Apr 11, 2009

A Rupee for your Thoughts

She has businesses and billionaires and big ambitions. Now India wants something that no global economic powerhouse should be without: an international symbol for her currency. The hope is that the rupee sign will become as ubiquitous as the US dollar ($), or that instant emblem of the digital age, the @ symbol.

The Rupee is generally shortened to 'Re.' (singular) or 'Rs.' (plural), or sometimes denoted as INR. But these are not symbols; they are mere abbreviations for Rupee. To get an internationally recognised and accepted symbol, the Finance Ministry has initiated the search through an open competition.

According to the Finance Ministry, the symbol should 'represent the historical and cultural ethos of India'. The entries may be in any of the Indian languages, and even in English which is also an accepted language of use by the government. Each of maximum two entries per participant would be accompanied by a fee of Rs. 500. The symbol should also be applicable to the standard computer keyboard.

While we search for a currency symbol that mirrors the essence of India, we must equally be conscious of our business audience. From a strictly business perspective, the design must also reflect our monetary policy and the stability of our currency. The move shows we have begun to realise the importance of branding. The Rupee symbol could be a powerful part of India's brand iconography - a signal of stability and the fact that we are a lead player on the world stage.

Considering the multitude of diversity in thoughts and ideologies that typify India, the choice for the final design will have to be made very carefully. Aesthetic appeal is of paramount importance; we would not want a symbol that looks different or even offensive to anybody when viewed from a particular angle. In keeping with our ethos of inclusiveness and secularism, the symbol should be neutral and representative of India as a whole. It would be prudent to base the design(s) around the letter 'R' - in the officially-declared national language and script, and not English or any one particular regional language and script. It should fit well into the existing suite of international currency symbols. It is also critical to understand how the symbol would be used in all its technical applications - on a computer screen, on the web, on paper, on mobile phones.

The contest, which closes at 1 pm IST on 15 April 2009, is open only to resident Indians. The winning entry will be chosen by a seven-member jury of experts drawn from various art institutes, the government and the RBI. The top five entries shortlisted for final selection will be awarded Rs. 25,000, while the winner will take Rs. 2,50,000. The final selected symbol will become the property of the government and the original designer will claim no rights over it any more.

For more details and guidelines on how to participate in this exciting event. you may visit this page on the Finance Ministry's website.

My choice, you say? It is this:

Source: BBC News and the Ministry of Finance, Government of India


  1. Cool!Dont belive this! I have the same draft on the same topic lying with me:))
    liked your choice too:)
    hope they do come up with a good one :))

  2. I have now seen Finance Ministry web site and also read your blog carefully.I ,without argument will also vouch for the one suggested by you.

  3. Indyeah:
    Quick, aren't you? First as usual.
    Hey, put up your post too. I'd love to see what your choice is, and even a new design by you. :)

  4. Mr. Chowla:
    You may wish to create your own design too. And you can visit the Times of India website to vote for your favourite design too!

  5. Is that your design or you are justing voting for it?
    Very thoughtful indeed - capturing letter 'R' in roman and devanagari scripts.

  6. some more designs at http://indianpixels.com/

    I really liked design-6 in there, it is somewhat similar to your design.

  7. cool design Surbhi...! I liked it very much. All the best. Hope you win it :-)

  8. Hey that's an awesome design! Did you file it? But somehow, westerners might find it difficult to write a unsteady symbol ie. without a strong base.

  9. Aniket:
    I am simply voting for it. Its from the Times of India website.
    Guess what, I voted for Design 6 too at that site you mentioned. And it seems most people did, since it has the maximum votes!

  10. Nitwit:
    Errr... That ain't my creation, mate! Its from the Times of India website, where they have put some 19 designs up for voting, and would present the top 5 I think to the MoF. That's my choice from there. I guess I didn't mention that in my post, was only in my own head!
    Thanks all the same for the wishes, though. Who knows where they'd work? Sweet of you. :)

  11. Rakesh:
    Nah, not my design. Its from the TOI website, where they have a poll running to choose the best designs out of the several their creative team has come out with.
    I understand its difficult for it to be on a keyboard. Well, they'll have to invent a new key then. :)

  12. A very good post, although I am bit late odrwise I would have given some designs :D

  13. I like this. Looks like a R as well as the hindi alphabet R. I still haven't seen the other symbols though.

  14. Tarun:
    Thanks! Not a problem, the poll on the TOI website is still open!

  15. Masood:
    Yeah me too! This was the only symbol I liked. Please do visit the TOI website; the other symbols are there. There's a poll on for the best symbol (where I picked up my choice), and you could participate. Once the poll is closed, TOI shall submit the top 3 or 5 designs to the Ministry of Finance, GoI.

  16. Masood:
    Errr... "Yeah me too" is in response to "I like this" and not "I still haven't seen the other symbols though". LOL...

  17. hehe...yeah surbhi. I'd figured that ;)

    You know, this R with a strike on the slanted leg also looks like the 'RX' that doctors use while prescribing meds. That symbol is used globally. Hadn't figured it earlier. My wife pointed it out.

    She's a doc.

  18. And I did see all the symbols and voted as well :)

  19. check out this url:


    to get a good insight regarding "design" and to understand that design is not a fine art but a functional solution to a specific problem identified

  20. Govt.of India , economic affair department ran a competetion to design a symbol for rupee like dollar have $ at its website

    here is my entery to the contest..
    My simplest yet worthy “peace of art” for Indian Rupee Symbol link..



Your comments will not be moderated, so feel free to speak your mind. However, with freedom comes responsibility, so abusive and/or violent language is strictly prohibited.