India's rupee has joined the ranks of the dollar, the pound, the euro and the yen: It now can be designated with a symbol.
After a nationwide contest, India's government announced Thursday the winning symbol for its currency, a combination of the Roman letter R and its Hindi equivalent. The symbol includes just the right half of the letter R with an equals sign over it.
The government hopes the symbol will signal that India has arrived on the global economic stage and emphasize the "robustness of the Indian economy as a favored destination for global investments," Information Minister Ambika Soni said at a brief ceremony to unveil the final choice, one of 3,000 submitted.
Soni told reporters that the symbol would distinguish the Indian rupee from the currencies of other countries that also use the rupee, such as Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and the Indonesian rupiah.
Analysts say New Delhi hopes the symbol will draw attention to a currency backed by a more than trillion dollar economy.
The symbol will be adopted across the country over the next six months, and within two years globally, Soni said.
"I was looking to blend a bit of India's cultural tradition, while making sure that it would fit on a computer keyboard," said the designer, Udaya Kumar, the designer of the winning entry and a Ph.D student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.