New Delhi: The Indian rupee will soon join a small club of major currencies, such as the dollar, euro, pound sterling and yen, to carry a unique identification symbol, after the Union cabinet decides on the matter on Thursday. The decision to adopt such a symbol has been necessitated by the growing influence of the Indian economy in the global market place and the rise of India as a power with substantial influence in around the world.
The Cabinet will look at a shortlist of five symbols for the Indian rupee drawn up the finance ministry, all of which derive from the Devnagari (Hindi) alphabet standing for "R" with two slashes.
The two slashes, generally on the stem of a symbol, are accepted as an international symbol for a currency unit.
So far, the rupee is only referred to by the abbreviation 'Rs', 'Re' or INR, while major foreign currencies have their own distinct symbols, in addition to their abbreviations, such as the USD or GBP. The same abbreviation of 'Rs' or 'Re' is also used to signify the currency of neighbouring countries, such as Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The decision to adopt a symbol for the Indian rupee was taken by the government last year. The five shortlisted designs are deemed to be simple, easy to write and it is expected that they will appeal to the Indian and international community.
The shortlisted designs were put up before a seven-member jury drawn from the government and the Reserve Bank of India and representatives from institutes like National Institute of Design, Lalit Kala Akademi, JJ Institute of Applied Art and Indira Gandhi National Centre.