IIT post-graduate gives Rupee its symbol

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The jury has given its verdict: the rupee will retain its Indian character with an international flavour. The five-member panel has chosen IIT post-graduate D Udaya Kumar's design from among five shortlisted symbols and recommended it for Cabinet approval.

Kumar's symbol (on the left) is an amalgam of the Devanagari 'Ra' and the Roman capital 'R' without the stem, very much in line with what Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had envisioned. "We intend to formalise a symbol for the Indian rupee which reflects and captures Indian ethos and culture," Mukherjee said in his Budget speech this year.

The chosen symbol has the Finance Minister's approval, said a Ministry official.

The Ministry had organised a symbol design competition with a prize money of Rs 2.5 lakh with the condition that it should be applicable to the standard keyboard, be in the national language script or a visual representation and should represent the historical and cultural ethos of the country.

While the basic aim of the new symbol is to provide the Indian rupee international recognition as the country's economy exerts more influence in the global space, the unique sign will also help isolate the currency from the current abbreviation 'Rs' which is used by neighbouring Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Kumar's concept, an official said, is based on the Tricolour and "arithmetic equivalence". While the white space between the two horizontal lines gives the impression of the national flag with the Ashok Chakra, the two bold parallel lines stand for 'equals to', representing balance in the economy, both within and with other economies of the world.

When contacted, Kumar said he was unaware of his design having been ranked first by the jury. "I hope your news is real," he told The Indian Express from IIT Bombay. He joins IIT Guwahati as a faculty member in the Department of Design tomorrow.

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