In March 2009, the Union Government announced an open competition to select a symbol for the Indian Rupee that would set it apart from other rupees (and other similar currencies like Rupaiyah, Rufiya etc) with the aim of reflecting India’s rising prominence on the global stage. Five designs were short-listed and ultimately on 15 July 2010, at the Union Council of Ministers meeting, the design submitted by Uday Kumar (an assistant professor at IIT Guwahati) was declared the winner.The hype behind India’s announcement of a new rupee symbol is starting to fade, but the designer behind it has been receiving praise from around the world. The government hopes the distinctive new symbol will help separate its fast-growing economy from others that also refer to their currencies as “rupees.” The symbol shares some traits with other global currencies, with straight lines cutting through the letter R, but it also has its own unique look. Thirty one-year-old, Udaya Kumar, a post-graduate student from the country’s premier Indian Institute of Technology, who recently took up an assistant professorship at IIT Guwahati – gives The Wall Street Journal a behind-the-scenes look at his work.

Here is what it signifies:

The Rupee symbol is an amalgamation of the Latin alphabet “R” and devnagiri “र”. Two parallel horizontal lines run across the top of the symbol consistent with other international currency symbols and according to the designer, indicates the tricolour as well as the equality sign (i.e alluding to India’s constant effort to uplift all her people). The unveiling of the symbol has been mostly welcomed for it’s relative simplicity and easy identifiable among foreigners & Indians alike.

“Certainly it’s a proud moment for me, I am really happy. It is a great great honor to be a part of Indian history.”, said Udaya Kumar


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