbol could be inserted in MS Excel so that we can use it before numbers.